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The Hive

2.81  ·  Rating details ·  1,959 ratings  ·  358 reviews
There's only room for one Queen Bee: A hilarious and touching novel about the social world of school mothers.

It's the start of another school year at St. Ambrose. While the children are busy in the classroom, their mothers are learning sharper lessons. Lessons in friendship. Lessons in betrayal. Lessons in the laws of community, the transience of power...and how to get inv
...more
Hardcover, 343 pages
Published September 10th 2013 by Little, Brown and Company (first published May 23rd 2013)
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2.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,959 ratings  ·  358 reviews


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Hilary
Jul 12, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, I just hated this so much. It was painfully slow and the dialogue was excruciating. There were so many characters and none of them convincing. Also the plot, such as it was, wandered all over the place. I thought the concept had possibilities, but the plot was so disjointed and lacking in pace that the eventual dethroning of the Queen Bee was a complete anti-climax. Technically I thought there were issues too - for example a few instances where characters just started talking although they ...more
Kira
Jun 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
On its face, The Hive sounds like a blatant play for the attentions of moderately vapid female readers, the type of women who sent Fifty Shades of Grey to the top of the NYT bestseller list. (I say this judgily, but I actually read all three FSOG books). And to some degree, The Hive very much is that book. It's about petty arguments and frivolous conflicts and a cadre of women whose lives revolve entirely around their children and one another (and one-another's children). Some of the conversatio ...more
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
This is a semi-satirical novel about mums at a small primary school and about the way they revolve around the "queen bee" who runs the fundraising committee. We focus on a core group of 5 or 6 mums who all have their own place in the social standing: inside the clique, desperate to join the clique or immune to the clique. The story follows a school year as they go through their own individual dramas and the pecking order at school gets shuffled.

If anyone should have liked this book, it would be
...more
Resa
Aug 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Review of "The Hive" by Gill Hornby
Expected Publication: September 10, 2013 by Little, Brown and Co

On the surface this novel looks like another portrait of the lifestyles of the rich and bored, but what Hornby has actually written is a clever satire about mothers, daughters, and the cliques they share (even when they're old enough to know better). Pleasantly surprising in its intelligence, this novel manages to take Mean Girls into the mother's world in a way that's both realistic and funny. Wit
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Claire
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mean Girls if you aged the cast 20 years, gave them kids and set the action in the English home counties. 4 stars.

This review was originally posted on my book blog.

The Hive is funny, well-observed and strikes a good balance between its comic and more serious moments. The story is told in close third person through several characters’ POVs. These are well differentiated and so the viewpoint switching is never confusing. It also gives the author the chance to present several different experiences
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Amy
Feb 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: proofs
Una apis, nulla apis. One bee is no bee.

This is a very clever look at playground politics among those yummy mummies at the school gate. The girls who ruled their schools are now mothers, and they are relishing being back in a catty, cliquey world where everything is a competition and your hair can never be too blonde.

To be honest, I found a lot of this book completely terrifying - high school was bad enough, please don't tell me I'll have to go through it all over again if I have kids! - but at
...more
Gail
Aug 30, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was dull and the characters were 2-dimensional and unappealing. I only read it for a book group, otherwise I would never even have bought it. It's pretty obvious from the first few pages that it's a dud. I did wonder if something was suddenly going happen after a while, but alas no. Attempts at humour mis-fire. The potentially clever device of using the minutes of the meetings of the school committee were laboured and in the end only added to the disappointment of the reading experienc ...more
Julie Kendrick
This was not a good book. Far too many undeveloped characters. I lost track of who was who. Silly women with silly names acting like idiots.
The comparison between a school full of mothers and a hive of bees was terribly unsubtle even to the point of giving the main controlling character the name Bea. It was also hammered home every now and again by way of someone keeping bees and imparting information on how they thrive.
Although it was an easy read there were times when sentence structure was
...more
Julie Brown
Dec 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2014
Such a disappointing book. The premise had potential but the execution was so poor that it was painful. Some parts were lacked so much detail that it was hard to feel connected to the story. Other parts were so detailed and unrelated to the core of the story that the reader wonders what the heck is going on. And then by the end of the book the author is obviously so bored of her own book that she skips the best part and our last 3 page chapter reveals everything she needed to convey but couldn't ...more
Lynn
Aug 03, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really dislike this book. It is riddled with deeply unsympathetic and truly nasty characters one of whom is so hideous she defies belief and certainly had me hoping that I would never meet anyone like her at the school gates. Anyway, I raced through this book - not because I enjoyed it - but because it was dire and I couldn't wait to put it down and never pick it up again. I look forward to the conversation my book group will be having about it - it's bound to cause an argument!
Sasha Bruce
Aug 01, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
That is several hours of my life I will never get back! I liked the concept of this book women behaving like bee's. However, the characters were over exaggerated and just not in anyway believable. Mildly amusing at points but generally utter guff!
Margaret
Oct 12, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Actually I didn't finish it, I abandoned it. Perhaps I've left the school gate behind too long ago, but these mums didn't resemble any I knew. I found the book silly and pointless.
Sally906
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: woman-s-fiction
Not really my cup of tea - but I did laugh myself silly at the quiz towards the end
Kailey
Jan 30, 2019 rated it did not like it
Nothing happens. The couple of instances where something interesting develops it is resolved in less than 10 pages.
Books
Apr 24, 2018 rated it liked it
It took me about half the book to get into the story. I quite enjoyed the second half and started getting used to the many different characters. Still not a book I would recommend, sad to say, even though I very much liked the ending.
Sunshine_btr
Aug 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Synopsis:
Welcome to St Ambrose Primary School.
A world of friendships, fights and feuding. And that's just the mothers. It's the start of another school year at St Ambrose.
But while the children are in the classroom colouring in, their mothers are learning sharper lessons on the other side of the school gates.
Lessons in friendship. Lessons in betrayal. Lessons in the laws of community, the transience of power...and how to get invited to lunch.
Beatrice - undisputed queen bee. Ruler, by Divine Righ
...more
Lisa Walker
Oct 02, 2013 rated it liked it
The Hive is the debut novel by Gill Hornby who, incidentally, is the sister of best selling British novelist Nick Hornby. It comes much-hyped as the subject of a fierce bidding war between publishers. The novel's name is a reference to a bee hive and the story is driven by the doings of the mothers of St Ambrose Primary School who are ruled by their aptly named queen, Bea.

