Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King (October 12th, 2010):
This is me using spectacular in a sentence. I actually finished reading Please Ignore Vera Dietz a while ago, but it's one of those books that says with you long after the last page has been turned. It's kind of quirky and the characters are interesting and quite memorable. I would recommend Vera to fans of John Green (Paper Towns, Looking For Alaska), it's that same kind of book, but A.S. King has a unique style that is definitely all her own. I love how the story is told, alternating between characters and well, inanimate objects, as the past and present collide to form a full picture. The story takes place in a fictionalized Reading, PA and pieces of the story are revealed through the eyes of a Pagoda, much like the actual one that resides in the real Reading. Recently, the movie "The Last Airbender" was filmed there.
If this is sounding curiouser and curiouser, well, good. I hope I've sparked your interest enough for you to take a journey with a girl who wants to be ignored, her dead best friend, a despondent dad, a few pizzas, the detentionheads and an overly friendly nazi.
Vera Dietz has always been in love with her best friend, Charlie. They have been inseparable since they were children and she knows all of his deep, dark secrets. She knows about his family and their issues, which terrify her, but she could never betray him and let anyone know about what happens behind closed doors in is home. Charlie has more than one secret, but Vera has one really big one. Her mother left her and her father years ago for less than honorable reasons. Because of this, Vera has done her best to keep a low profile, to not be noticed. There is only one person who she wants to notice her, and that is Charlie, but lately, they have been drifting apart. Charlie is cool. Way cooler than Vera, and she knows it. He's been hanging out with the detentionheads more often, and what's worse, he's been hanging all over Jenny Flick, Vera's arch enemy and most frequent tormentor. His new friends have even caused Charlie to do the unthinkable. He betrayed Vera's trust.
Sadly, this is all in the past. Charlie is dead. Everyone thinks that he's guilty of a horrible crime and the circumstances surrounding his death are very strange, indeed. Vera is keeping one last secret of his, and that secret is the truth about what really happened the night that he died. She is tormented by this knowledge, but her anger for what Charlie did to her is holding her back from doing what she knows is right. So instead of telling the truth, she moves on with her very peculiar life, doing her best to disappear into the background scenery. Unfortunately, it seems that no matter what she does will erase the past. It also seems impossible to take the first steps needed to move towards the future. She can't forget Charlie, but in order to clear his name she'll have to forgive him. While she's at it, she's going to have to forgive herself and grow up a lot. His secrets are hers to keep, but only the truth will set her free.
The mystery of Charlie's death and the events that lead up to it unfold like an origami crane. You know what it looked like finished and are amazed with the removal of each fold that made it that way. In the beginning it was only a piece of paper and it eventually became something so intricately constructed. This is a story that will leave you feeling a little bit sad. It will make you laugh, leave you thinking, surprise you and even make you feel a little bit liberated. If you are looking for an intelligent, edgy and unusual book, I highly recommend Please Ignore Vera Dietz.
*for older teens.
I can't really explain why I'm choosing this song to go with Vera, except that it just feels right. Enjoy the music, "Free" by Phish.