by E. Lockhart
Genre: YA - Contemporary
Publication: 03.14.2006 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
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.
I don't know where to start with this book, so let me just tell you the truth. Fly on the Wall was a little funny and kind of entertaining, but it felt pointless by the time I was done. Even though I have heard wonderful things about E. Lockhart, this was an earlier book of hers (I believe,) and I wasn't too impressed.
Gretchen Yee is an okay character. She loves comic books, draws comic book characters for her art classes (which her teachers do not approve of,) and is a hoarder living with her parents who are getting a divorce. Nothing too special or interesting about her, but she is not unlikable, I guess. She spends her days alone now that her friend hangs out with another group of kids, daydreaming about the boy she likes, and just being...plain.
The story doesn't really change much until the fantasy twist when Gretchen ends up a fly in the boys locker room. Wish granted! Now she can watch boys and their gherkins all day long! (And all I could think was, really, you call them gherkins? Okay...?) And she does and for several chapters all we learn about are the sizes and shapes of their "gherkins" of pretty much all the boys at school. At one point she begins grading boys butts. Seriously?
She does get to observe identity issues, watches boys get bullied and really, learns that boys and girls are more similar than she expected. That's the message in the book and once the ending comes around, the story is wrapped up nicely and The End.
Overall: I was disappointed. Not because I thought it was truly bad, but because I expected something better from this author. I will definitely be giving her another shot (Ruby Oliver series, anyone?) but I don't highly recommend this one. It is a quick, and kind of entertaining read, but nothing special and with a lot of graphic content that I don't think is suitable for younger teens.