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Gordon Reece studied English Literature at Keble College, Oxford and taught at KCS, Wimbledon, and Brentwood School in Essex. After completing his MA in literature he retrained as a lawyer. He has lived in Spain and Australia and currently resides in the UK. His books include picture books for trade and educational publishers, comics and graphic novels. Mice is his first novel.
This debut novel is a lukewarm psychological thriller that tells the story of Shelley, a teenager whose three best friends suddenly turn on her, turning her life into a living nightmare. The girls have been friends since grammar school, but by their senior year in high school, Shelley's friends have changed; they are no longer interested in school, instead turning to boys, drugs, and rebellion. Rather than going their own way when Shelley loses interest, their verbal harassment soon turns into frightening physical abuse. The title refers to Shelley and her divorced mother, once a formidable lawyer but now a subservient secretary. Shelley laments that they never show their true feelings and that they let people, her absentee father included, bully them. When Shelley and her mother finally crack, the story turns predictable. VERDICT The novel moves along at a fast pace, but the characters are not fully realized. The bullies and the father come off as stereotypes, and victimized Shelley and her mom fail to evoke the reader's empathy. Still, despite the novel's weaknesses, it is satisfying to watch Shelley's personality shift and the "mice" come into their own. Recommended for collections where Sophie Hannah is popular.-Marianne Fitzgerald, Annapolis, MD (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.