Author: A.S. King
Publisher: Knoph Books for Young Readers
Original publication date: October 26 2010
Genre: Young Adult
Format/pages: Hardcover 326 pages
Format read: Library book
Date read: December 21 2010
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Summary from the publisher:
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?
Edgy and gripping, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is an unforgettable novel: smart, funny, dramatic, and always surprising.
Vera is just trying to live her life flying under the radar, finishing high school and working full time delivering pizza. She lives alone with her dad, and is grieving over her ex-best friend Charlie, who died before they could reconcile. Vera’s a responsible student, she volunteers with animals, and is working to pay for college, but the stress of Charlie’s death has sparked a habit of drinking alcohol to cope.
Please Ignore Vera Dietz is a unique contemporary novel about grieving, growing up, and making life choices. The story is mainly told through Vera’s perspective, but there are occasional chapters told by “the dead guy” and Vera’s father, which fill in some of the details of Vera’s story. A town landmark also provides a perspective which works better than it sounds.
The protagnonist Vera lives a refreshingly normal life. She is smart, witty, and somewhat of a geek. She’s dealing with normal life problems while seeking redemption and dealing with the remorse she feels about Charlie’s death. She is trying to overcome the family demons in her closet and is concerned about turning into her mom while coming to terms with her dad. Vera is strong and responsible generally, but she makes some poor choices while she is trying to come to terms with Charlie’s death. She is at a crossroads figuring out her next step.
The tone is light and matter of fact while dealing with some heavy themes. Charlie’s story is a heart breaking and complex one and as the story unfolds we get to find out what causes his death. Charlie “appears” to Vera constantly after his death, and she feels his presence everywhere, even as a pickle in her sandwich. Vera knows she needs to help Charlie in order to help herself move on.
This storytelling is very unique, compelling and well written. I was turning pages eagerly to find out what happened with Charlie’s death, and how Vera will deal with the aftermath.Vera’s stories about delivering pizzas were horrifying – this is a more dangerous job than I realized!
This is the first book I have read by A.S. King but I’m looking forward to catching up on her first novel The Dust of 100 Dogs. If you liked other unique realistic fiction about grief such as The Sky is Everywhere, Revolution, or Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour I encourage you to check out Please Ignore Vera Dietz.