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Fly on the Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything    by E. Lockhart order for
Fly on the Wall
by E. Lockhart
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

In this world of ordinary people, there is Gretchen Kaufman Yee, who labels herself as, well, yes ordinary. She's a student at Manhattan School for the Arts, a.k.a. Ma-Ha, 'a magnet high school for students talented in drawing, painting, sculpture or photography.' At Ma-Ha everyone wants to be different - mohawk haircuts, dreadlocks, shaved heads, and such, while the mode of dress combines ethnic (even if you are not of that ethnicity) and thrift-store fashion expressions. Jeans and T-shirt are a no-no because they don't express individuality, but vampire-red lips, and bright-colored hair are accepted.

Entry requirements include a portfolio, which Gretchen submitted in inks of comic-book characters (she is fond of Spider-Man). Gretchen spends time mostly by herself, as her friend Katya is always busy. Though Gretchen's boyfriend Shane is now an ex, she finds 'Greek statue-like' Titus of much interest. And she recently learned that her parents are divorcing. Bummer! At the end of a school week, Gretchen realizes she will be spending the upcoming week alone, while her parents are away. To Katya, Gretchen says to Katya, 'I wish I could be a 'Fly on the Wall' in the boys' locker room', to learn more about what guys discuss, what they like and dislike.

When Gretchen awakens on Saturday morning, she realizes she has entered the world of flydom as she stretches her many LEGS?!? What? Yes, six to be exact, along with spreading wings?! Eyes with no eyelids are able to see full surround, and, 'Oh. My. God. I am in the boys locker room at Ma-Ha!' Monday morning arrives, and the boys begin entering the locker room, changing for gym classes. Tuesday and the rest of the week Gretchen gets a fly's eyeful (and earful) of male physiques, watches fist-raising disagreements, serious conversations, along with camaradarie, Hmm! I-n-t-e-r-e-s-t-i-n-g! I-n-f-o-r-m-a-t-i-v-e! and I-n-s-i-g-h-t-f-u-l!

E. Lockhart, who was inspired to write this book while in her home shower, writes, 'I am not sure whether my being in the shower influenced my thought processes. It was my first naked writing experience'. While Gretchen's experience as a Fly on the Wall is not an everyday occurrence, it is definitely entertaining, and we see Gretchen mature from ordinary to special. Gretchen realizes that she misses and appreciates what she had in her life before the 'fly thing'. Wishing to return to herself, the teen heroine comes to terms with issues in her life.

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