Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
Knopf Books for Young Readers, October 2010Summary from Goodreads:
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.Vera Dietz has spent her life flying under the radar, desperate to complete high school as an unknown. Her best friend Charlie was the keeper of her secrets, and she of his, until they slowly drifted apart. Now Charlie is dead and Vera knows she must reveal his secrets.
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?
This was a powerful story. It wasn't a true love story, although it's obvious to readers that while Charlie loved Vera and Vera loved Charlie, neither knew how the other really felt. Knowing that that love existed and was lost before it could be explored is always a sad and intriguing story. The back and forth between past and present was most helpful for readers to truly appreciate their friendship, and grieve when it takes an irrevocable turn for the worse.
I thought the characters were drawn very well. Vera was particularly interesting, even as she spent her life trying to be the opposite. She's smart and witty and teenage me would've really enjoyed her company. The amount of patience she showed with her recovering alchoholic and frugal-to-the-point-of-being-cheap father was astounding. It's nice to see a parent with faults who still loves their child unconditionally. It's something I don't recall seeing a lot lately but it's honest and true.
Fans of realistic, contemporary fiction will certainly enjoy this novel, and Charlie and Vera's story will linger in their thoughts long after the book is finished.
Borrowed from the library.
Enjoy your reading!