Book: Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2010
Genre: YA Pages: 336 pages
Where I got it: bought at Borders
Buy It: Amazon
Summary (from Goodreads): 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?
My thoughts: I put off reading Please Ignore Vera Dietz for quite some time because I was worried it was one of those books that got too much hype. I have to say that while I enjoyed it overall, I really thought this was going to be a 5 star book for me. I enjoyed the way the story was told, jumping between the present and flashbacks to her past with Charlie, with interjections thrown in from her Dad, Charlie from beyond the grave and the architectural anomaly that is the Pagoda. I like books that take awhile to tell the story, giving us a few tidbits at a time because it gives me that extra push to keep reading, even if I have something else I should be doing.
I thought the relationship between Vera and her father was very true to life for a single father/ daughter relationship. Throughout the book, they were struggling to get along with one another but in the end they had a huge breakthrough that was so inspiring. I feel like so many of the books I've read lately are chock full of spunky characters and this was no exception.
The main reason I had trouble with Please Ignore Vera Dietz was the way Charlie was portrayed. Vera was undoubtedly angry with him because of the way he treated her shortly before his death but she also was in love with him. Charlie seemed like a total creep to me and I couldn't get past that. I understand that he had issues at home and he was probably acting out and rebelling because he wanted the intention (at least that's what all of my psychology teachers would have told me) but selling your worn underwear to the neighborhood pedophile is severely messed up. However, I'm so so glad that he got to explain his side of things because it helped me see how Vera could have been in love with him. There was a lot of darkly humorous parts of this book, especially in the ways he would control little things to happen and Vera would know it was him.
I think Please Ignore Vera Dietz is the perfect example of learning from your mistakes and letting things work themselves out in their own time. Vera had to go through a lot of crap to get to where she ended up, but it was all worth it because she was able to clear her best friends name and make peace with him as well as with her Dad. We saw her grow from an overworked teenager who was unable to face her problems to someone who learned how to deal like an adult. There was a lot to take away from this once I was finished which is always a sign of a hype worthy book.
My rating: 3.5 stars