Rating: 5/5 Stars
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.