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Please Ignore Vera Dietz Hardcover – October 12, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 133 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up–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).–Diane P. Tuccillo, Poudre River Public Library District, Fort Collins, CO. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* High-school senior Vera never expects her ex-best friend, Charlie, to haunt her after he dies and beg her to clear his name of a horrible accusation surrounding his death. But does Vera want to help him after what he did to her? Charlie’s risky, compulsive behavior and brand-new bad-news pals proved to be his undoing, while Vera’s mantra was always Please Ignore Vera Dietz, as she strives, with Charlie’s help, to maintain a low profile and keep her family life private. But after Charlie betrayed her, it became 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 are at the crux of this witty, thought-provoking novel, but most memorable is the gorgeous unfurling of Vera’s relationship with her father. Chapters titled A Brief Word from Ken Dietz (Vera’s Dad) are surprising, heartfelt, and tragic; it’s through Ken that readers see how quickly alcohol and compromised decision making are destroying Vera’s carefully constructed existence. Father and daughter wade gingerly through long-concealed emotions about Vera’s mother’s leaving the family, creating the most powerful redemption story of the many found in King’s arresting tale. Although King’s characters turn into the people they’ve long fought to avoid becoming, they ultimately rise above their challenges, reflect, and move on. A worthy, well-crafted addition to any YA collection. Grades 10-12. --Courtney Jones
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Product Details

  • Series: AWARDS: ALA: Youth Media Award Winners 2011
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (October 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375865861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375865862
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #944,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I'll keep this short.

I'm a middle-aged man who gave up on YA literature when he was a YA. Which was a long, long time ago.

But PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ is the real deal. No glittery vampires. No baloney. Just real, live people with real, live problems. Like the ones I had when I was a YA myself. And like the ones you might have right now.

It's a book with heart, a book with soul.

It's a book that will endure.

Buy a copy right this minute, and help make sure that that happens.
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Format: Hardcover
Vera Dietz has spent her entire life putting out "please ignore Vera Dietz" signals and wrestling with what she believes is her fate to end up exactly like her parents--an alcoholic stripper. When her best friend since childhood, Charlie Kahn, dies unexpectedly, Vera knows how to clear his name of the crime associated with his death, but she's stuck. Still mad at him for betraying her months earlier, she stays quiet, trying to deal with his death, her resentment towards him, and her own fate.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz is a powerful, tragic, and surprisingly poignant book. The majority of the book is narrated by Vera, who is a real, flawed, and darkly humorous character with a voice that demands to be listened to. Her narrative alternates between the past and present, and every so often a chapter from the point of view of Charlie, Vera's father, or even the pagoda in their hometown shows up in surprisingly refreshing interludes. King provides an excellent balance between all of these points of view, and the different perspectives give this book another interesting layer as readers can see firsthand the troubles Vera's father faced in his life and the mistakes he doesn't want his daughter to repeat, and Charlie's own regrets. The issue of children "fated" to become their parents is dealt with well, and King realistically portrays the conflicts and temptations that Vera faces without sugarcoating anything. Please Ignore Vera Dietz is as much about Vera's struggle to forgive Charlie as it is about her reconciling her feelings about her mother's abandonment and finally opening up to her father. This is an unforgettable book about mistakes, second chances, redemption, and becoming your own person--please don't ignore Vera Dietz.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Please Ignore Vera Dietz is the second Printz Award honor book I've read, and it's the second that is a) beautifully written b) moves at a slow pace c) has an rather unsatisfying conclusion. I won't wax on and on about the book, as there are plenty of great reviewers making their comments, but I felt like posting because I was so utterly disappointed in the ending of this book. I won't give it away, but when a book, from its first chapter on, foretells of some great secret, the reader expects something earth-shattering, nausea-inducing, tears-in-eyes moment. There should be some type of a major emotional reaction. And well, there was none. The book was like a roller coaster that kept clicking up the hill, but then the hill flattens out and the ride if over.

My other major qualms with this book, were the characters felt like YA archetypes, and the rather boring plot. Charlie, The kid whose dad is abusive and does drugs. Vera, The girl who is seemingly apathetic about everything except for a troubled boy who gives her few reasons to love him. I'm not completely sure that any character felt unique. Maybe that's just a writer who understands she has to check certain boxes off when she creates characters. I'm not sure. But the most compelling character was Vera's dad, who seemed to give a damn about fixing his life and trying his best to deal with his situation. Vera wallows in her own misery, and suddenly rises like a phoenix for no reason at all, except to suddenly end a rather mundane narrative of pizza deliveries, pointless flashbacks, and interludes from a dead character.

Again, I had no issue with the writing. A.S. King is obviously exceptional in that regard. But it just felt like one long episode of an MTV teen drama. So many YA books deal with death and loss.
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Format: Hardcover
I don't even know where to begin. Have you ever read a book that completely blew you away, but you knew you would never be able to put it into words? That's what this book did to me. I will never be able to do it justice with my measly little review. The entire time I was reading it I was trying to come up with words to use in my review, but I never had any! So what to say, what to say?...

Did you read The Dust of 100 Dogs? If you didn't, drop everything you are doing right now and go buy it! It was incredible. You have never read anything like it before, trust me! How does an author write a follow up that lives up to the extremely high expectations set by 100 Dogs? We should ask A.S. King, because she definitely did it.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz is about Vera Dietz, obviously. She's a little odd, but in a good way. She's dealing with the death of her ex-best friend, Charlie. She loved him. She hated him. She knows what happened the night he died, but can she find it in her to forgive him and clear his name?

Vera was such a fantastic protagonist! She was witty and smart, but she still did dumb things. She is a teenager so she is allowed a few dumb things. I connected with her instantly. My heart broke for her but she was unbelievable strong. She definitely held her own.
Her best friend Charlie is dead from the very beginning of the book, but you get glimpses of their relationship in the History chapters. I loved Charlie, and hated him. Just like Vera did. I wanted things to turn out differently for them, but obviously it couldn't because he was dead from page 1!

What makes this book so special? The writing! A.S. King has a way of telling you a story that will make you turn pages faster than you ever have before.
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