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Please Ignore Vera Dietz

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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 smart, funny, dramatic, and always surprising.

327 pages, Hardcover

First published October 12, 2010

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About the author

A.S. King

23 books3,622 followers
A.S. King is the author of the highly-acclaimed I CRAWL THROUGH IT, Walden Award winner GLORY O'BRIEN'S HISTORY OF THE FUTURE, REALITY BOY, 2013 LA Times Book Prize winner ASK THE PASSENGERS, 2012 ALA Top Ten Book for Young Adults EVERYBODY SEES THE ANTS, and 2011 Michael L. Printz Honor Book PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ and THE DUST OF 100 DOGS as well as a collection of award-winning short stories for adults, MONICA NEVER SHUTS UP.

Look for Amy's work in anthologies DEAR BULLY, BREAK THESE RULES, ONE DEATH NINE STORIES, and LOSING IT. Two more YA novels to come in 2016 & 2018. Find more at www.as-king.com.

p.s.- If I don't accept your friend request, don't feel sad. It's because I don't really use Goodreads even though I'm completely thrilled that you do!

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Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
January 27, 2019
I have been lucky enough to read a LOT of great books this year and up until now I had a clear I-shine-above-the-rest favourite: On the Jellicoe Road. Though I am actually going to be daring enough to say to all you Marchetta-obsessed bookaholics that for me Please Ignore Vera Dietz could compete with the sad and beautiful emotional turmoil I felt for On the Jellicoe Road.

There are two young adult topics that always make me think "oh, not again", and they are:

1) teen pregnancy, and
2) coping with the death of a loved one

These subjects are so overdone that the mere thought of tackling yet another piece of this melodramatic drivel makes my head ache... but Please Ignore Vera Dietz is probably the best book I have ever read that involves death and the aftermath of it; all the sorrow and guilt and "what ifs" told in such a beautiful way. In fact, I honestly cannot think of a novel that handles it better.

Anyone can put pretty words in the right order, but it takes a really talented author to make you truly feel. They are the kind of writers who know how to make you love, hate or just want to have sex with a character. Here, I felt everything that Vera felt; it was very emotionally draining but ultimately more rewarding at the end - I love those books that truly affect me, they stay with me far longer than the rest.

Charlie, as well as Vera, was a remarkable character. He reminded me of a debate I had recently about Wuthering Heights and, in particular, Heathcliff. I've always said that the best actors are those who can make you feel sorry for an evil and twisted character, that can make you understand even if redemption is impossible... I feel it's the same with authors. Emily Brontë created a character who was a violent monster, yet the way she explores the unloved childhood he endured always makes me feel nothing but sympathy for a man who is cruel because he's been shown nothing else.

I love complex characters. There are few, if any, people in this world who can be called something so simple as "good" or "bad".

This is why I loved Charlie and all his stupid fuckedupness. Charlie makes so many mistakes and he frequently gets it all wrong. In the hands of a weaker author, you could easily hate him... but you don't. Yes, this is a novel about death and yes, this is a novel about friendship and love and the fine line between right and wrong... but Please Ignore Vera Dietz is first and foremost an exploration of two complex individuals who are two of the most well-drawn characters I have come across in the young adult genre. Huge thanks to Tatiana, without whom I would never have read this book.

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Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
851 reviews3,882 followers
February 15, 2021

When he was a child in his foster home, my father wasn't allowed to eat butter. Every day he would see the family children eat it at breakfast, but never once did he break the rule. People in nowhere town, nowhere country France never stopped reminding him that he didn't belong : part Algerian, part Parisian (like a different nationality for them really), he was the kid parents warned their children against, because god forbid any kind of open-mindedness. In the sixties, difference was not a good way to go. When my mother told me this, I cried. I cried because I had no idea. I knew that my father's childhood wasn't all sunshines and rainbows but he never liked to talk about it, and I didn't press him. Truth is, I always thought that I'd had the time to sit down and really talk someday. Later.

