PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ by A.S. King
YA - Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 2010 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ is one of the best books I've ever read. Something about it just really grabbed me. It's both quirky and heart-wrenching. It's unpredictable, yet routine. It's like nothing I've seen before, but not at all hard to follow. I had to stop halfway through to sleep and then spent the entire next day at work wishing for a spare minute so I could pull the book out of my bag and read just one more page.Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.
So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?
The story is mostly told by Vera Dietz, at present and in the past. She's supremely sarcastic, lovable, and sad. Her lifelong best friend, Charlie, dies months after betraying her, before they can make up, and you'll want to hate him. But you'll also sort of love him. You will absolutely feel sorry that he died. Every once in a while, the story is told by Vera's dad (and his flow charts), Charlie (from beyond the grave), and The Pagoda (a local spot, built from "delusional optimism and folly"), which sounds weird, but is actually perfect.
As Vera lives on after Charlie's death, and uncovers what happened on the night he died, we meet Jenny Flick. I've never hated a character in a book more than her. She's a heartless, manipulative liar. Sociopath? Probably. Whatever she is, I hated every second of her on the page, and that's the point, which means that she was written perfectly. You will want to punch her lights out.
By the end, I was simultaneously sad and proud. I spent the last several pages trying not to cry because of both feelings. I grew to love Vera Dietz and I wish I didn't have to let her go.
PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ with its interesting manner of storytelling and sensitive, smart-alecky main character will capture your heart right from the beginning and pull you along on an emotional, rewarding ride. Fans of John Green can't go wrong with this one.
A.S. King is the featured author for #JustContemporary today, so swing by Chick Loves Lit for an interview, info on her newest book, EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS, & a giveaway!