Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Please Ignore Vera Dietz

King, A. S. 2010. PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ. New York: Random House. ISBN 9780375865862 [Suggested Grade Levels 9-12]

Vera is an 18 year old girl who is damaged and heartbroken. Her lifelong friend Charlie has died and she is still mad at him for betraying and abandoning her. She is haunted by hundreds of his ghosts and the void he has left in her life. Dark and gritty, the book is about many things, but mostly it is about how people can fail you, but still be the person you need and miss the most when they are gone.

Debut author A.S. King tells this moving, but never saccharine story from Vera’s point of view, with occasional cameo chapters told by her father, the dead boy, Charlie, and the town’s folly, a large Pagoda that sits at the town’s highest point, all seeing and all knowing. King uses short sentences that hit the reader like sharp jabs, leaving lasting bruises and aches. Short chapters propel the story both forward and backward via flashbacks, but always at a brisk pace that brings the book to an end all too soon. King has created remarkably realistic, flawed characters that will stay with the reader long after they put the book down. Ideal for older young adults: contains sex, drugs, some rock and roll and hard decisions.

PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ can be used as a vehicle for launching a discussion on self destructive behaviors and the difficult road back from bad decisions.

Other books about coping with a friend’s death:
Asher, Jay. 13 REASONS WHY. ISBN 9781595141712
Green, John. LOOKING FOR ALASKA. ISBN 9780142412213

By Marianne Follis

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