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Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Book Review: Fly on the Wall by Remy Lai

Henry flies from Australia to Singapore to visit his dad every break. But when his big sister needs to stay home to focus on university applications, that means Henry can't go either. But Henry's sick and tired of always being treated like a baby! And he's twelve--the age kids can fly solo. So he hatches a plan.

Yep, he buys a plane ticket with his mom's credit card, sneaks his passport out of the house, and heads to the airport. He's arranged his former best friend to cover for him with his overly protective family during the 8 hours or so it will take for him to get there, and then he'll have proven to everyone how he's responsible and capable! Or will he?

Meanwhile, on his flight is a boy from him class who's kind of been his nemesis this year. Plus, Henry thinks the boy saw him uploading a satirical cartoon he draws about his school, under the moniker Fly on the Wall, and could out him. When Henry's notebook goes missing, it makes him all the more determined to figure out if that boy is behind it. Another plan!

This is such a clever story. It's all hand-drawn although most pages are just writing on notebook paper (Henry's notebook) but there are plenty of drawings mixed in. I especially liked how he showed his ability to draw in a very different style than his usual style, which is why no one has pegged him for Fly on the Wall yet. It's also very interesting to see a book for kids that takes place entirely in one day. There were great lessons about friendship, about consequences, and about what growing up and maturity really means. Henry doesn't always see how his actions and decisions affect--and occasionally even hurt--others. He has some growing up to do, while also proving that he has come a long way.

This book is published by Henry Holt BYR, a division of Macmillan, my employer.

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