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Pub Date 03 May 2022 | Archive Date 31 May 2022
Greenleaf Book Group, River Grove Books

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“There aren’t many coders like that, not that I’ve ever met. You just might find that the mouse is really a lion, and even worse, that the lion has your head in her mouth.”

TWELVE-YEAR-OLD MOUSE GAMMA has spent her entire life struggling to communicate. She’s never understood how to stop the bullies and negligent foster parents without causing more trouble than it’s worth. That is until she discovers the magic of code—a language that’s more powerful than anything she’s ever imagined.

To everyone’s surprise, Mouse is anonymously chosen to attend the prestigious Rickum Academy—an incubator for the brightest and most promising young minds in tech. Her excitement is short-lived as the mystery of how she ended up at Rickum very quickly unravels around her, threatening the safety of her new life and the innocent lives of those around her. With the help of her new friends, Ada and Boone, Mouse is in a race against her classmates, her teachers, and the most powerful man in tech to not only uncover the truth about who she is, but who she is not.

“There aren’t many coders like that, not that I’ve ever met. You just might find that the mouse is really a lion, and even worse, that the lion has your head in her mouth.”


Advance Praise

“A creative, fast-paced tale that blends the magic and friendship of Harry Potter with the high-tech brilliance of Big Hero 6. A must for coders, hackers, and noobs alike.”

—Henry Neff, bestselling author of The Tapestry series and Impyrium

“Stedman’s debut novel is an intricately plotted technological thriller with a big heart. Readers will keep turning pages and rooting for Mouse—an underdog coding prodigy out to prove her worth at an elite boarding school where she unexpectedly finds a family whole searching for her missing parents. A fun, engaging, and smart read!"

—H.A. Swain, author of Hungry and Gifted

“Mouse is a Nancy Drew mystery for the WIRED-era that reminds us that coding isn’t just a STEM essential, but a path to creativity, self-discovery, and belonging.”

—R. Michael Hendrix, co-author of Two Beats Ahead and partner at IDEO

“It takes a special writer to understand that computers are the most human things our species has ever built, and that the lines between making and magic and machines are the most porous of boundaries. A riveting, thrilling, and wildly imaginative novel.”

—Jeff Howe, author of Crowdsourcing and contributing editor of WIRED magazine.

“Mouse Gamma is a marvel. This story will inspire young outsiders and sweep even reluctant kids up in the magic of coding.”

—Sara James Mnookin, author of Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf Goodman

“A creative, fast-paced tale that blends the magic and friendship of Harry Potter with the high-tech brilliance of Big Hero 6. A must for coders, hackers, and noobs alike.”

—Henry Neff, bestselling...

Available Editions

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ISBN 9781632994523
PRICE $14.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 9 members

Featured Reviews

Stedman writes with wit and depth. Mouse is the child's name, (Hers is not the weirdest name in the book.) She's an orphan; an orphan of an orphan and an orphan. She's abandoned, misunderstood, and out of her depth. So she's also a rebel; a rebel of a rebel and a rebel.

Mouse is about a brilliant but troubled little girl, and what happens when she is selected for an uber-rich boarding school by an outdated, outrageous program that should have been defunct, but somehow isn't.

If my review is not making sense, it will when you read the book. The book, at times, doesn't make sense; or, at least, not linear sense. It's a book about coding, and coders, and code-craft; a book about cutting edge technologies: past, present, and future.

If you don't know a lot about computers or about writing code or about technology in general, don't worry. This book is comprehensive and inclusive without making the reader feel inept. I admit that I may have scratched my head a few times while reading it, but it never once made me feel stupid.

Buy this book for yourself, for your kids, for your library. This book deserves to be a huge success. Mr Stedman is a genius.

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Mouse is an orphan who had been stuck in foster care for her whole life, moving from family to family, bur never truly finding a home anywhere. That is, until she is taken to a fancy boarding school with thr best technology she's ever seen. You see, Mouse is a hacker. And we're not talking a low level, change your grades or attendance in the computer like Ferris Bueller. Mouse is highly skilled in all computer languages and can switch it up while in the middle of coding. C++, Fortran, you name it, she can code in it. And she can write code that infiltrates even the best security programs. Ut why was she sent to this fancy school when her classmates all had to test in? And who found out about her coding abilities? A fun mystery.


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12 year old orphan, Mouse, is a self-taught computer and coding genius who mysteriously ends up in America’s most privileged technology academy. During her time there, she traverses the school halls unravelling mystery by mystery, ultimately looking for answers about her biological parents.

‘Mouse’ takes a spectacular look at the technological society that we live in, teaching readers about the issues of having such complex technology and the problems of what can happen online. Readers are able to learn more about internet security and how hacks, codes and other cyber tools can be used to not only improve lives but also cause havoc.

