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Alice and the Fly

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  1,585 ratings  ·  332 reviews
A spellbinding debut novel by an exceptional new young British talent.

This is a book about phobias and obsessions, isolation and dark corners. It's about families, friendships, and carefully preserved secrets. But above everything else it's about love. Finding love - in any of its forms - and nurturing it.

Miss Hayes has a new theory. She thinks my condition's caused by som
Hardcover, 323 pages
Published January 2015 by Hodder & Stoughton
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Aba Adjei-Afriyie I agree with Zena and Julia. She slipped under water while Greg was having his fit making her drown unexpectedly.

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Average rating 3.63  · 
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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Greg doesn’t have a problem remembering good things about his childhood. He knows he was happy living with Nan and Herb. His family took an amazing vacation to Finner’s Island. Even when he was seeing THEM Nan was right there with him – stocked with packing tape to seal THEM out. Those days are long gone, however. Herb died and Nan had to move into a nursing home and nobody in the family wants to talk about what happened at Finner’s Is
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

Actual rating : 2.5 stars

"Then she turned to me and said, "Just promise me, if she sees us, just promise me you'll try and be normal."
I didn't reply to that because I didn't know how to reply. I didn't know how I could promise something I had failed to do my whole life."

Once again, I find myself wondering why so many books lose their rhythm around 50%. I swear, book, could you not be crappy from the beginning? To let me dnf the fuck out of you and call it a day? No. You have to be really goo
C.G. Drews
That was...incredible. It was marvellous. IT WAS...WHAT ARE WORDS ANYWAY? GAH. So I had no idea what to expect. The blurb is super vague, but promised obsessions and phobias, which I figured would mean mental illness and I so do want to read more of that because I like to learn about how different kinds of people view, and struggle, with the world. This book is also about schizophrenia. I wasn't exactly expecting it, but I figured it out a few chapters in. Also IT'S NOT NARRATED BY ALICE. Which ...more
Liz Barnsley
Another book that stunned me into silence (and believe me that is not the easiest thing to achieve) Alice and the Fly really is a most amazing read – immediately addictive, haunting, terribly authentic and with some beautifully written prose and an almost creepy, unsettling ambience this will draw you in and hold you there throughout.

Told mostly by Greg through his “diary” he paints a picture of an isolated life – Greg has issues, he is the loner, the “strange” one – his peers refer to him as “p
Dannii Elle
I received this book from NetGalley on a read to review basis. Thank you to the author, James Rice, and the publisher, Hodder & Stoughton, for this opportunity.

This was such an incredibly sad and poignant novel and I can't really begin to recount how this book has affected me. Anything that deals with mental health is going to be a poignant read, but the grace and knowledge that James Rice used to tackle this complex and heart-wrenching topic was phenomenal. This book was a dark insight into th
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-star-books
It is fair to say that along with the "lets be like Gone Girl" craze, that has been the in thing since that god forsaken book proved so successful, books about damaged people have been quite prolific and popular. Be it through a traumatic event in a characters past or a result of mental illness, in the same way as we are intrigued by what goes on in the mind of a killer, we have the same sense of fascination in people who in normal circumstances we may not approach or engage with.

Greg lives in h
rachel ☾
3.5 stars

I have, personally, never read a story like Alice and the Fly before. Mysteries? Of course! Thrillers? Doubly yes, they're my favourite. A story this gritty, this psychological, this eerie and this gripping, though? Nope. I cannot say that I have.

Alice and the Fly was an undeniably a dark and disturbing read. While it was definitely thrilling, I loved that it focused on the protagonist more than anything else - his personality, his obsessions, his mental health. Greg was not a reliable
I am the hugest fan of unreliable narrators and mindfuckery and not knowing what happens until the very end...this was confusing. So much so that I don't know how to properly review it.

What I liked: the format of letter writing/journaling, the insert of interviews, the vagueness of the overall story arc.

What I didn't like: the entire chapters that were just one sentence {although looking back, it was effective}, the shiteous family life that Greg had, the dog abuse, the maybe rape scene of an
Jamie (Books and Ladders)
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
"It's amazing how much damage we did just by leaving, just by not being there."

