Friday, April 1, 2011

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

It took me a while to warm up to this book but I'm glad I stuck with it. Engaging story, interesting characters with real problems and an unusual structure, but not to the point of distracting. I have to confess that I'm having trouble organizing my thoughts on this compelling book. (Hectic week) So I'm going to cheat.

Here's what Booklist had to say:

High-school senior Vera never expects her ex-best friend, Charlie, to haunt her after he dies and beg her to clear his name of a horrible accusation surrounding his death. But does Vera want to help him after what he did to her? Charlie’s risky, compulsive behavior and brand-new bad-news pals proved to be his undoing, while Vera’s mantra was always Please Ignore Vera Dietz, as she strives, with Charlie’s help, to maintain a low profile and keep her family life private. But after Charlie betrayed her, it became impossible to fend off her classmates’ cruel attacks or isolate herself any longer. Vera’s struggle to put Charlie and his besmirched name behind her are at the crux of this witty, thought-provoking novel, but most memorable is the gorgeous unfurling of Vera’s relationship with her father. Chapters titled A Brief Word from Ken Dietz (Vera’s Dad) are surprising, heartfelt, and tragic; it’s through Ken that readers see how quickly alcohol and compromised decision making are destroying Vera’s carefully constructed existence. Father and daughter wade gingerly through long-concealed emotions about Vera’s mother’s leaving the family, creating the most powerful redemption story of the many found in King’s arresting tale. Although King’s characters turn into the people they’ve long fought to avoid becoming, they ultimately rise above their challenges, reflect, and move on. A worthy, well-crafted addition to any YA collection.

My one disappointment with the story was I didn't feel like I got enough out of the ending. I craved another page or two. But I had to be satisfied with the story that the author wanted to tell.

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