My friend Sarah did a brief review of Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King way back in 2011 when it was a Printz Honor book. You can read her review here.
I had read the beginning of this book way back then, but I don't remember ever finishing it. I decided to pick it up again when I was recently at the library b/c I couldn't remember anything about it.
Apparently there was a reason I never finished it.
I give Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King only 2.5 out of 5 stars. I personally thought the development of the story was slow and Vera, the main character, just didn't grow or do much for the first two-thirds of the book. She actually annoyed me far too often.
Overall, the story was okay, but it was not stellar. At times I enjoyed the different perspectives/narratives from "The Dead Kid" and her father. I
I was also intrigued to find out what happened to Charlie, and I thought there was a few good aspects and lessons given by her father.
As far as content was concerned this book wasn't dirty just to be dirty, but it was far from being clean. There was a lot of language, underage drinking, drug use, and sex. Since the content was mature and the story was less than spectacular I don't think I would recommend this book to high school students or anyone really. However, those boys and girls that like edgy books about some real life situations may enjoy this story.
To be honest, I did say there were a few good things I liked. Near the beginning of the book the reader gets Vera's father's perspective. He stated that he didn't have a dad, and so he had no one to look for as an example. Therefore, he was winging it. I think a lot of people find themselves in that same situation.
I do appreciate this wise and valid statement Vera's father later makes. "I'm giving her a chance to evade her destiny. The trick is remembering that change is as easy as you make it. The trick is remembering that you are the boss of you."
I think that statement has a lot of value.
All in all, I didn't find Please Ignore Vera Dietz to be that fabulous of a novel. However, looking at some of the ratings on Goodreads and Amazon there are plenty of people that enjoyed it. Maybe I'm the odd man out.
Amazon had the following book review:
"Vera Dietz and her troubled neighbor, Charlie, were best friends since childhood until they started to fall for one another junior year and everything broke apart. Evil Jenny Flick decides that she wants Charlie and that Vera is in the way. When Jenny offers Charlie oral sex and he refuses, she broadcasts his secret about his father's domestic abuse to the whole school and blames Vera. In “retaliation,” Charlie reveals the fact that Vera's mother was a stripper before she deserted the family and then starts a perilous relationship with Jenny. In chapters that alternate scenes in the present with “history,” plus various points of view, Vera's story begins at Charlie's funeral where she hides the truth about Jenny's part in his death. It seesaws through her full-time job delivering pizzas while maintaining “A” grades, her upsetting relationship with Charlie, her conflicts with Jenny as well as her father, her romance with a 23-year-old coworker, and other complications. This oddly compelling page-turner is unfortunately rather flawed. When circumstances call for Vera to end her heavy drinking, she surprisingly just stops. Charlie's ghostly presence manifests itself through hard-to-imagine replications. The perspectives of Vera's father, dead Charlie, and the pagoda atop the town (yes, the pagoda speaks) minimally click. Vera's father's “flow charts” about dealing with life circumstances seem out of place. Yet, Vera is a strong character whom readers will root for throughout her ups and downs. Ultimately, this will be read by teens who like edgy contemporary books dealing with untimely teen death, such as Brooke Taylor's Undone (Walker, 2008) or Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why (Razorbill, 2007)."
Did anyone else read Please Ignore Vera Dietz. What did you think? Am I completely irrational with my review?