Thursday, March 24, 2011

Review: Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King

Pages: 336
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books
Published: October 12th, 2010
IBSN: 9780375865862

Vera's spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she's kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.

So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?

[Synopsis by Goodreads]

I never would have heard of Please Ignore Vera Dietz if it weren't a Printz honor book. I think I've said this before, but I've loved every single Printz award winner that I've ever read, and Please Ignore Vera Dietz was no different.

The story came from different perspectives, mostly from Vera's, but with interjected "brief words from the dead kid", "brief words from Ken Dietz", and "brief words from the Pagoda". These intermissions help set the wry tone of the story.

Vera was a dynamic character, who was enjoyable to read about. She's smart, hardworking, sarcastic, and has character flaws that make her seem real. She visibly develops over the course of the novel.

The plot was ordered in such a way as to build tension. The occasional chapter takes a break from telling Vera's present tense story, and goes back into her history. Secrets are revealed gradually, building up suspense to the point near the end where the flashbacks catch up to the present.

Though clearing his name/grieving Charlie is the main plot, Vera's developing relationship with her dad was the best part, to me. Their dynamic is certainly unconventional, but it makes sense, given their past.

The writing style was humorous, dark, and at times, heart-wrenching. The writing really brought out Vera's voice, and I felt completely sympathetic to her.

I give Please Ignore Vera Dietz a 5 out of 5, and Please Ignore Vera Dietz gave me a new appreciation for flow charts.