I was wrong, because now it's too late, and that feeling? All frustration and guilt and anger and love. Reading Please Ignore Vera Dietz felt like that, and this story reached to old and hidden parts of me I didn't even remembered.

This is my second book from A.S. King, and by far the strongest. First she managed to perfectly capture the essence of grief : indeed it's rarely devoid of anger - blind, unfair anger we almost never see pictured in books - and that explains partly why I could connect so strongly. People don't warn you how mad you are when someone you love die. Sadness you expect, but anger? No, and it's a shame really, because you can't think clear and guilt is never far. You think you shouldn't be angry. You think there's a problem with you, somehow. Don't.

This is realistic fiction at its finest, that is to say, raw and painful and crazy and beautiful. See, I'm not stranger to grief, and yet, (or because of it) books that deal with grief often piss me off so much that I've been delaying reading Vera's story for more than a year now. I should have trusted my friends, because this story is nothing like the others I read before. What I have a hard time to stand in that kind of books is the "purposeful way" the death of a loved one is often used. It's as if they would make us believe that we only lose people we love to find our destiny or some shit. Fuck that. Sorry guys, I'm a down-to-earth bitch (sorry mum, I tried!). A.S. King adds so many anecdotes that made me pause and think, "oh, yes, that". The way you can't help but imagine how it goes, under the earth, even if you know you shouldn't. The way you find yourself speaking alone or consider completely impossible things. Your mind is reeling, but truth is, sometimes there's no answers. Sometimes you have to go on to find them, and here lies the beauty of Vera's story.

The story is organized with chapters alternating between Vera's life in present time - after Charlie, her best friend, died - and flashbacks where we come to see how their relationship evolved during their childhood and their adolescence. All the events intricate perfectly and I found the way the story was written really wonderful because everything made sense. We think we know where the story is going, but as in real life, the journey is more important than anything here. And little by little, we realize that we didn't really know what to expect in fact - This story surprised me.

If you're not new to A.S. King, you know that she is more likely to insert a paranormal side in her stories. If the dreams bothered me a little in Everybody Sees the Ants, I have to say that it worked perfectly here. But then, this is Charlie, and I may be partial. I don't care.

Both main characters are unlikeable and yet so endearing. I loved them fiercely. First of all, Charlie. Aw, Charlie, what a fucked-up you were. What a bunch of self-loathing, devil may care charm, unforgettable male-lead you are. I'm warning you here : you won't agree with everything he did or said, but you won't be able to stop yourself from loving him. I couldn't. You won't be able to stop yourself from hating him, either. He's messed-up, an asshole, and his actions made me want to slap him - really - sometimes. But the important is, his flaws aren't romanticized. We're never served some crappy romance crap where unforgivable behavior is condoned. It isn't.

As for Vera, the better way to express my feelings is to say that I could understand her : she is flawed, broken, but strong and willing to do anything she can to go on and to refuse hypocrisy. Yet she is judgmental. She is delusional. I won't deny any of that, but she's more. As I already said countless times, I don't care about flaws if the characters are multi-layered. In the end, I really, really liked her because she was real and incredibly brave yet sometimes so scared. This is reality, people. We aren't adjectives but complex human beings. She made mistakes, didn't act when she had to to protect the ones she loves, but she is aware of that. Every fucking second of her life.

These characters never failed to make me feel deeply, and I am amazed of the depth and complexity of the relationships pictured. Vera and Charlie, Vera and her dad, Charlie and his parents - nothing's useless, everything's three dimensional and kinda messed-up. I loved it.

How can we escape our "destiny"? Can we, really? What of self-fulfilling prophecies? See, when I was in College I worked a lot about that kind of things - because our self-confidence is also linked to our teachers' remarks, for better or for worse - and this is something I really care about. That's why I found really interesting that A.S. King chose to deal with it, and in my opinion she did a great job showing that everything is always more complicated than we think : what part of our unconscious fights against the path we don't want to follow? What part of the collective unconscious convinces us that we are going to repeat our parents', our background's mistakes whatever efforts we make?