Thank you for this fun read and providing a wonderful insight into the technological advances of the 21st century.

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Mouse's name seems very descriptive of who she is: an orphan, shy, lonely, uncertain of her place in the world, not good with social interactions, unwanted by her various foster families, always being passed on to someone else. But Mouse is also smart, determined and on a mission. She wants to know who she is, where she comes from and above all, who her parents are. When she discovers coding a whole new world opens up. A world she understands and fits into. As Mouse uses her newfound skills to start hunting for information, her life takes a surprising new turn. She finds herself in a fancy, technology-centered new school and makes her first real friends. It seems too good to be true and to some extent it is. There is something mysterious going on and somehow it all seems to revolve around Mouse. Can she find the answers before it's too late?

I loved this book. It is a beautiful story of learning to accept and find yourself, of never giving up and of growing up. Mouse's character development is really well done and I got all emotional while I watched her grow! I also really enjoyed the coding and tech details even though it isn't something I know a lot about. It was also refreshing to read a YA book that did not have romance as an essential part of the story. Mouse's friendships are real and sweet and innocent and still not without drama or emotion. (Romance is cute and all but I often get tired of the same love triangle etc. in YA books.) I admire Scott Stedman's attention to detail and worldbuilding. This book is a must for both young and older readers!

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Firstly, I really like the intro to this novel. For folks who may not find computer coding all that interesting, the author immediately challenges that notion and paints a picture of why programming is an art as well as a science. I also really liked that at the start of the story, Mouse was also a kid uninterested in computers — making her relatable in some ways to students who might pick up the book. The overall tenants of the True Magicians were a lovely addition to this book and a great start to each chapter.

This novel is exactly the type of YA fiction I love to dig into. There were twists and turns and surprises that were in front of me the whole book I didn’t realize until the very last minute. Even the cover has new light after finishing the book which is the type of easter egg I love in a novel. This novel was intentionally crafted and layered in a way that made me so excited to keep reading. This is a book I would’ve loved to read as a middle school child myself, it teaches how while right and wrong or good and bad may not always be clear cut, black and white things — it’s always important to navigate life with a sense of justice and loyalty to friends. Even with all the maturity Mouse has as a character, she has people in her life reminding her to give herself grace as a child which I think is a message many high achieving children could do with internalizing. I very much hope to read more of Mouse’s adventures in the future. However, I love that the book ended not on a cliffhanger, but with a genuine ending that would satisfy a reader if this ended up being a stand-alone book. At the same time, there are absolutely still strands intentionally left unraveled and this would make a wonderful series. A last aside, whether intentional or not, the fact that the main character’s name was mouse made me smile the whole book because it reminded me not so much of her shy or reserved nature (because she was quite fierce) but of a computer mouse which people often choose not to use for ease of use nowadays but is still (in my opinion) essential for complex digital tasks.

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Excellent book for middle grade students. Mixing technology, an orphan who is a prodigy, a special school (which rivals Hogwarts), a school wide contest, good and evil, and much more keeps the reader entertained.

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Absolutely superb read. Shades of Harry Potter, Ready Player One and also Skandar and the Unicorn Thief.
Mouse manages to find her own group, and a sense of belonging. I loved her character and her friends as well. Am surprised that this book has not had any pre-publicity. I would love to get a signed copy, and would read all of the books that follow this debut. Highly recommended, five stars all the way!

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If I were to describe this upper middle grade novel in just a few words? Hogwarts for tech geniuses.

When orphaned 12-year-old Mouse Gamma hacks into the digital records of a big tech company while searching for the identity of her birth parents, she doesn’t end up in juvie as she expected. Instead, she is invited to Rickum Academy, an elite technology school that has produced some of the world’s greatest coders and hackers. But after she arrives, students and teachers are mysteriously attacked. Who is behind the attacks? Why is Mouse really at Rickum? And can she defy all odds to win Botori, the school’s most prestigious competition?

I found the story enjoyable, and I felt the protagonist was thoughtfully crafted. I appreciated her creative thinking, perseverance, and journey of self-acceptance. I also adored the novel’s emphasis on coding as its own kind of “magic.” Though the pacing was just a little uneven at times, I thought Stedman nailed the ending, tying together all his loose ends in a very satisfying way.

I think Mouse’s ideal audience is 10- to 12-year-olds who are interested in coding and STEM. But I think it also holds plenty of appeal for kids who aren’t already interested; the tech aspects are pretty accessible and the mysteries at the heart of the story are ultimately what drive it forward.

Many thanks to NetGalley and River Grove Books for the DRC!

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