Please Ignore Vera Dietz

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Overview

A 2011 Michael L. Printz Honor Book

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 ...

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Overview

A 2011 Michael L. Printz Honor Book

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Beginning with the funeral of Charlie Kahn, high school senior Vera's neighbor and former best friend, this chilling and darkly comedic novel offers a gradual unfolding of secrets about the troubled teenagers, their families, and their town. Though Charlie's death hangs heavily over Vera, she has the road ahead mapped out: pay her way through community college with her job delivering pizza while living "cheap" in her father's house. But first she has to face her fractured relationship with her father, a recovering alcoholic who worries about her drinking; the absence of her mother, who left six years earlier; and the knowledge that she could clear Charlie's suspected guilt in a crime. Vera is the primary narrator, though her father, Charlie (posthumously), and even the town's landmark pagoda contribute interludes as King (The Dust of 100 Dogs) shows how shame and silence can have risky--sometimes deadly--consequences. The book is deeply suspenseful and profoundly human as Vera, haunted by memories of Charlie and how their friendship disintegrated, struggles to find the courage to combat destructive forces, save herself, and bring justice to light. Ages 13–up. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
Vera Dietz is every teenager, yet she is uniquely herself. The abandoned daughter of a runaway mother, Vera lives with her accountant father who is himself a study in contradictions. An accountant who spouts Zen platitudes, he parents Vera with the firm conviction that steering her away from the pitfalls that tripped him up as a teenager is the only way to save her from herself. Yet, he also shoves her out of the nest and into the adult world of work early in her teen years. Vera rebels against the strict rules and constant warnings. Told not to drink, she becomes a binge drinker. Told not to befriend Charlie Kahn, she falls in love with him only to lose him to the more promiscuous and psychotic Jenny. In alternating voices and viewpoints, the story reveals Charlie and Vera's relationship and Vera and her father's relationship, Vera and her mother's antagonism, and the intermittent voice of Charlie, dead and begging for vindication for the incidents surrounding his death. The plot is complex and the characters are intricate, many-faceted and tragically, humanly flawed. In many ways, this is a psychological thriller as Vera's inner torments play out in dreams and hallucinations of Charlie. Her eventual understanding that her father is actually in her corner is a dawning of maturity, yet she teaches him, as well, that he cannot turn his back on the abuse and dysfunction that produced Charlie's emotional wounds. This is a book for mature teens as there are discussions of pornography and fetishism, but given the right reader, this is a page-turner to be savored and discussed. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
VOYA - Laura Lehner
Vera Dietz likes flying under the radar. She is a straight-A student, works full-time as a pizza delivery technician, and, as a high school senior, doesn't have much of a social life. She's also an alcoholic who keeps a bottle of vodka under the seat of her car. When her neighbor and former best friend, Charlie, dies, Vera is torn between her profound grief and her anger at Charlie for having coldly betrayed her six months earlier. Only she can clear his name from a crime he was supposed to have committed, and this is her conflict — to exonerate the boy who hurt her so deeply, or to let people believe he was capable of unthinkable brutality. It is hard to describe how deeply affecting this story is. Vera and Charlie are both the victims of extremely bad parenting, but that only scratches the surface of the novel. The writing is phenomenal, the characters unforgettable. The narrative weaves through the past and present, mostly from Vera's viewpoint but with telling asides from other characters. There is so much in here for young people to think about, presented authentically and without filters: drinking and its consequences; the social hierarchy of high school; civic responsibilities; and teens' decisions to accept or reject what their parents pass down to them. It is a gut-wrenching tale about family, friendship, destiny, the meaning of words, and self-discovery. It will glow in the reader for a long time after the reading, just like the neon red pagoda that watches over Vera and her world. Reviewer: Laura Lehner
Kirkus Reviews
A harrowing but ultimately redemptive tale of adolescent angst gone awry. Vera and Charlie are lifelong buddies whose relationship is sundered by high school and hormones; by the start of their senior year, the once-inseparable pair is estranged. In the aftermath of Charlie's sudden death, Vera is set adrift by grief, guilt and the uncomfortable realization that the people closest to her are still, in crucial ways, strangers. As with King's first novel, The Dust of 100 Dogs (2009), this is chilling and challenging stuff, but her prose here is richly detailed and wryly observant. The story unfolds through authentic dialogue and a nonlinear narrative that shifts fluidly among Vera's present perspective, flashbacks that illuminate the tragedies she's endured, brief and often humorous interpolations from "the dead kid," Vera's father and even the hilltop pagoda that overlooks their dead-end Pennsylvania town. The author depicts the journey to overcome a legacy of poverty, violence, addiction and ignorance as an arduous one, but Vera's path glimmers with grace and hope. (Fiction. 14 & up)
From the Publisher
Kirkus Reviews, starred review, September 15, 2010:
"A harrowing but ultimately redemptive tale of adolescent angst gone awry. Vera and Charlie are lifelong buddies whose relationship is sundered by high school and hormones; by the start of their senior year, the once-inseparable pair is estranged. In the aftermath of Charlie’s sudden death, Vera is set adrift by grief, guilt and the uncomfortable realization that the people closest to her are still, in crucial ways, strangers. As with King’s first novel, The Dust of 100 Dogs (2009), this is chilling and challenging stuff, but her prose here is richly detailed and wryly observant. The story unfolds through authentic dialogue and a nonlinear narrative that shifts fluidly among Vera’s present perspective, flashbacks that illuminate the tragedies she’s endured, brief and often humorous interpolations from “the dead kid,” Vera’s father and even the hilltop pagoda that overlooks their dead-end Pennsylvania town. The author depicts the journey to overcome a legacy of poverty, violence, addiction and ignorance as an arduous one, but Vera’s path glimmers with grace and hope." (Fiction. 14 & up)

