Review: Fly on the Wall (E. Lockhart)

Genre: YA Contemporary

Rating: ★★


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.


I won this book in a giveaway from the lovely Kayleigh Causton and this is one of the very few YA contemporaries I read this year. I’ve been deliberately avoiding this genre because I don’t find much joy in reading them but thought I’d give it a try and I ended up having such a nice discussion with Kayleigh after finishing this! 😀

So let’s start with the reasons that made me give this book only 2 stars:

The plot of the entire book and the writing felt very bland to me. It’s no secret she turns into a fly after wishing to become one (it’s in the synopsis, don’t accuse me of spoilers lol). But what happens afterwards was very dull, to say the least. The plot lacks any major point the author was trying to pinpoint. I felt how boring it must be to be the fly in the boys locker room after all the buzz and excitement (ha) wore down. And it baffles me that she was kept away for a long time without anyone wondering where she went?

I don’t understand why YA Contemporaries insists on having broken families thrown into the mix. I understand this is the source of a lot of teenage anxieties and depressions, but I felt it too cliche and repetitive to enjoy the story as a whole. Surprise, surprise, Gretchen has irresponsible parents who let her do (and become) whatever she wants with no concerns for the consequences. Yeah, it’s not the first time I’ve seen this family setting unfold.

And no YA contemporary is complete without the main character wishing she was with a guy and how he’d notice her. The ending for this particular conundrum left me confused because it can’t be resolved that easy? Ah well….

The main character herself was alright for me, not too whiny with just the right amount of lack of self esteem and enigmatic personality. I do wish her best friend, Katya, was given a tiny bit more attention in this book because she could have helped the story move along much better, in my opinion.

Overall, the story felt rushed and lacked proper editing of the details surrounding her experience as a fly. People have mentioned that this book is the female version of Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, but since I haven’t read that one yet, I can’t compare honestly.

Have you read the book, and what did you think of it?


5 thoughts on “Review: Fly on the Wall (E. Lockhart)

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