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Fly on the Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything

3.41  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,676 Ratings  ·  562 Reviews
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 Kat ...more
Hardcover, 182 pages
Published March 14th 2006 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
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most blahh covers
12th out of 265 books — 25 voters
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5th out of 20 books — 11 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jul 17, 2013 Ariel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
This was my 4th or 5th time reading this book, and goodness I just love it. JUST LOVE IT. Absolutely one of my favourite books of life.
Mar 31, 2010 Tatiana rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009, ya
As seen on The Readventurer

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 oriented and I can't quite identify with imaginative and artistic types. Or maybe because of a bizarre twist in the middle, when the story becomes somewhat fantasy-like - Gretchen finds that
Jan 29, 2009 Abby rated it liked it
Shelves: teen
Fast read -- I read it in literally less than one hour. Gretchen is a shy, standoffish teen who loves reading & drawing superhero comics and attends a Manhattan magnet school for the arts. Feeling confused by her feelings toward Titus, a skinny Art Rat boy, and out of place in her school, she blurts out her wish to be a fly on the wall of the boy's locker room. And does she ever get her wish! Funny, smart, and uncharacteristically honest and straightforward about straight teen girl lust -- a ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Suzie Toumeh
Sep 12, 2015 Suzie Toumeh rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, romance, humor
Let me start by saying THIS IS NOT ROMANCE.. I mean it's about becoming a fly for a week. I can't really see what's so romantic in that.

My favorite part of the book was "Orange and Up Yours" who are two weird guys but Lockhart kinda forgot about them...

I gave this book 3.5 stars.

This is exactly the type of story I would have gravitated toward as a teenager. The main character, Gretchen, is a typical self-proclaimed "nobody" artist in a high school full of talented artistic types. At the start of the book, she feels like she could disappear and no one would notice, but thanks to a transformation of sorts, she realizes that everyone suffers from insecurities. This book is reminiscent of Kafka's The Metamorphoses however, the characters in this
Apr 19, 2011 Miyuki-isb rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Liz BooksandStuff
A feminist re-working of The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. Not much else to say except that.
If I can't change myself back, then I'll be an insect forever, buzzing against the windowpane, living out my now-puny life expectancy confined to a freakin' locker room.

It's definitely not what I expected.

I chose to purchase this book blindly-that is, without even looking at the synopsis at the back. I bought it because I was attracted by the cover and, to be honest, by E. Lockhart's name. Suffice it to say that my initial thoughts about it were completely off-course, haha. My expectations wer
Oct 09, 2009 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, ya
Once again, E.Lockhart has earned major kudos for her frank and honest dialog and for her genuine and oh so realistic characters.

Gretchen is insecure, as so many teen girls are, though she posses above average drawing skills for her age, and has been attending an arts focused magnet school, which is highly competitive. Gretchen fills invisible, after all, when everyone is unique, no one is. She doesn't fit in, and despite her efforts to make herself an individual, she feels as though she is fail
Nov 20, 2009 Amy rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya-literature
This book was brought to my attention by a parent who thought it was inappropriate for a middle school library so I read it. The jury is still out. I enjoyed the story line, which is a girl named Gretchen who goes to an artsy school. She doesn't understand boys and makes a wish to be a fly on the wall in the boys locker room. For whatever reason it comes true. She spends a week as a fly and sees and hears a lot of things. She talks about what the boys look like (she likes to refer to their parts ...more
Nov 30, 2014 Abi rated it liked it
Literally this woman could publish her shopping lists and I would like it.
Annamaria (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧
"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."

I thought that Fly on the wall would have been an interesting book looking at human behaviour through the eyes of a young girl. How do boys act differently than girls? Are there ways to conciliate these differences? Are there similarities? Instead I was given a book about a girl wishing to turn i
Mar 26, 2010 Kelly rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, young-adult
Full review at

Summary: 16-year-old Gretchen doesn’t fit in at The Manhattan School for Art and Music, something weird is going on between her parents, and her best friend seems to be avoiding her.