Publishers Weekly, starred review, October 11, 2010:
"Beginning with the funeral of Charlie Kahn, high school senior Vera's neighbor and former best friend, this chilling and darkly comedic novel offers a gradual unfolding of secrets about the troubled teenagers, their families, and their town. Though Charlie's death hangs heavily over Vera, she has the road ahead mapped out: pay her way through community college with her job delivering pizza while living "cheap" in her father's house. But first she has to face her fractured relationship with her father, a recovering alcoholic who worries about her drinking; the absence of her mother, who left six years earlier; and the knowledge that she could clear Charlie's suspected guilt in a crime. Vera is the primary narrator, though her father, Charlie (posthumously), and even the town's landmark pagoda contribute interludes as King (The Dust of 100 Dogs) shows how shame and silence can have risky—sometimes deadly—consequences. The book is deeply suspenseful and profoundly human as Vera, haunted by memories of Charlie and how their friendship disintegrated, struggles to find the courage to combat destructive forces, save herself, and bring justice to light." Ages 13–up. (Oct.)

Booklist, starred review, November 15, 2010:
"High-school senior Vera never expects her ex-best friend, Charlie, to haunt her after he dies, begging 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 keep a secret about her family private. But when Charlie betrays her, it is 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 nothing compares to 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, which proves to be the most powerful redemption story of the many found in King’s arresting tale. Watching characters turn into the people they’ve long fought to avoid becoming is painful, but seeing them rise above it, reflect, and move on makes this title a worthy addition to any YA collection."

The Bulletin of the Center for Childrens Books, review, November 2010:
"The death of a best friend is hard enough, but for high-school senior Vera Dietz, her reaction to the death of Charlie Kahn is complicated by the fact that in the last few months he’d dumped her for the druggie pack at school, especially tough-girl Jenny. Flashbacks and compact commentary from Charlie himself, from Vera’s straitlaced dad, and from an omniscient local landmark interweave with Vera’s current narration, painting the picture of Vera and Charlie’s close friendship and its recent souring and revealing that Vera is the guilty and troubled possessor of many secrets about her late friend. King offers a perceptive exploration of a particular kind of friendship, one where one friend is undergoing agonies beyond the power of the other to help. Vera’s own troubles—her abandonment by her mother, the strictness and emotional evasion of her recovering-alcoholic father—get sympathetic treatment, but it’s clear that Vera is loved and cared for in a way that Charlie, stuck in a poisonous, abusive home, simply wasn’t. Yet it’s Vera’s life even more than Charlie’s that’s under scrutiny here, especially since Vera still has the possibility of making changes, both in her dealing with Charlie’s memory and in her ongoing relationships. The writing is emotional yet unfussy, and Vera’s tendency to see and perceive Charlie in every place and every thing is both effective and affecting. It’s not uncommon for the dysfunction in one friend’s life to start sowing seeds of doom for a friendship, and Vera’s poignant take on her double loss will resonate with many readers."

VOYA, review, November 2010:
"It is hard to describe how deeply affecting this story is. Vera and Charlie are both the victims of extremely bad parenting, but that only scratches the surface of the novel. The writing is phenomenal, the characters unforgettable. The narrative weaves through the past and present, mostly from Vera's viewpoint but with telling asides from other characters. There is so much in here for young people to think about, presented authentically and without filters: drinking and its consequences; the social hierarchy of high school; civic responsibilities; and teens' decisions to accept or reject what their parents pass down to them. It is a gut-wrenching tale about family, friendship, destiny, the meaning of words, and self-discovery. It will glow in the reader for a long time after the reading, just like the neon red pagoda that watches over Vera and her world." 

