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Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary/Mystery

Release Date: 10/12/2010

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About the Book: Vera Dietz just wants to be ignored. She's been secretly in love with her best friend Charlie Kahn for years, but now Charlie is dead and Vera knows the truth about the night he died. Vera and Charlie had been best friends until Charlie started hanging out with evil Jenny Flick and starting changing. But now Vera is haunted by images of Charlie and she holds to key to clearing his name-but is Vera ready to forgive Charlie?

Sarah Teenlibrarian Says: OK, my synopsis of this book is terrible because there is so much to this book. I am so thrilled that it won a Printz honor because I think the Printz committee really got it right with Please Ignore Vera Dietz. It has literary merit and I think it has great teen appeal, which don't always combine with award winners.

The story is told in alternating voices as well as timelines. We get the present as well the past so we get to see Vera and Charlie's relationship develop and then fall apart. We get a glimpse into what exactly happened. And it's not just Vera that tells the story-Vera's father, Charlie, and the town Pagoda (yes, a talking Pagoda) all help fill in the story. Vera is a darkly comic narrator and even though she may not think she's cool, I thought she was awesome.

The book is mostly about Vera and Charlie and their friendship, but it also is about Vera's relationship with her father. I love the father/daughter relationship in this book-in some ways it reminded me of Veronica and Keith Mars, one of my all time favorite father/daughter relationships. Vera talks to her dad, but they're not so perfect and she still gets upset with him. But it not just Vera who grows throughout the novel, her father grows as well which I think made the book stand out.

Even though Charlie isn't in the story in present day, we really get to know him through Vera's flashbacks. We see what it was that Vera saw in him and how he broke her heart and tore their friendship apart.

There's a bit of a mystery about what really happened to Charlie and what secrets Vera knows, but the story is more than that and I almost hesitate to even call it a mystery (even though it was nominated for an Edgar Award). This is a story of growing up, moving on and redemption.

Comments

  1. Agreed about the well deserved Printz honor. I was hesitant to pick this up at first, but was in awe of both the depth of characterization and the structure!

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  2. I have this book in the top of my "need to get this one from the library list". I've heard lots of great things about this book and look forward to reading it, especially after your review. :)

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  3. This is sitting on my nightstand (aka my to tackle ASAP pile) - I'm really looking forward to it, especially after reading such an awesome review.

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  4. I've seen this title a lot, but hadn't considered it much before. I'll have to put it on my next library book order!

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  5. I just bought this for my library based on all the great reviews I've seen- and yours reminds me that I really want to read it, too!

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  6. I purchased this a few months ago. I can't wait to read it. I loved Dust of 100 Dogs.

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  7. Really, really enjoyed this book way more than I was expecting to! Love your analogy to Keith and Veronica's relationship. I can so see that. Vera and Ken's relationship was definitely a highlight of the story.

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  8. I have got to get to this one. I have not yet seen it badly reviewed.

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  9. People! Get this book off your nightstand and into your hands!! It is truly great. This story is deep and powerful and conveys an excellent message about speaking up and doing the right thing, even when it is extremely difficult to do so. Vera is a strong and memorable character - read this book!!

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About Me

Hello! My name is Sarah and I am a Youth Services Manager who works with kids, tweens and teens. I love being asked about great books to read! I started my blog in 2008 as a way to keep track of what I've been reading and to use a reference tool for reader's advisory and it's grown into much more than I could have ever anticipated. In addition to book reviews, I also enjoy posting audiobook reviews, booklists and my adventures in being a librarian. 2017 Library Journal Mover and Shaker Committees: 2021 Newbery Committee 2018 Odyssey Committee 2016 Caldecott Award 2013 Michael L. Printz Committee- Fabulous Films Committee I have also served on the Cybils, Missouri State Library Association Readers Selection Lists, and as an Audies judge. Presentations :  I have offered various presentations at local, state and national libraries and conferences. Topics have included:  What's New in Children's & Teen Literature Engaging Teens in Reader's Advisory Gee