Rummanah Aasi
Please Ignore Vera Dietz was on my reading radar for quite sometime. The book has received several glowing reviews both in journals as well on the blogosphere. I bumped it up from my "to be read" pile when it was declared a Printz award honoree this year.


Description: Vera and Charlie have been best friends since they were toddlers. Like many, their friendship was tested and torn apart  by high school and hormones. When Vera's and Charlie's senior year rolls around, the once attached to the hip relationship is now estranged. Charlie has suddenly died under mysterious circumstances and now haunts Vera after his death. he begs her to clear his name of a horrible accusation surrounding his death. Vera knows the truth, but is she willing to help help him after he betrayed her?


Review: Please Ignore Vera Dietz shows us the dangers of an angsty teen gone awry but it is ultimately a redemptive story. Vera has followed the mantra of her thrifty father: 'Ignore the situation and it will go away'. She tries to live her life without being noticed and keeps her family life private. The only person she let in is Charlie, her childhood best friend and neighbor who has problems of his own. When Charlie betrays Vera, her anonymity is dissolved and it becomes impossible to fend off her classmates’ cruel attacks or isolate herself any longer.
  Vera’s struggle to put Charlie and his besmirched name behind her is the central focus of the book. Vera is constantly struggling to fit her predetermined destiny that of her parents, which is expertly shown in the constant battles between Vera and her father. The character growth of Vera and her father is complex, excellent, and nuanced. Chapters titled "A Brief Word from Ken Dietz (Vera's Dad)" were my favorites. These chapters allow the reader to observe how Vera's destructive actions are making her worse. Ken has been down the same road as Vera and tries everything that he can to prevent her from making the same mistakes.
  The only character that I had trouble with is Charlie. Charlie didn't appeal to me and it made me wonder what Vera saw in him. Like Vera, Charlie also has his share of family problems that trigger his own destructive behavior. Readers are given the details of Charlie's death and his relationship with Vera in flashbacks. He is easily used as a harbinger of Vera's future if she continues in her current path.
 There are many issues presented in Please Ignore Vera Dietz, however, many of them are inferred in the story which makes them hard to, well, ignore. I have a slight problem with how some of the issues are so easily taken care of, which I found to be unrealistic, but it didn't harm my enjoyment of reading the book. Please Ignore Vera Dietz is about redemption and getting another chance to make life better.


Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong language, several scenes of underage drinking and drug use. There is also an allusion to sex. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Undone by Brooke Taylor, 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Looking for Alaska by John Green
6 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    Beautiful review Rummanah, I've heard really great things about this book. I love the sound of Vera and her Dad, it's nice he's such a central part of the story instead of a ghost of a parent like in so many YA books:)


  2. I've heard stellar reviews on this one, so it's nice to see an a very well-rounded one. It irritates me to no end when 'issues' are inferred rather than confronted - it might be unfair, but I hate when they are tied up too nice and easy - it's the same issue I had with The DUFF. Thanks for the honest review - haven't read this one, and I still may - really liked your review!

    -Linds


  3. Jenny: Thank you! :) Yes, the growth of Vera and her father's relationship is really well done in the book.

    Linds: Thanks! :) I had the same issue with "The Duff" too. I think Vera tackles a lot of the major issues discussed in the book but others that are central to Charlie's character are kinda glossed over. It's definitely worth picking up.


  4. Alison Says:

    The pagoda chapters were my fav :-) I loved the presence of dad and his charts too.
    I see what you're saying about Charlie. Maybe it's one of those situations where you've been friends your whole life and you just don't see some of the flaws that grow as you get older.


  5. Alison: I loved Ken's charts as well as the side notes of "The Dead Guy". There's a lot of deadpan humor in the book. I understand your pov about Charlie's and Vera's relationship too. They were very attached from the get-go.


  6. I have read lots of positive reviews for this book. I think I need to read this. Great review again :)


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