Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A.S. King's Please Ignore Vera Dietz Refuses to Lay Low

I finished A.S. King's Please Ignore Vera Dietz a couple of weeks ago, and two things kept me from telling you about it sooner: 1) I had other reviews previously scheduled to post, and 2) I don't know that I can adequately describe the book and do it the justice it deserves. So I am doing a Bookmarks kind of review and posting quotes from other reviewers' thoughts on this (amazing, breath-taking, quirky, unique) novel.

First, a brief summary from the author's website:
---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?
Eighteen-year-old 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, or even the police. But will she emerge and clear his name? Does she even want to?
Please Ignore Vera Dietz is the story of Vera and Charlie's friendship, and  Charlie's death. But it also covers so much more than that. It is a coming-of-age novel of sorts. King shows readers both Vera's present-day, 18-year-old self, but also a Vera from many different ages starting with 12 and falling everywhere in between then and now.

From author Sara J. Henry's blog Sara in Vermont, "Please Ignore Vera Dietz -- But I Can't":
"[Please Ignore Vera Dietz] is being marketed as YA, but ignore that. This is a book for anyone who was ever 17 or 18 and didn't really fit in anywhere. It's a book for anyone who has loved with all their being and watched the person become someone they can't be with, and has endured the pain of being shut out. It's a book for anyone who's had a parent who had no idea what they were about or who abandoned them or who was never quite there in the first place.

And it's a book for anyone who wants to believe we can pretty much survive whatever life passes to us and that we can all find our place in the world."
From Rebecca Joines Schinsky's blog The Book Lady's Blog, "Vera Dietz: Not to be Ignored":
"The business of evading her destiny is a full-time job—in addition to her real full-time gig delivering pizza, in addition to going to school—and to top it off, Vera is also contending with the thousand Charlies she has begun seeing when she least wants to be thinking about her dead friend.

Vera narrates the story in first-person present, switching to past tense for “history” chapters that illuminate her past and how exactly things got to where they are now. . . . She’s snarky and a little bit sassy, and I totally loved her for it.

Vera’s narrative is broken up by short interjections from her father. . , Charlie (whose sections are titled “A Brief Word from the Dead Kid”), and even the gaudy pagoda that serves as the local make-out spot-slash-secret drinking place. These intrusions . . . give the narrative added depth and interest."
From Jenn's Bookshelves:
"It is brutally honest, a book that must be read. Teens should read it so they can see the feelings they have of loneliness & despair aren’t unique unto them.  Adults should read it because, despite her age, we could all learn a little from Vera Deitz."
From Beth Fish Reads:
"Once you start reading this sassy, funny, touching novel, you won't be able to stop."
Please Ignore Vera Dietz is the little-novel-that-could. Despite initially not being picked up by national bookselling chains (although a quick search shows that to be changed now), King's novel has gone on to garner much acclaim. It was picked for IndieBound's Next List, nominated for an Edgar award, and was named an ALA Printz Honor book, in addition to landing on several other great book lists.

King offers an excerpt from the novel's first chapter on her website. I highly recommend you read it, so that you can see for yourself what an exceptional book Please Ignore Vera Dietz is. Also, King writes the very-funny blog Here's Me Using Blog in a Sentence (which is a reference to Vera's vocab class assignments). I listened to the novel via Audible for iPod, which was an exceptional way to be exposed to this book.

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