Book Review - Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

Thursday October 21, 2010

Please Ignore Vera Dietz
by A.S. King
October 12, 2010
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Goodreads Summary: 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?

Review: A few times a year a book comes along that takes you by the shoulders and shakes things up a bit. I'll admit it....I would, most of the time prefer to be reading something paranormal or a fantasy or something in that arena. Lucky for me (a tiresome creature of habit) I'm a librarian AND a blogger which means I have to step outside my favorites and read other stuff. Its only then that I happily discover wonderful, insightful and worth-every-minute of my time, books like Please Ignore Vera Dietz.
The story starts out with the acknowledgement of Charlie's death and Vera's emotional roller coaster of devastation, anger, guilt and remorse. As the story develops Vera looks back on her and Charlie's relationship and the events that led to his death. Is she responsible? Could she have stopped the whole thing? While Vera is the main narrator of the story, we also hear from Charlie (post-humous) and Vera's dad, who is doing his best to raise Vera alone.
Vera and Charlie had been best buds and neighbors since elementary school. From the very beginning they both have secrets they keep from each other and despite how close they are the secrets keep getting bigger and a rift seems inevitable. The issues they are dealing with will be relatable to a lot of kids....alcohol abuse, bullying, domestic violence and absentee parents.
The author does a great job of adding some comic relief through out the book to balance the heavy, and at times somber tone of the story. Vera, flaws and all, is an admirable character...her patience at times borders on saintly but as a whole I found her very realistic, in fact I found myself feeling very protective towards her in certain circumstances through out the book. Weird I know but perhaps because of all the bullying stuff that has been in the news lately???
As Vera works her way through the mystery of Charlie's death she must face the past, overcome the obstacles laid before her and learn to rely on those who love her.

Love it, love it love it! Seriously, a must read ages 15 and up! Read. It. NOW.


Hyacinth Marius said...

`Please Ignore Vera Dietz' is a novel of magnificence. It's about bullying and grief, abandonment and ignoring a problem until it festers and explodes. But above all else, it's a novel of forgiveness. Forgiving people their mistakes and bad choices, the hurts inflicted and sorry's never given.