A cheeky contemporary for younger audiences that has commendable insight on injustice.
Genre: Y/A, Fantasy
No. of pages: 182
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.
‘Fly on the Wall’ is a fun contemporary with a magical realism twist.
Gretchen, our protagonist, feels like she is on the outside of everything and everyone at school. Like she’s in a holding pattern for life. Stagnant. Biracial and not quite arsty enough to be one of the Art Rats, and not generic enough to fit in to a normal crowd at a regular high school, Gretchen feels trapped.
When her parents break some big news, and she is frustrated about things going down at school. Gretchen wishes she could see what goes on behind closed doors, get answers that seem hidden from her… and then it happens… literally! She becomes a fly on the wall, stuck in the boys locker room. She gets to see them naked, their “gerkins” up close, and all their emotional politics laid bare. It’s pretty hilarious and cool.
It gives Gretchen perspective. A look into other people’s lives at their most
vulnerable. And she learns some lessons. As well as some valuable truths that will help her out of the rut she’s been in.
I love the language and narrative style. Though, ‘Fly on the Wall’ has a simplistic plot and targeted to younger audiences. The storyline is not much of a mystery and fairly predictable; but fun and witty. This was an enjoyable quick read with loads of character development.
I loved how it tackled discrimination, machismo, and archaic views on patriarchy, and ultimately instigated change. Also, I liked how it explores female sexuality and how it’s okay to feel want. To feel horny or sexual attraction. Not an awakening, just an awareness and acceptance that we are all humans and have desires. Refreshing for a YA novel to deal with sex, desire and body image without being sexualised.
Overall feeling: weird and surprising.
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