Friday, June 17, 2011

Book Review: Please Ignore Vera Dietz

Photo Courtesy Goodreads

"Is it okay to hate a dead kid?  Even if I loved him once?  Even if he was my best friend?  Is it okay to hate him for being dead?"


Vera Dietz is an 18 year-old pizza delivery technician in her senior year of high school.  Vera's mother left years ago, so it's just Vera and her father winging it through life.  Vera's best friend since age 4, Charlie, died under mysterious circumstances the summer before senior year.  Vera is dealing with Charlie's death, but also the hurt he caused her through betrayal in the months before his death.  The changes that came over Charlie, and the way he can still communicate with Vera from beyond the grave (although, this is not considered a YA Paranormal, so just, yeah, FYI) move her to disclose information that can clear his name about what really happened on the night he died.


There are some touchy subjects in this book, such as marital abuse, disregard for marital abuse, drug use, drinking, sex (nothing graphic), bullying, and {{gasp}} those godforsaken flow charts!  Oh, and let's not forget the dangers of a pizza delivery technician and a man casually answering the door with no pants on.  Vera handles that situation like a pro, BTW. 

Please Ignore Vera Dietz  is one of those books you put down and think, "My goodness, I wish I would have thought of that."  It is not too overdone on the romance part, the "Charlie's Ghost" part, or the absentee mother/father who is a former alcoholic part.  All aspects of these aspects mix in very well together to make one cohesive, well-written YA novel that is absolutely worth its Printz award.  

The story is mostly told through Vera, but her father (Ken), her dead best friend (Charlie), and The Pagoda (yes, narration from an illegitimate object that "sits watching people do stupid crap") also make random appearances throughout.  The idea of getting Ken's POV on everything that is happening is so creative and amazing.  I mean, honestly, have you ever seen a parent's POV in a YA novel?  I, for one, have not.  And probably because it wouldn't work for most stories.  But darnnit, it works here.  

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