Friday, November 26, 2010

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

Vera Dietz is beside herself when her estranged best friend Charlie dies before they have a chance to make amends. Now she has a difficult decision to make: does she clear his name of a crime that people think he committed or does she allow her own anger and fear to keep her silent?

Describing the plot of this story is very simple. Describing the emotional impact this story will have on you once you read it is more difficult. Vera immediately draws you in with her story. When you're first introduced to her, you make a judgment about her: that she doesn't care about school and that she's turning into an alcoholic.

This judgment begins to fall apart once you continue reading and realize that despite working a full-time job, she gets straight A's in school, enjoys doing her homework, and is only drinking to numb the pain from her best friend's death.

There are no flowery descriptions or poetic passages in this book. The writing itself does not sustain the story. What keeps you reading is the author's ability to put personality and heart into a character. Vera feels like a real person. You want to be friends with her. You want to give her a hug when and then smack her upside the head for some of the decisions she makes.

Rife with symbolism, this book is the antidote for high school teachers to put away some of those dusty classics and try something fresh that today's students will be able to relate to. YA lit today has just as many lessons and talking points as classical literature - if not more.

My only frustration with the book is that one very important part of the story was left unresolved at the end and it was a part that I REALLY wanted to know what happened. But I continue to remind myself that not all books have to end neatly. All in all this is a very satisfying read and one of the most memorable of 2010.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
Pages: 326
Published: October 2010 by Knopf
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Audience: YA

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