Greg is cripplingly shy, afraid of spiders, and obsessed with Breakfast at Tiffany's. He's not exactly the most popular kid at his high school. In fact, he pretty much goes out of his way to avoid talking to anybody he doesn't have to. And it doesn't help that he has a severe lisp.
But Greg's English teacher, Miss Hayes, can see that there's something different about him. He's insightful and sensitive beyond his years, and maybe--just maybe--he'll use these strengths to break out of his shell someday. Miss Hayes urges Greg to keep a journal. "This isn't an assignment," she tells him, "just write down your thoughts."
Greg begins to write about everything from his mother's ill-conceived interior decorating ideas to his job at the local butcher's shop. When Greg begins to take an interest in a girl at his school named Alice, he realizes that he will have to face his most paralyzing anxieties if he wants to befriend Alice and help her escape from her violent family life.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Shunned by his classmates, Greg Hall is an odd, observant boy with a debilitating phobia and a secret crush on a girl from the rough part of town. Alice and the Fly gets under your skin, leaving you unsettled, sad, and deeply affected. Debut novelist James Rice, who worked at a bookstore while writing this book, has a knack for beautiful prose that drew us deeper and deeper into this haunting mystery about a troubled, love-starved protagonist living in a harsh and troubling world.
When Greg "Fly" Hall, a teenager from wealthy Skipdale, falls for a girl named Alice from poverty-stricken Pitt, he imagines that he can save her from her abusive father and bully of a brother. But Greg labeled "psycho" by his classmates for his uncontrollable fits, lisp, and non-communicative nature faces a challenging route to protecting Alice. With his workaholic father, dance-obsessed sister, and social-climbing mother involved with their own interests, Greg resigns himself to following Alice and watching out for "Them," imaginary spiders that threaten to devour Greg and those he loves. Told alternately through Greg's diary and police transcripts, Rice's debut maintains an atmosphere of increasing dread as Greg gets closer to an approaching party and as memories from his youth, including a boating accident and a dementia-afflicted grandmother, feed into his paranoia. Despite the misguided help of his teacher and his mother, Greg skirts closer to psychosis with chilling nightmares that indicate his schizophrenic state. In the heartbreaking ending, Rice poses compelling questions about guilt, responsibility, and the culture of objectification that lead to Greg's final acts. Ages 12 up.