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Fly on the Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything Paperback – November 13, 2007

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; Reprint edition (November 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385732821
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385732826
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up–Things aren't going too well for E. Lockart's 16-year-old protagonist, Gretchen Yee. Not only have her parents just announced they're divorcing and her best friend, Katya, seems to be avoiding her, but she's also doing poorly in English and hasn't read the assigned Metamorphosis by Kafka. Maybe it would be better to be a Fly on the Wall (Delacorte, 2006). When she wakes up to find herself a fly in the boy's locker room, her response is a mix of comic book super hero fantasy and panic about her future. When the boys start arriving for gym class, her thoughts turn to inspecting male anatomy. In time, she discovers an unexpected admirer and learns about some guy problems, including one that affects Titus, her love interest. With her parents away, no one questions her disappearance and whatever mysterious force has turned her into an insect returns her to her own bed in a few days. By then Gretchen has learned lessons about patience and she has a new understanding about her relationships with friends and family. Catlin Greer narrates with convincing teen wistfulness and anger that reflects the teen artist's inner turmoil. While this novel isn't exactly parallel with Kafka's classic, it does explore the same feelings of uncertainty and isolation. Gretchen's descriptions of boys below the belt and her occasional four-letter expletives make this atypical fantasy best suited for mature high school audiences.–Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Praise for fly on the wall:
“I think this might be the best YA novel…I’ve ever read. It’s hilarious, and it’s so very smart. I mean, I’m serious…It’s really amazing.”—John Green, author of the New York Times bestseller The Fault in Our Stars
“A super-smart, super-sweet, and super-fantastic read.”—Sarah Mlynowski, author of Don’t Even Think About It
“With an appropriate nod and wink to Kafka, this unexpectedly sharp comedy charts its own metamorphosis.”—The Horn Book Magazine
“Fast-paced, hysterically funny, and a pleasure to read.”—
“Fine fun for fans of both Kafka and Spider-Man.”—Kirkus Reviews

IRA Young Adult Book Choice

From the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

I write novels.
My books: We Were Liars, Fly on the Wall, The Boyfriend List, The Boy Book, Dramarama, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, How to Be Bad,The Treasure Map of Boys and Real Live Boyfriends.

Visit me at
Or come read the blog at
Twitter: elockhart
Pinterest: elockhartbooks

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#19 in Books > Teens
#19 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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See all 21 customer reviews
She writes in a way that is fun, easy to read and humorous.
Needless to say, the things Gretchen sees and hears inside the boy's locker room at Ma-Ha are (ha!ha!)
The protagonist, Gretchen Yee tells the story in a comical and often endearingly cynical voice.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By YA book lover on June 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
I am a huge fan of E. Lockharts, but I have to admit, at first I couldn't quite get into this book. Maybe because of its artsy-ish tone - the heroine Gretchen Yee is a student at the Manhattan Art School, so everything about her (and for that matter everybody in the school) is art orientated and I can't quite identify with imaginative and artistic types. Maybe because of a bizarre twist in the middle, when the story becomes somewhat fantasy-like - Gretchen finds that her wish of becoming a fly on the wall a boys locker room, quite literally comes true.

However the story really takes off (at least in my opinion) when we start learning about the world of male relationships, insecurities, secrets - the world which is a mystery to me up to this day. From then on the book is very hard to put down.

The major themes of all Lockhart's creations - facing difficulties instead of hiding from them, taking charge of ones life, and women empowerment - are very present in this book and delivered very well.

Another great book by E. Lockhart. Not the best written by her, but still worth your attention.

P.S. For those parents who monitor their kids' reading, this book has some mature content - male "attributes" are discussed quite openly, but without being inappropriate in my opinion.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on January 17, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Sixteen-year old Gretchen Yee is a pretty typical teenager. Sort of. She attends the Manhattan High School for the Arts, otherwise known as Ma-Ha. There, she gets to take not only the normal, everyday classes of Literature and PE, but also Drawing and Sculpture. Gretchen is a great artist, and she's especially partial to the comic-book style of drawing. Not to mention that her personal hero is Spiderman. She has a best friend name Katya, who now seems to spend all her time either hanging out with the poseurs behind the school, smoking cigarettes, or babysitting her three younger sisters.

When it comes to the opposite sex, though, Gretchen has no idea what she's doing. Actually, she doesn't even know what they're doing half the time. Her parents are in the throes of a divorce, she has no close male friends, and her kind-of ex-boyfriend, Shane, now spends most of his time acting like an idiot. How can she ever know what goes on inside a guy's head when they act like such total morons most of the time?

After casually mentioning one day after school that she wished she could be a fly on the wall in the boy's locker room, something really, really strange happens. Gretchen wakes up the next morning as, you guessed it, a fly on the wall of the boy's locker room. Never mind the fact that she can't wrap her mind (her own mind, thank goodness, not a fly mind) around what's happened, now she spends several hours every day seeing high-school guys get naked! In front of her! Without clothes! And she can't close her eyes because her fly-body has no eyelids!

Needless to say, the things Gretchen sees and hears inside the boy's locker room at Ma-Ha are (ha!ha!) eye-opening, to say the least.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lauren Ridge on November 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
At Manhattan School for the Arts everyone is edgy, unique, and brooding. Unfortunately, comic-lover Gretchen Lee believes she is only the latter. In a battle to differentiate herself in a school of unique individuals, she dyes her hair an outrageous red, but still falls short of being noticeable to boys in what she considers a school of outcasts. This all changes when she transforms into a fly on the wall of the boys' locker room.

As with many young adult novels aimed towards girls, Gretchen feels that she will be emotionally and socially fulfilled upon finding a boyfriend. Although Lockhart subscribes to this notion to a certain extent, she is careful to portray Gretchen as a strong, independent, and funny character without the support of a male. When she first turns into a fly she considers her situation, "I'll never get a boyfriend looking like this. Oh hell, that is the stupidest thing to think. I cannot believe I just thought that." Of course, the hilarity of the situation is nested within readers' acknowledgment that they too foster insecurities that may escape as inappropriate vanity or general absurdity at the wrong moments.

In a scenario many teenage girls would dream for, readers are permitted to take place in a voyeuristic adventure inside the boys' locker room to gain insight on everything teenage girls talk about, but never get to read about such as (ah-hem) penises or as Gretchen refers to them, "gherkins". By flipping the stereotypical male gaze that evaluates females onto males through Gretchen's gaze, Lockhart actually subverts traditional gender roles, allowing Gretchen to honestly and humorously describe newly acknowledged concepts of lust.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William Welker on November 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
I thought that this book had a very interesting premise. The idea that a teenage girl can learn about the life of boys in a way alternative to the traditional winding up in the backseat of a college guy's ford focus. I'm not too familiar with writing from the perspective of a female teen, but I found it interesting how Lockhart addressed the topic of lust and hormones.

There are many lessons in the book, portrayed in a very honest and down to earth fashion. Obviously divorce is a big issue among teens, both boys and girls - I felt that this story nodded successfully at this particular issue. It's a very fish out of water oriented story, depicting the ever so awkward years of a teenage girl and the angst such a character typically faces.

The book also presents one of the most underrated problems in a young teenage girl's life - neglect from her peers. Neglect is considered by many to be the number one form of bullying in American schools, but is rarely addressed. This story would find a nice home in the hands of a mature middle school student as an independent reading project.
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