The action is divided up into school terms and centers around the fundraising activities for a new school library. Bitchiness
...more
Susan
Nov 02, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel takes a group of parents at St Ambrose Church Primary School and looks at the way their lives interact and change over a school year. There is Rachel, whose husband has just left her, queen bee, Beatrice Stuart, who organises virtually every event and holds court in the playground, desperate wannabee Heather, who longs to be accepted by Bea’s clique, smart and funny Georgie and new parents Bubba and Melissa. The school also has a new headmaster, handsome Mr Orchard, who becomes the fo ...more
Susan
May 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014books
There's only room for one Queen Bee: A hilarious and touching novel about the social world of school mothers.

It's the start of another school year at St. Ambrose. While the children are busy in the classroom, their mothers are learning sharper lessons. Lessons in friendship. Lessons in betrayal. Lessons in the laws of community, the transience of power...and how to get invited to lunch.

Beatrice -- undisputed queen bee. Ruler, by Divine Right, of all school fundraising, this year, last year, and,
...more
Melissa
Aug 29, 2013 rated it liked it
The premise was good and I was quite hopeful at the beginning, but I was slightly disappointed with the characters. They all did the right thing or the predictable thing and I felt like it ended too perfectly. Even Georgie who was independent and interesting turned out to be a bit of a groupie like the others. And, I still can't figure out how Rachel and Bea were ever friends in the first place - although maybe that is the way real life is sometimes. I also thought it was unnecessary to have act ...more
Gayle
Aug 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came across this novel through a review in The Week magazine and while the review wasn't glowing per se, I decided to give it a go partly because of the subject matter and the author's pedigree (wife of Robert Harris and brother of Nick Hornby). Given that my son is about to start school in September, I thought it would be interesting to read about the politics of the playground/school gates. I did find it extremely compelling and couldn't put it down although the characters were hardly sympat ...more
For Books' Sake
Jul 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Hive is the highly readable début from former Telegraph columnist Gill Hornby. It centres around the lives of the parents who wait to collect their children at the gates of St Ambrose School, and the intricate social gameplaying that has taken root at the heart of this close-knit society-in-miniature." (Excerpt from full review at For Books' Sake.)
Debumere
Aug 10, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I think it was too soon to read this after 'Where'd you go, Bernadette?' Dialogue bored me. Storyline bored me. I'm sure it's a good read for some but I need books that captivate me and are full of detail etc.

Can see it being made into a British film.

I won't be watching it.
Renita D'Silva
Feb 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Loved this witty, keenly observed, multi-faceted story. Loved Melissa, was irritated with Bea and her posse. Great story.
Lois Brow
Jul 01, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Absolute shit - but David has been forgiven (mostly).
Emma
Mar 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Really enjoyed this book. As a Year 1 mum that HATES playground politics it was recommended to me by a similar-minded mum! Easy to read and enjoyable.
Maggie
Jun 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
Rather predictable, characters are two dimensional caricatures of 'school mums'' we all know, . Overall a bit of a disappointment i'm afraid
Orla Mcbride
Feb 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
Not funny , not clever , not good , just very patronising
Ruth
Jul 12, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Complete and utter tosh
Nikki
May 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun, easy, if fairly predictable read, but I didn't really warm to any of the female characters.
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