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—A. S. King's 2011 Printz Honor book (Knopf, 2010) is expertly crafted and richly performed primarily by Lynde Houck with additional chapter perspectives narrated by Mark Deakins, Ryan Gesell, and Arthur Morey. Vera Dietz, a high school senior, knows what happened to her best friend, Charlie, the night he died. But she's not ready to face the truth while she's still dealing with the scars from Charlie's betrayal. As Vera tries to move on, she is haunted by varying numbers of ghostly Charlies that she sees, hears, and feels. Charlie wants Vera to tell the truth, clear his name, and forgive him. With chapters reflecting the perspectives of Vera's father, Charlie, and the town's landmark Pagoda, listeners are afforded a more complete picture of the situation than Vera has. As the heartbreaking reality is revealed, listeners will feel Vera's emotions as her perspective begins to subtly change and she moves through the anger, the betrayal, and the guilt. The performers are realistic in their portrayals, audibly exposing each character's vulnerabilities. Listeners will feel the weight being lifted off of Vera's shoulders and her heart in this moving, poignant story that shows how deeply people can both love and hurt each other and ultimately find a level of redemption.—Stephanie A. Squicciarini, Fairport Public Library, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375865862
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 10/12/2010
  • Pages: 336
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 830L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet the Author

A.S. King is the award-winning author of young adult books including Reality Boy, Ask the Passengers, Everybody Sees the Ants, and The Dust of 100 Dogs. She has visited hundreds of schools to talk about empowerment, self-reliance and self-awareness. Find more at www.as-king.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 61 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(34)

4 Star

(17)

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(6)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 61 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 26, 2011

    Impossible to Ignore

    I couldn't put this book down! I just had to know what happened! There was never a dull moment, and the beginning is so captivating. Please Ignore Vera Dietz is easily, one of the best books I've ever read in this genre. This book is edgy, witty, and the characters are awesome.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2013

    While I enjoyed the mystery behind this novel very much, I was l

    While I enjoyed the mystery behind this novel very much, I was less than pleased with the ending. King presents readers with the story of Vera and Charlie, two childhood friends who drift apart due to many different circumstances, but the main one, according to Vera, is his new set of friends and their drugs/alcohol. But there are so many different sides to Charlie and his life that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what is it, and when he dies, there is much speculation. According to Vera, she knows the truth; she knows why Charlie died, what he was responsible for, and what others were responsible for. However, by the end, I felt it was still all a bit unclear.

    I really enjoyed Vera’s voice, but I still feel like I don’t know anything, and I’m not really sure that the story itself made much sense. I lost all respect for Charlie as the story went on—he’s a real jerk—and I just can’t get over the end, which isn’t an end at all. Charlie is dead, but why? We’re given an idea of what might have happened, but I’m not sure I believe it, and therefore, everything is still up in the air in my mind, which is unfortunate because the whole reason I picked up this novel was due to the mystery. I wanted to know what happened to Charlie. Now, while I enjoyed the novel overall, Charlie’s character, his actions, and that of his friends, really left me with a sour taste in my mouth, which is fine, but it was the lack of a conclusion that really made me lose much of my gumption over the story. Maybe I missed some vital sentence somewhere that spelled it out for me, but since Vera claims to know the truth, I really expected the truth, and not just another speculation.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2012

    Awesome!

    I havent goin the book on the nook but i'm reading it rite now and it has good spunk and i'm crazy hooked



    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2011

    A Great Book!

    I read this when I checked it out from my school's library. It got off to a somewhat slow start, and it took me a while to get into it. Usually, I can read an entire book at school in a week, this one took me two or three. I really liked the story though, and the characters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Highly Recommend

    This is a great example of YA Fiction. The story was told beautifully, I cant wait to read more from A.S. King.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 2, 2011

    Great YA Fiction

    Vera's used to be best friend, Charlie died. Their friendship took a turn for the worst 6 months earlier. Fast moving story told from several points of view, Vera, her father, Charlie's ghost, even inanimate objects. Vera is trying to put Charlie and all the rumors and nastiness behind her, but she is being haunted by Charlie's ghost.
    There are a few mysteries throughout the story that kept me reading at breakneck pace (well, I can't really read at a breakneck pace, but you know what I mean.) Why and how did Charlie die? What happened to end the friendship? What is going on between Vera and her father and why is their relationship so matter of fact?

    Really, the best part of the book is the growth of the relationship between Vera and her father. Vera's mother abandoned the family years ago. This is one of the barriers standing between Vera and her father.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    King does it again!