I really enjoyed this one. I liked that we got to see schizophrenia in this manner because it felt so real. I also really liked the inclusion of the police transcripts in between. I thought they added clarity to the narrative. I liked that we got it from Greg's point of view rather than from the outside. I think it would have been diff
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Greg is a lonely, isolated, strange boy. He lives a life surrounded by people, but he feels totally alone. His mind works in a different way to those around him, he wants to be invisible, but his lisp, his scratching, his fits make him stand out. These are the things that make the other kids call him 'psycho', and point and laugh at him.

Miss Hayes is Greg's English teacher. Miss Hayes thinks that if Greg writes things down in a journal, then maybe things could get better. Greg's journal becomes
Oct 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In my view it doesn't cost anything to be friendly to people.

Alice The Fly broke my heart. Gregory Hall didn't have any friends at school. Bless Greg's heart he suffered from not being able to say his S's properly.All the wicked boys in his class torment him calling him all sorts of horrible names like psycho and nuts. The boys don't like anything about him the way he walks, the way Greg watches, his scratching and his mumbling and they don't like his staring at the girls.

Miss Hayes Grewg's scho
Sienna Logan (Lost to Books)
More reviews at

Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for the opportunity to read a proof so far in advance

This was a strange read for me and not what I was expecting. It both had me wanting to read on, while at the same time something just didn't connect with me.

I liked the start, it was intriguing and I found myself flying through the pages rapidly. As well as that I liked the mystery that was created from the transcripts. I thought they were used cleverly so that the r
Bruce Gargoyle
Full review at http://thebookshelfgargoyle.wordpress... (January 16)

I received a copy of this title from the publisher via Netgalley.

Ten Second Synopsis:
Greg journals about his unhappy life and the one person who he thinks could be a friend.

I had high hopes for this book, but I was disappointed.

The best thing about this book is its interesting format. As well as excerpts from Greg’s journal (which makes up the bulk of the narrative), the reader is privy to police interviews with a variety of Gre
Cleopatra  Pullen
Jan 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, mystery
Meet Greg, a teenage boy with a phobia of spiders or THEM as he refers to them, a social outcast, or the psycho as his classmates call him who has a kindly English teacher who suggests that he keeps a journal. The story told in that journal is a sad one as it documents days where he has no meaningful contact with anyone, including his family. At times the journal refers to events in the past, Greg has an ideal place, Finner’s Island somewhere that contains happier memories for him, but from exce ...more
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight
I... have some mixed feelings about this one. On one hand, yes please to mental health representation. Greg's character was definitely well done, and I liked that we got to read the book through Greg's eyes, as he relayed the story to Alice. That aspect was quite unique, and I was a fan. I also liked the little bits of information that was provided from others, just to kind of keep the s
Leilah Skelton
Jan 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
‘Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!’ – Sir Walter Scott.

There is a lot of deception in James Rice’s incredible debut. There’s the middle class family hiding their tracks from the wrong end of town; the school cliques with their catch-all labels (prepare to meet “Psycho”) that choke out individualism; the teacher, self-deluding in her capability to counsel a troubled mind… and caught at the centre of this web is Greg, our ‘Fly’, (no place for a schizophrenic teen w
Apr 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017-reviews
I’m not really sure how to review “Alice and the Fly.” It wasn’t a bad characterization of mental illness, though it did lack any real answers for the reader. I feel like I just didn’t connect to the main character the way I wish I could. Overall, I can neither recommend nor not recommend it.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
Tracy Fenton
May 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
A stunning debut novel. This book has it all, dysfunctional families, phobias, bullying and an underlying story of love. A sad and sometimes uncomfortable book which tugged at my heartstrings and one I would certainly recommend
Asghar Abbas
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Hi by Warpaint. 2014.

Up all night
You wore your falling heart
And opened up to us
And now we know the place you left

You sailed the saddest smile
And turned it inside out
Your mother
She knows your face
Can do without

In the middle of the day
We find love
In the middle of the day
We find love

Or is it ;

You said the saddest mind ?

In any case, I would turn it around, flip it over, change that a little bit. I would say, you said the quietist mind. Since I am not averse to inverting things myself. And it is abo
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
I feel as though two stars might be too low; however, three is definitely too high... so maybe a 2.5.
The whole concept of the main characters crime was very suspenseful in how it was teased throughout the book...however, the ending was a bit of a disappointment in terms of wow factor although i understand its subtle nature might have been the intent of the author. This book did have interesting representation of the main character and how he processed the events happening around him. Other chara
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
Let me start this review with "wow!"

