Friday, January 28, 2011

Book Review: Please Ignore Vera Dietz

Please Ignore Vera Dietz
by A.S. King

To say my friend died is one thing.

To say my friend screwed me over and then died five months later is another.

— Vera Dietz (from the prologue)

Vera's best friend Charlie is dead, and Vera has to live forever with the fact that she hated him at the end, that he rejected her and hurt her after a life-long friendship. While Vera tries to come to terms with his death and the events preceding it, she delivers pizzas, fights with her dad, makes out with an older guy at the town landmark pagoda, and secretly takes up drinking. She also has to deal with the thousand Charlies who visit her, trying to get her to clear his name. But Vera isn't ready yet, and isn't sure that she wants to.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz is a smart, intense book written in an authentic teen voice. Most of the book is narrated by Vera, but there are occasional interjections from Charlie, Vera's dad, and even the pagoda. Scenes in the present alternate with Vera's memories of past times with Charlie, memories that all have relevance to what happened in the end. Part of the pleasure of this book is the mystery; the truth is revealed gradually as the layers of exactly what happened are rolled back.

The truth that is revealed is horrible, and sad, and deep. This is a story of a lost soul, and maybe if the people around him had done things differently, it might have made a difference. And yet, as layer after layer is revealed, one also begins to see that the truth is complicated, and that knowing the right thing to do isn't always easy. In the end, this is a book that made me cry.

Recommended age range: teen

Please Ignore Vera Dietz was a 2010 Cybils nominee in the Fantasy/Science Fiction: Teen category.

FTC required disclosure: Book reviewed from library copy. The Amazon.com links above are Amazon Associate links, and I earn a very small percentage of any sales made through the links. Neither of these things influenced my review.


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