Published by Allen & Unwin on 23rd November 2016
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Fantasy, Fiction, Friendship, Young Adult
At the Manhattan School of Art and Music, where everyone is unique and everyone is 'different', Gretchen Yee feels ordinary. It doesn't help that she's known as the girl who sits alone at lunch, drawing pictures of her favourite superhero, just so she won't have to talk to anyone. Her best (and only real) friend is there for her, but that's only if she's not busy - she's always busy!
It's no surprise that Gretchen isn't exactly successful in the boy department. Her ex-boyfriend is a cold-fish-sometimes-flirty ex who she can't stop bumping into. Plus, she has a massive crush on a boy named, Titus but is too scared to make the first move. One minute he seems like a sensitive guy, the next, he's a completely different person when he's with his friends. She can't seem to figure boys out!
Gretchen has one wish: to be a fly on the wall in the boy's locker room. What are boys really like? What do they talk about?
This is the story of how one girl's wish came true
Gretchen Yee attends a prestigious art school where the best way to fit in is to try and stand out. With unmissable bright red hair, Gretchen tries to fit in but doesn’t feel like she does. When her best friend starts acting standoffish and her parents deciding to get a divorce, Gretchen’s life is getting messy. There’s also Gretchen’s crush on fellow artist, Titus, making things complicated. If only Gretchen could be a fly on the wall and find out what he was thinking…
Fly on the Wall is a fun read about curiosity, boys and surviving teenage years. At only 182 pages, it’s a quick read but manages to deliver a full story with quirky characters, interesting ideas and a true sense of what it is like to be Gretchen as she comes out of her shell.
This book shows us Gretchen’s life as a somewhat typical arty teenage girl. When her wish comes true and she becomes a fly on the wall, we get to watch as Gretchen sees things from a different perspective. I liked Gretchen’s curiosity during her fly stage. She sees things she’s not experienced before and it’s dealt with in an inquisitiveness that felt right. Having her eyes opened to conversations she would never have been privy to as a teenage girl, Gretchen gains a greater understanding for others in her life.
There is a bit of a fantasy twist in this book with Gretchen literally becoming a fly on the wall but the magical element isn’t what this book is about – it’s merely a facilitator for Gretchen to examine her life. She gets to see what behind the locker room door and find out how boys behave when they’re alone. The way teenagers are described felt honest and this feels like a book teens would be able to relate to. It’s not always politically correct or socially acceptable (the way certain characters talk to each other and some of the language being flung around would possibly offend some readers) but that did contribute to the plot and added to the realistic vibe of the characters.
Despite it being such a short book, there’s quite a lot of character growth. Gretchen learns a lot about life and relationships during her fly time and I enjoyed this quirky concept. Fly on the Wall isn’t like other books I’ve read before but I had great fun reading about Gretchen and her life.
Many thanks to Allen and Unwin for the review copy.