Ok... now that that's out of the way! I loved this book from start to finish. I haven't devoured a book in less than 24 hours in a very long time but, despite my busy work schedule, I did just that with Alice and the Fly.

On the surface, this book is fairly simple. Greg is a kid with issues--issues that appear to be a deep phobia of "them" (I won't tell you who/what "they" are... that's part of the appeal) but really Greg has a lot more going on. There's a lot
Brooke ♥booklife4life♥

Basic Info

Pages/Length: 304pgs
Genre: Young Adult; Metal Illness.
Reason For Reading: Liked the cover.

At A Glance

Love Triangle/Insta Love/Obsession?:
Cliff Hanger: No
Triggers: n/a
Rating: 3.5 stars

Score Sheet
All out of ten

Cover: 9
Plot: 7
Characters: 7
World Building: 6
Flow: 7
Series Congruity: n/a
Writing: 7
Ending: 5

Total: 6

In Dept

Best Part:
Nice cover art!
Worst Part: Too quick near the end.
Thoughts Had: So he really did that?! or...


Continuing the Series:
Kathe Coleman
Apr 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Alice and the Fly by James Rice
The story is told through Greg, a disturbed young man with serious phobias, and police interviews with Greg’s family and friends. His whole family bury their problems under addictive behavior. His mother a compulsive decorator, his sister with ceaseless dancing and his father with work and affairs. The novel examines a series of big issues of loneliness and isolation, the nature of obsession and of the power of relationships to both damage and comfort. The plot slo
Callum McLaughlin
I always appreciate a book that can address mental illnes in a realistic yet sensitive way. Greg as a character is incredibly endearing and his story has so much to say about the importance of acceptance, both within ourselves and of others. It also crucially highlights the harsh reality of divides within society and the fact that hardships can touch all our lives, no matter where we may sit on the social ladder.

Dark yet beautifully written, Alice and the Fly is a poignant and important read.
Renita D'Silva
Jul 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Dark, Chilling, Sad, Compelling. A heartbreaking story.
Rida Imran
Sep 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
Been trying to read this for months. I really wanted to finish reading it cause the concept was so intriguing. Never read a book of phobias before. But just couldn't bring myself to finish it.
Martin Hannon
Feb 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, young-adult
Greg, a central character with schizophrenia and a bit of arachnophobia on the side, whose wellbeing is (strangely) ignored by his family following an earlier violent episode with his sister. At the behest of his teacher he begins keeping a diary while becoming increasingly obsessed with the titular Alice.

As far as the Greg's concerned, I found the use of the schizophrenia felt less subject matter than a device to drive the plot - occurring outside of situations where I would have expected it to
I was provided a free e-book in exchange of an honest review
Now, his obsession with Alice is a little bit like he explains on the final chapter. There's the Alice he writes to, and the Alice he sees on the bus. He never really knows anything about her, he is just fixated on her. She's a visual anchor, utilizing her mentally to keep down the fears. Which is something that really weird me out, can't seem to remember how is that his fear came to be.

I enjoyed the writing, sometimes, it did get ver
Jan 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a very dark and disturbing book. 'Fly' is the weird kid at school, the one who mutters away to himself, the one who stares at other kids, the one who has a fit if confronted with a spider (real or imaginary). Fly is messed up; but then so is his family, and his neighbourhood, and in fact the whole town where he lives. Then again we can't be 100% confident that anything is as it seems as he does not make a very reliable narrator for this story of his break from reality. The novel's suspen ...more
Bryan Sanchez
Mar 03, 2016 rated it really liked it

I don't even know how to tell everyone what this book is about without spoilers, so I'm just gonna say that this book is something fresh, new and real, something that will blow your mind and make you feel so confuse. The kind of book that keeps a secret until the end. The kind of book that teach you that your problems are not the worst and that the money doesn't buy the happiness.

The kind of book that everybody should read :)
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Author of 'Alice and the Fly', Hodder and Stoughton (2015). Also semi-functioning human being.

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