Teenager Greg has severe arachnophobia, rich parents, no friends, and a crush on a girl at school, Alice. As his fascination with Alice grows, Greg nurtures his love for her and tries to combat the debililitating fear he has of spiders.
Alice and the Fly is beautifully told, especially so given its serious and sometimes dark subject matters. Rice somehow manages to make the book uplifting in parts, despite the tragic events that unfold.
But it's Rice's intimate examination of mental illness that deserves the most praise and attention. Told by Greg, Alice and the Fly both offers an insight into the mind of a teenager suffering from mental illness, while simultaneously making the reader realise just how difficult it is to ever understand what someone suffering from arachnophobia is going through. That doesn't mean, however, that you shouldn't try to understand, something Rice conveys through Greg's parents, who clearly love their child but don't know how to help him, and in some ways have given up.