Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2010), 336 pages
Her best friend, the boy next door, the guy she loved — *he* died. But maybe even worse, the friendship/relationship ended before he died. The title character goes through life, most days in a haze of grief, getting through her senior year of high school, working at the pizza place, and dealing with her dad. Mostly trying to avoid her destiny (of becoming her mom).
Just a touch of mystery pervades this book for most of its breadth. But for the most part it’s the story of how a girl deals with the grief and regret of losing her best friend.
It’s really readable. Good, but tragic, sad. I feel like it says good stuff about life, but maybe I was reading too fast to catch it? Maybe just too tired or racing through it too fast. I mean the underlying meaning stuff.
It reads a bit like Sara Zarr’s How to Save a Life. Except a bit more shallow. Which sounds bad, but I don’t mean it as an insult, exactly. It’s a little angry and rough. Vera is very real, in that she’s wounded, she makes mistakes.
Please Ignore Vera Dietz reads quickly. I liked how her history with Charlie is played out in History chapters, and how brief words from Charlie and her father are interspersed with the main, current-day, chronological text. My favorite aspect might well be how it dealt with the question of nature vs. nurture, or how one can avoid the path he/she is generally expected to walk in.
This was my first King, but I don’t intend for it to be my last. One of those hot YA authors I’m glad to have tried.
Please Ignore Vera Dietz is a Printz Honor book.
Rating: 3.5 stars
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