|Please Ignore Vera Dietz
3.5 / 5
"The pastor is saying something about how Charlie was a free spirit. He was and he wasn't."
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.
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?
Edgy and gripping, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is an unforgettable novel: smart, funny, dramatic, and always surprising.
This was my second experience with this author, and I am glad I gave her another shot. My first was I Crawl Through It, which I REALLY wanted to like, but just could NOT get into. This one, however, felt more real to me, which perhaps contributed to why I enjoyed it more. I could identify with Vera, a teenage girl who feels a bit adrift. Vera is coping with the recent loss of her best friend (and secret love) on top of she and her father having been abandoned by her mother a few years back. She kind of coasts through school (it doesn't play a big role in her life), and most of her story is centered around her job at the local pizza delivery joint, the town's notable Pagoda, and the hiking trails near her house. While she navigates these places, she also slowly unravels the mystery of her best friend's death, and learns how to come to terms with the loss. Vera was a unique and memorable character who definitely marched to the beat of her own drum, and I liked that about her, particularly in a YA protagonist. She was smart and witty and did her own thing, others be damned. (Which, admittedly, sometimes wasn't the best idea. But still.)
I did particularly enjoy how Vera's and her father's relationship developed over the course of the book. Neither had dealt very much (at all?) with the leaving of Mrs. Dietz, and their small family was strained because of this. Charlie's death - a second loss - pushed them to acknowledge that they needed to figure out how to be a family in this new landscape. It felt very believable.
This book was part of one of the Quarterly boxes that Book Riot sent out before I put my subscription on hold. I don't know if I would have sought it out otherwise, but I'd been meaning to get to it since it arrived in my mailbox. It was an enjoyable weekend read.
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