Review: This one was just okay for me.

I was liking the story until about halfway through when the action slowed way down. I’m not spoiling anything you can’t get from the Amazon description—and maybe I’m outing myself as a jaded old married lady—but in particular
E. Lockhart is one of the best young adult novelists writing today. She is somehow able to capture what it is like to be a teenager -- complete with family issues and tension, friendship problems and boy-angst. She writes in a way that is fun, easy to read and humorous. Fly on the Wall is not my favorite of Lockhart, but it is darned good.

Fly on the Wall is a very short book, the audio is only about 5 hours but is superbly done. The setting is New York City and an art based charter school. The m
Jordyn Wickard
Feb 24, 2015 Jordyn Wickard rated it it was ok
I did not like this book at all. It was very inappropriate and no kid under 13 should read this. Let me tell you about the characters. First there is Gretchen Yee. She thinks that everyone else has something about them but she thinks that she is just ordinary. She has a crush on this guy named Titus but she is too scared to do anything about it. Her best friend is Katya. But she is always too busy for anyone and she is starting to became a mean girl. Sometimes she wishes that that she was a fly ...more
Apr 10, 2009 Tracy rated it really liked it
The first-person POV is charming, engaging and solid: Gretchen Yee's character is believable and likable from the start. E. Lockhart stays focused on Gretchen's transformations from "ordinary" school girl to locker-room fly to self-confident and conscientious young woman. The references to Kafka add to the literary quality. Sure, you could question the believability of Gretchen's week as an insect, but why? It's terribly fun voyeurism and exceptionally revealing (no pun intended) for the charact ...more
Feb 02, 2015 Nik rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Mar 22, 2015 Sura rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Wow I can't believe I finished this in an hour! This was honestly one of the best books I've ever read and I would recommend it to everyone! It's not the typical cliche story of a broken girl and all that crap but is actually very original and very awesome! It's hilarious too! I've never heard anyone use the word gherkins until I read this book. And you'll find out what that is when you read this too ;)
Feb 11, 2015 Books rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed-2015
A relatively interesting read. I struggled to bond with the main character, especially after discovering that she hates it when people kill flies just because they’re there. If she had to deal with the fly infestation we’re currently experiencing in our hot-as-Hades African climate, she would feel differently.

From what I gather, this is the author’s first attempt at writing romance. I think she got it down pretty well; more so because the romance only kicks in on the last page. I enjoyed Gretch
Nov 29, 2014 Anastasia rated it really liked it
I've been thinking about reading this book and I finally picked it up. So, here are my thoughts on it.

I felt like the first half of the book is nothing special. It didn't really impress me, but there are things I liked about it. For example the fact that the main character, Gretchen, lives in New York, in freaking NYC! Thank you E. Lockhart for this location, because other than The Mortal Instruments series I haven't read any book which follows a citizen of New York.I really loved how the author
Apr 17, 2014 Bee rated it it was amazing
This book is seriously adorable. As in, I want to hug it and squeal like a baby girl type of adorable. E. Lockhart provides an honest and realistic look into the minds of teenage girls. Because, yes we have all spend hours talking to our friends trying to disect that one short conversation with the boy you had a crush on. And that is exactly what this book is about. Trying to figure out what the hell it means when a boy throws a ball at you in dodgeball.
However, Lockhart provides a fun twist fo
May 21, 2011 Johnp rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
I was totally skepetical of this book, but it turned out to be a decent read. Gretchen Yee is an artist at a performing arts high school. She's an oddball in a land of odd characters. She tries to figure out some of her classmates, but can't. She wishes should be (you guessed it) a fly on the wall and watch what goes on. Shazam - her wish comes true (we don't really ever figure out how, but just go with it!)... She awakes as a fly in (of all places) the boys' locker room! She spends a week there ...more
Oct 02, 2009 Nicole rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: good (13 year old) girls wanting to be bad
It's obvious in hindsight that a book whose premise is a girl-turned-fly watching the scene from the ceiling of the boys locker room would be all about sex. But I was still taken aback, especially since all the lustiness came out of nowhere. The first half of the book is character exposition, meet poor awkward comics-obsessed Gretchen. She turns into a fly, sees her first naked male classmate, and WHAM! Lusty lustfullness. Naked, naked, naked.

