Please Ignore Vera Dietz

Please Ignore Vera Dietz - A. S. King After reading this and Me Before You back to back I was thrown into a book hangover the likes of which I've never seen. It's easy to see why this was a Printz Honor book. This one's got a lot of soul. A bunch of other reviews commented that when they first picked this book up they thought, "great another issue book about grief of teens." I guess this is an issue book and it's definitely for teens, but Vera is so much awesomer than most other angsty grief striven fictional teens. What happens to Charlie is damn tragic, but Vera gives it to us straight. There are so many times during this book when I feel like it could have gone way over the top. Vera's father is a recovering alcoholic. Her mom got pregnant in high school, and became a stripper and then ran away with a rich doctor. Charlie was Vera's BFF since forever but he has an abusive father and a mother who is a battered woman. This book has drugs, drinking and a lot of poor desicions made by teens. We look at all of those things in a list, it seems like this book is basically just a soap-opera. But it's not, it's not at all. Mostly because King does a great job weaving all the threads together, little by little. It's also because although Vera is our narrator, we get a taste of some of the other characters for a few chapters here and there which paints a much fuller picture of the world that Vera is living in.

I'm not sure that I liked being taken out of Vera's head without any warning, but it seemed to serve a purpose. Getting inside Charlie's head, even for only a short chapter or two, it essential for the reader to understand the whole story.

This book is tragic not only because a kid dies, in a senseless and horrible way, but because the adults are very passive in the whole process. Vera's dad tells her over and over again not to get involved with the violence going on in Charlie's house next door. So, finally when Charlie starts doing other things that she knows are going to cause him trouble, she does nothing. The relationship between Charlie and Vera gets more and more complicated the older they get, the more they like each other and can't admit it. She knows that it's not right to ignore Charlie's problems, but adults know best right? She's just following her dad's lead. That really bothered me. Adults need to stand up. I admit that all of these terrible things do happen to teens and they have to deal with them, but it's also possible for the occasional adult to step and take responsibility. So that bugged me. However, even though Vera's dad bugged me with this attitude it didn't detract from the story. Because it is Vera's story, not his and it really didn't matter.

The bit that made me really get the feels was learning about Charlie. Charlie and Vera, together but not. And then Charlie and Vera as enemies as Charlie purposely pushes her away, because he doesn't think he's good enough for her. His downward spiral is heart-wrenching, especially as an adult reading this book and imagining other kids that might have had the same life that they ended up throwing away because they felt there were no other options.