How far goes the influence of others? Should we ignore them?

So many characters in this book struggle against what they think are their destiny : Vera, her father, Charlie. I couldn't help but care for them, so, so much. My only complaint would be that I would have loved for the story to contain other strong female characters. I missed them.

Alright now, forget everything I wrote. Just FORGET IT. The truth, the real truth? I cried like a fucking baby. More and more along the way, and it wasn't because some smart-ass decided that cancer kids were hot or some shit. It wasn't even because Charlie dies, because really, THAT'S IN THE BLURB, ANNA. No. I cried out of rage, out of stupid decisions and SO MUCH WASTE. I cried because I can't even count how many people Charlie reminded me. I cried because FOR FUCK SAKE, CHARLIE. I cried for Vera's dad. I cried for all these kids who have no idea what they can do with their lives - and I don't fucking care how lame that sounds.

I laughed, too. A lot. I'm sure it counts somewhere?

To sum-up, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is an astounding book that kept me captive - for real, I had to stop yesterday because it was 3am and ANNA YOU HAVE SCHOOL TOMORROW! I thought about it all day long and jumped on the very first occasion to resume it. Now, rare are the books that have such a great power on me. I wasn't completely satisfied in the end, but who cares? I wanted more, but who cares? Some revelations let me down, but who cares?

... I'm still immensely impressed. *bows*

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,406 reviews11.7k followers
January 10, 2011
As seen on The Readventurer

So, this novel just got awarded Printz Honor. I guess I wasn't hyping it for nothing. Please, fellow goodreaders, check this book out!

Let me just get this out of the way, I am glad I gave A.S. King another chance. I liked her debut novel (The Dust of 100 Dogs) OK, for its creativity and originality, but I wasn't wowed by it. Please Ignore Vera Dietz is a better, even though more mainstream, YA novel.

I don't know how it happened, but I've read quite a few YA books about death and grief over the last couple of months (I Heart You, You Haunt Me, Revolution, Amy & Roger's Epic Detour), however Please Ignore Vera Dietz is definitely the one I enjoyed the most.

Vera's long-time childhood friend Charlie is dead. She is hurt by his death, but her feelings are ambiguous. Their relationship has been difficult and not always happy, maybe they even hated each other at some point. They used to be so close and yet so separated by their preconceived notions that a romance between them would never work. After all, they both have so much emotional baggage. Vera has to work through many deliciously convoluted aspects of her friendship with Charlie in her mind to finally find peace with him...

Please Ignore Vera Dietz is the kind of story I love to read the most in YA fiction. It is not over-burdened with romance, where a boy miraculously solves all heroine's problems, it is character driven. Vera is a multi-dimensional character, she has to face her past and deal with her mistakes and regrets in regard to Charlie. Her grief is palpable, but not expressed in hysterical fits and throwing herself around in despair, like it often is in teen lit. Vera's actions speak for it. Her inner world is complex - there are issues she has to deal with that add another layer to this already great story - how can she live up to her father's expectations? how can she get over her mother's abandonment? how can she overcome her seemingly pre-written destiny?

The more I think about this novel, the more I like it. It is not as quirky as The Dust of 100 Dogs, there are no pirates, magic dust or doggy lessons, but it is unique in its own way. I like that Zen Buddhism wisdom is added into the story. There is a ghost who sheds some light on the events. And there is the Pagoda with some opinions of her own. It all works beautifully together. As a whole, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is just one clever novel.

P.S. Who knew pizza delivery business was such a dangerous occupation? I will absolutely never, under any circumstances, do it, knowing now that there are people who open their doors to delivery people with no pants on and in "full alert."
Profile Image for Reynje.
272 reviews962 followers
November 9, 2011
There was a reason Charlie was such a bright blazing sun. He came from endless cold, black space.
I couldn’t sleep after finishing Please Ignore Vera Dietz.

