Book Title/Author: Fly on the Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything by E. Lockhart
Publisher/Year: March 14th 2006 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genre: Teen, Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Magical Realism
“At the Manhattan School for Art and Music, where everyone is “different” and everyone is “special,” Gretchen Yee feels ordinary. She’s the kind of girl who sits alone at lunch, drawing pictures of Spider-Man, so she won’t have to talk to anyone; who has a crush on Titus but won’t do anything about it; who has no one to hang out with when her best (and only real) friend Katya is busy.
One day, Gretchen wishes that she could be a fly on the wall in the boys’ locker room–just to learn more about guys. What are they really like? What do they really talk about? Are they really cretins most of the time?
Fly on the Wall is the story of how that wish comes true.“ (Goodreads)
This is a short and fast read about a 16-year-old girl, Gretchen, who is going through those awkward stages of high school & boys — don’t pretend you don’t remember those awkward times. Gretchen is a shy, enjoys reading & drawing superhero comics, and is confused about boys and her … I’m just going to say it: ‘hormonal urges’ towards boys. While Gretchen is agitated with her inability to understand boys — especially her crush she jokingly wishes she could be a fly on the wall of their locker room and she wakes up the next day and that is exactly what has happened. This story chronicles that wish coming true in a funny, smart, and honest way — all in the teen girl’s perspective.
In the Fly on the Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything, Gretchen learns that boys too struggle with body image, bullying, and self-esteem. I thought that this would be a great book for someone 14+ to read because it is easy to read and covers lots of key events that take place during these young teenage years: fighting with parents, bullying, divorce, insecurities about body image, the struggle of feeling left out with a close friend starts dating — lots packed into 182 pages. I will add a disclaimer here for those that need it: with a book told from the perspective of a teenage girl, the topic of naked boys and their “gherkins” does come up.
You may not like this book if you’re seeking an explanation as to why and how Gretchen is transformed into a fly. No explanations are offered with how this transformation took place, readers will just need to carry one reading with the suspension of disbelief. Knowing how turning into a fly happened is not detrimental to the story, the focus is more on Grethen’s transformation of the way she sees herself and being confident in her own skin.
“The white realtor lady asks if I’m adopted—like that’s some legitimate, socially appropriate question to ask—and is halfway through a gushy story about her friend’s new baby from Korea when I say, “Haven’t you ever heard of interracial marriage? It’s all the rage in civilized countries,” and she shuts up and purses her lips.”
“People think of hearts when they think of love, but a heart is a bloody organ in the body. It doesn’t have any emotions. It’s like a metaphor for love that has nothing to do with what love actually is.”