    Ever since her best friend Charlie died, Vera's had a hard time dealing with life. Wait, back up. Ever since Charlie ditched Vera for the detentionheads (and THEN died), Vera's had a hard time dealing with life. And her dad, the biggest proponent of the "just ignore it" philosophy, is slow to notice, or at least slow to show Vera that he's noticing. And somehow Vera is stuck living life as a full-time high school student/full-time pizza delivery technician.

    Even describing the book is a little confusing and wrapped up in itself. But King pulls it off in a way that only she can, by allowing the pagoda on the hill (yes, a building), Vera's dad, and Vera's dead best friend to all weigh in, along with Vera herself, on Vera's life. Through their joint narration, we get a glimpse of the real Vera (and the real Charlie and the real Vera's Dad). They're all flawed. There are no knights (or supernatural beings of your choice) in shining armor here. They're all just trying to make it through. Even Charlie, who is doing so from beyond the grave.

    Though this is part mystery (we know Charlie's dead, but we don't know how or why), part "issue" book (Vera drinks a lot, much to the concern of her recovering alcoholic dad), part dangerous relationship (1-Vera's crush is in his twenties. 2-the flashbacks contain a guy who wants to take grade school Vera and Charlie's pictures. 3-Vera is herself the product of a young high school romance gone wrong), it is mostly a darkly funny book about grief. Everyone, except maybe the pagoda, is grieving someone. It's the way that they each deal with their grief, Vera and Charlie over the loss of each other and their friendship, Vera and her dad over the abandonment by Vera's mom, that makes this such a compelling book. There is plenty of the weird, the funny, the snarkiness, and the romance to keep the book fun, but it is the way that Vera et. al. deal with the more serious aspects that made me care about them.

    It sounds all over the place, and I wish I could write a more coherent/convincing review. You'll just have to trust me that Please Ignore Vera Dietz is one that you really should pick up.


    Book source: Philly Free Library

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2014

    I loved this book A LOT!! I don't read much much but when I star

    I loved this book A LOT!! I don't read much much but when I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down!! I had to finish this book and when I did, I suffered from a book hangover. highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2014

    One of my favorite modern young adult novels

    Well written, nicely paced, realistic characters, compeling story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2014

    YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK

    Anyone who's a fan of John Green's books will surely enjoy this book. It's a must read! Once you start reading it you can't stop. It will make you feel many emotions like anger, laughter, and sadness. This book moved me in so many ways. If your looking for a book to make you tear up this is it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013

    One of my favorite books of all time! I could not get enough, re

    One of my favorite books of all time! I could not get enough, read it 3 times already! I learned a lot from this book and enjoyed it too and I think I made a sort of personal connection to it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2013

    I loved this book so much!

    I loved this book so much that ords cannot describe how i felt after finishing the book!!! I loved Charlie and the only thing i would'v changd was that vera and Charlie never got to tell each other that they liked each other. Also my hard cover copy is signed by A.S. King!!!!!!!!!!!!! And i am serious i really got it signed. Peace yallllllll ~Emo Hamster :3

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2013

    Why Please Ignore Vera Dietz is awesome

    I loved this book very much and it is one of my favorites. It was very well written and the character development was awesome! I felt as if I really knew Charlie and I will never look at a the same way again. Seriously guys, this is a must read.

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  • Posted February 19, 2013

    I think this book was Great and it's very sad that Vera Dietz ha

    I think this book was Great and it's very sad that Vera Dietz hasn't had her mother in her life for awhile until she has to call her up because her father doesn't want her follow their foot steps in life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2012

    One to remember

    A moving tale about a girl coming to terms with the death of her best friend and the events leading up to it, while attempting to mend her broken relationship with her father. Filled with colorful characters and beautiful writing, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is a book to remember, and A.S. King is an author I can't wait tonread more from.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2012

    Great book.

    I loved every word of it, but was disappointed in the lack of details and 'wrapping up' of the ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2012

    Brilliant!

    Oh wow. Vera is an amazing character. Clever, funny, self reliant, and struggling to deal with a tragedy in such a real and believable way. You feel like you're right beside her every step of the way. What a crazy story, emotionally rough but offset with humor. And for once, a teen book with a parental character that is actually complex, developed, human, and likeable. Loved it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2012

    Shadow

    How about here instead? Locked out of first book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2012

    Blank

    I really liked this book and could not put it down. I strongly recommend reading this book, its a great read. However, I did not like how Vera did not try and defend herself when Jenny Flick and the others did or said something to her.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2012

    Great book!

    I origanlly got this book because it had a cool cover, but as soon as i started to read it i couldn't put it down! It is great book and i would highly recomend it!

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