Win a Family Weekend Break with Lovereading and VisitWiltshire - click here for details...

win prizes debuts of the month
Search our site
The Guilty Wife by Elle Croft Read the opening extract of the brand new Elle Croft book before its publication on 25/01/2018

Reader Reviewed
Alice and the Fly by James Rice

Alice and the Fly

Literary Fiction   Debuts of the Month   Family Drama   Relationship Stories   
Download an extract Discuss on Facebook Discuss this book on our Literary Contemporary Facebook group Share this book

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

February 2015 Debut of the Month.

Greg is a schizophrenic teenager who also suffers from arachnophobia. He has a lisp, a problem talking and is badly bullied at school, nicknamed ‘Psycho’. He becomes obsessed with a girl, Alice, who has a drunken father and Greg dreams of running away with her. Greg’s English teacher, who has had a traumatic childhood herself, wants to help him and suggests he keeps a private journal. He uses this journal as if writing to Alice. He was diagnosed aged six when he, in an attempt to move numerous ‘phantom’ spiders from his four-year sister, clawed her until she bled. We learn this in transcripts of interviews with a detective trying to gather facts, so we know something dreadful has happened. The interviews intersperse the first-person narrative of the journal. It is an atmospheric, chilling read of mental illness. Very sad.

If you like James Rice you might also like to read books by Matthew Quick, Nathan Filer and Tom Rob Smith.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

  • Amanda Keeling - 'Captivating. I didn't want it to end.' Read full review >
  • Jade Craddock - 'A compelling story that offers a refreshing perspective on illness and mental health.' Read full review >
  • Sophia Ufton - 'Amazing story, couldn't put it down and it has a creepy theme that stayed with me after I read it. Brilliant!' Read full review >
  • Michelle Mckernan - 'This is an unusual book told from the perspective of a teenage boy. I was intrigued from the start and couldn't wait to see where the story took me.' Read full review >
  • Rebecca Cockeram - 'An intriguing page turner, that's really pulls at your heart...The book is heartwarming, tragic and quite frankly brilliant.' Read full review >
  • Pam Kennedy - 'I think that this book was well written and easy to read.' Read full review >
  • Anne Cater - 'Every once in a while I start a new book and almost immediately, the hairs on the back of my neck prickle and I know that this book is going to be one that I will be talking about for years.' Read full review >
  • Sienna Logan - '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.' Read full review >
  • Suzanne Beney - 'A great concept, which just wasn’t given the time to mature into a great book.' Read full review >
  • Emma Halford 'Incredibly impressive debut novel. I can't remember ever wanting so much to be able to reach into a book and save a character. Compelling and convincing writing.' Read full review >
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'Witten through the eyes of a teenager, this will break your heart and leave you troubled with the ways of the world that leaves a young person left isolated from society.' Read full review >
  • Genevieve McAllister - 'James Rice’s debut novel cleverly mixes the universal terrors of being a teenager (first love, bunking off, parties) with the more specific problems of having to deal with mental illness.' Read full review >
  • Victoria Halliday - 'A compellingly-narrated, compulsive - and sad - read.' Read full review >
  • Sharon Lowe - 'I found this book interesting, the story about a young boy a teenage boy, who had phobias, discovering love and family who were more interested in themselves than what was happening in front of them.' Read full review >
  • Kristy West - 'A good, solid debut novel about fears, phobias, growing up and falling in love.' Read full review >
  • Fiona Maclean - 'Quirky and captivating, this book takes you inside the mind of a rather confused teenager. The black ending doesn't disappoint.' Read full review >
  • Suzanne Marsh - 'Alice and the Fly is astonishing.'  Read full review >
  • Sharon Butler - 'This is one of the most bizarre and strange books that I have ever read... I found this book challenging and hard going to read... All in all, not my sort of book at all.' Read full review >

Win a year of Muriel Spark...!

Win a year of Muriel Spark...Marking her centenary, you could win all 22 novels in collectable, hardback editions published by Polygon, each complete with an Introduction from a leading writer PLUS a copy of the warm and humorous memoir of Alan Taylor’s friendship with Spark. These novels are published with the support of Creative Scotland and The Muriel Spark Society.

The winner will receive the copies as they are published during 2018. The initial package is likely to include: The Comforters, The Ballad of Peckham Rye, Memento Mori, Robinson, A Far Cry From Kensington, The Bachelors, The Girls of Slender Means, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and the memoir by Alan taylor Appointment in Arezzo.

The value of competition is over £220.00!

To have a chance of winning this fantastic prize, click the button below. Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter, multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once.

The draw closes on 28 January 2018. The winner will be announced on the centenary of her birth, 1 February 2018.

Good luck!

Enter prize draw Draw closes: 28/01/2018


Alice and the Fly by James Rice

Finding love - in any of its forms - and nurturing it. Miss Hayes has a new theory. She thinks my condition's caused by some traumatic incident from my past I keep deep-rooted in my mind. As soon as I come clean I'll flood out all these tears and it'll all be ok and I won't be scared of Them anymore. The truth is I can't think of any single traumatic childhood incident to tell her. I mean, there are plenty of bad memories - Herb's death, or the time I bit the hole in my tongue, or Finners Island, out on the boat with Sarah - but none of these are what caused the phobia. I've always had it. It's Them. I'm just scared of Them. It's that simple.


'One of the most stunning debuts I've read in a long time. The talent behind it is huge.'
Helen Walsh, author of The Lemon Grove

'Alice and the Fly is a darkly quirky story of love, obsession and fear. A disconcerting but beautiful story hung around the enchanting and heartbreaking voice of teenager Greg. -- Anna James, The Bookseller

About the Author

James Rice

James Rice lives in Liverpool. In 2011 he completed an MA in Writing at Liverpool John Moores University and has since finished his debut novel, Alice and the Fly - the first chapter of which won the Writing On The Wall Festival's novel-writing competition 'Pulp Idol'. He also writes short stories, several of which have been published, and writes songs with his friend Josh, which he sings in a very high-pitched voice people have charitably referred to as 'unique'. He is currently working on his second novel.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

15th January 2015


James Rice

More books by James Rice
Author 'Like for Like'

Author's Website
Loading twitter updates...


Hodder & Stoughton Ltd an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division




Literary Fiction
Debuts of the Month
Family Drama
Relationship Stories



Lovereading is a wonderful way to expand my literary horizons, discover inspiring authors & get the chance to read new novels first. #loveit

Zarina de Ruiter

My favourite thing about is the 'like for like' page this has really introduced me to some good reads! That and lots of honest reviews.

Sam Lewis

Ever purchased a book, read a few pages & thought I'm not going to enjoy this? Honest book reviews mean you'll never have that problem again

Jill Peters

If you LOVE reading then you will love LOVEREADING! It's a 'novel' idea. Seriously though I could not recommend them enough.

Rebecca Whymark

I love Lovereading for the wonderful like for like author recommendations and for highlighting new books, it's a great resource for readers!


Lovereading has all the new books and also suggestions for 'similar' authors whilst waiting for your favourites new books.

Carol Peace

I love reading books I wouldn't normally choose before everyone else gets to read them!

Dawn Lynch

Discover new authors and enjoy old favourites; oodles of literary gems to uncover at Lovereading with candid reviews from real reviewers.

Emily Wright