Sidenote: And yet, even with all this nudity, male g
Kristen "Kirby"
Mar 31, 2010 Kristen "Kirby" rated it liked it
Shelves: march-2010, reviews, ya
Fly on the Wall starts with 15 year old Gretchen Yee. At first I thought her story was basically one of teen angst, but it's much more than that. It teaches acceptance and love in one's self. It gives girls a peek into the world of men, their relationships, their feelings.

The fly chapter, weird as it sounds, actually ended up being my favorite section of the book. At first I was like, "wow. this reads like a children's novel minus the language.", but her transformation became tolerable. The sto
Jun 13, 2008 Rachael rated it it was amazing
Nonconformity is rule at the Manhattan High School for the Arts, better known as Ma-Ha, but Gretchen Yee doesn’t fit in (even with her fire engine red hair) – she’s only ordinary. She’s got one best friend names Katya, a secret crush on Titus, a whole bunch of junk in her room (though she wouldn’t call it that), and a love for drawing cartoon-style. But with one ill-made wish, Gretchen has a lot more to worry about than her parents’ divorce: she’s somehow been transformed into a housefly in the ...more
Dec 04, 2013 Lily rated it liked it
This book is perfect for a good laugh.
Honestly, when I picked it up, I thought it would be more insightful, and deep. But it's not at all.
It is just really funny and really entertaining.
If you are the type of person who only likes books that have a deeper meaning and that makes you think, I don't recommend it. But if you like to laugh and would like a break from thinking, I do recommend it.

The characters in this book are easy to relate to, and the overall atmosphere of highschool is a very fa
Let's be honest. I like the book. I don't know why it took so much time to me to finish it, but when I did... it came out ok. It is not my favorite, but I really like it. Its short, funny, unexpected (at some point) and had a so & so good ending. Will I read it again? Maybe yes, or maybe not. You should read it? Yes, because you will laugh and its short, so no harm done.


"Just tell me," sighs Katya. "What do you wish?"
"I wish I was a fly on the wall of the boys' locker room," I say.

Mayday Maddie
Feb 03, 2010 Mayday Maddie rated it liked it
This was very "poetic" and the constant indents WERE BUGGING ME! (no pun intended) XD My sense of humor is really sad.

Anyhoo, the ending was happy (WHATTT??? I know!) and it was a cute story, though the girl's life was depressing (the author had some dignity), but it was very cliche...

Some kid at an art school... why do authors always try and portray feelings via pictures and doodles? It was creative the 1st time, but the 1000th time around it got old.

Also, not to mention, it had too much of t
Allegra Green
Jun 27, 2015 Allegra Green rated it really liked it
I love E. Lockhart's writing. Many YA books try to make stories more extraordinary and characters more interesting by making them too perfect. However E. Lockhart doesn't need to do either of these things - for example instead making stereotypical popular girls E. Lockhart manages to make such normal characters with a flawed mix of qualities and vague social standing. Somehow nothing overly dramatic drives the plot. And that's why I love the writing.

This particular book is Gretchen's "awakening
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E. Lockhart is the author of We Were Liars, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, The Boyfriend List and several other novels.

Liars site:
Twitter: elockhart
More about E. Lockhart...

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“I love the idea of the big life - the life that matters, the life that makes a difference. The life where stuff happens, where people take action. The opposite of the life where the girl can't even speak to the boy she likes; the opposite of the life where the friends aren't even good friends, and lots of days are wasted away feeling bored and kind of okay, like nothing matters much.” 74 likes
“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.” 32 likes
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