Monday, March 26, 2012

Please Ignore Vera Dietz, by A.S. King


When we first meet Vera, she's lost her best friend, Charlie - twice. Once, to the tragic drama that is high school, and the sad politics of social status. Then, again, to death.

Vera's story jumps back and forth through time, sometimes including POVs that you would never expect, like her dad's, Charlie's, and even the wise old Pagoda that sits on the hill above the town where she lives.

It is a lonely, sad, but ultimately uplifting tale of one girl's struggle to find herself, and to stand up for truth in the face of grief. This is the last of A.S. King's books I read, and so far, my favorite.

Let me explain what I mean. I do not mean that it is somehow better than the others. If you read the un-reviews I wrote for Everybody Sees the Ants, and The Dust of 100 Dogs, you know I really loved those books, but this one, and Vera's tale, touched me in a way that only great books can. Having experienced loss in my life similar to Vera's, and also really being able to relate to Vera's father's situation, this book moved me deeply. It really was a unique reading experience for me, because normally in YA novels, parents and children are at odds, and Vera and her dad certainly have their disagreements, but being able to relate to, and sympathize with, them both, made for quite a powerful read.

Anyway, I could go on, but here is the blurb:

Michael L. Printz Honor Book 2011, A Junior Library Guild selection for Fall 2010, An Edgar Allen Poe Award nominee, YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults pick, Indie Next List Pick for Teens, Kirkus Reviews Best Books for Teens 2010, Cooperative Children's Book Center's CCBC Choices 2011. . .

Eighteen-year-old 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, or even the police. But will she emerge and clear his name? Does she even want to?

An edgy, gripping story, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is an unforgettable novel: smart, funny, dramatic, and always surprising.


So that's it. If you're like me, and you like extremely human characters whose lives are not perfect, you will really enjoy this book. I highly recommend you give it a shot.

15 comments:

  1. I love this book too. I have Everybody Sees Ants (went to the signing) and can't wait to read it (slow reader here). She is an amazing author, and if you get to meet her (in person), she is awesome.

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    1. Enjoy Everybody Sees the Ants, Christine. It's also an incredible read.

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  2. I read this book a few weeks ago and it has absolutely become one of my favorites. (It has also sent me on an A.S. King binge - just finished The Dust of 100 Dogs, which was also fantastic, although I agree with you that Please Ignore Vera Dietz is somehow more moving and powerful.) I've been telling everyone I know to read it, so I'm glad you're also spreading the word, Matt! :)

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    1. That's awesome Jessica. Make sure you get to Everybody Sees the Ants as well. It's also very good.

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  3. Wow. This sounds like one I'll like. Those award-winning books actually tend to be pretty good. Who knew? ;p <3

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  4. Loved VERA! So many images from the book live vividly in my mind.

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    1. The flow-charts kicked ass. Even on Kindle.

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  5. This sounds like my sort of book, one where character is every bit as important as plot.

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    1. It is, Sarah. I hope you like it if you pick it up.

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  6. I unequivocally loved every single thing about this book. Especially the flow charts, which were readable even on my Nook.
    The bad part about having it on my Nook is that I can't loan it to the Angel Potatoes. I learned from Vera that all books must be actual books for the Underground Library.

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  7. This is the third rave I've seen of it. Thanks for the extra nudge - I'll be sure to check it out.

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    1. It's really good, MC. Definitely one of the top ten YA novels ever.

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  8. Wow! I've never even heard of this book. It sounds great. I'll have to give it a read. Thanks.

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