I gave up on trying to untangle my emotional reaction from my critical thoughts, all hopelessly snarled together with lingering question marks, and just lay staring into the dark. The story refused to seep quietly into my consciousness, to be filed away neatly into a mental catalogue: good writing, interesting characters, believable dialogue etc, etc.

Instead, it kept twisting around in my mind, scenes replaying and looping. Possible interpretations were bound up messily in my own personal experiences and beliefs. Vera, Charlie, Ken, Jenny – they were characters, but I realised that over the course of the book they had become real to me. And their stories wouldn’t let me sleep.

How much of who we are is unconsciously pre-determined? I don’t mean this in a “destiny” or “fate” sense. Rather, how much of us is shaped by genetics, deeply hardwired into our blood and bones and minds? How much by the environment we live in everyday, the people who surround us? And how much by our beliefs – the things we hold to be so fundamentally true about ourselves that they become in effect self-fulfilling prophecies? Do we write our own futures by making the choice to accept certain assumptions or opinions of others, without questioning whether in fact they are true?

I couldn’t stop wondering about Vera and Charlie’s friendship – and why it played out the way it did. As the story unfolds through a series of viewpoints, flashbacks, flowcharts and interludes from a talking pagoda, there is a growing sense of inevitability. Each part of the story, each event, each nail Charlie’s coffin, to be blunt, almost seems to be set in inexorable motion by the events immediately preceding, by the choices the characters make. And yet how much of this might have been different – if someone spoke up, if someone changed their mind, if someone decided not to believe the thing they’d been told all their lives? Would Vera and Charlie’s lives and relationship have taken a different path? Or was this outcome always bound to happen, by virtue of persistent human nature?

At the end, I was overwhelmed with sadness for all of them. And yet I still felt a sincere appreciation for this story, a love for it because it was so honest and real. Because few books manage to convey how very possible it is to love someone and hate them all at the same time, for the people closest to us to inflict the worst kind of pain.

Prose-wise, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is effortless to read. Thematically, it’s not. The voices, particularly Vera’s, are exceptionally genuine and I found myself connecting to her much more than I expected I would. While she is a mostly undemonstrative character, choosing to lay low and will attention away from her, the raw pain and conflict is palpable in her words. The sadness bleeds through, leaching from a well of betrayal, abandonment, misunderstanding and hurt.
”And so, for all six years she’s been gone, I have $337 to show for having a mother. Dad says that thirty-seven bucks is good interest. He doesn’t see the irony in that.”
Needless to say, I really loved the writing in this book – it was poignant without pretention, emotive without being heavy.
“Because with Charlie, nothing was ever easy. Everything was windswept and octagonal and finger-combed. Everything was difficult and odd, and the theme songs all had minor chords.”
For a story that tackles death, abuse and alcoholism amongst other things, for the most part King takes a remarkably even-handed approach that feels open and not gratuitous. (There are some other messages in the novel where I felt perhaps King may have been speaking more to her personal opinion – and they came across rather more awkwardly.) I’m loathe to apply the term gritty here, because to be honest I think what King is showing us is simply reality (in terms of the issues it addresses, not the anthropomorphic landmarks, stripper dream sequences and pickles), and the reality is that life isn’t polished and smooth. That tragedy happens all the time. Often, right next door.

From reading other reviews of Please Ignore Vera Dietz I had foreknowledge of some of the more unusual aspects of the story (narrators who shouldn’t physically be able to speak etc) so I didn’t find these elements distracting. If anything, I think I had mentally prepared myself for much more “quirk”, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I felt myself connecting to the story. I even came to view the speeches from the pagoda as something of a comforting, solid presence in the story amid the increasingly unsettled events and emotions surrounding it.

Where I found Please Ignore Vera Dietz wanting was in its resolution. I was happy with where the story left most of the characters, but I felt it was a little unrealistic in its timing – what had been a festering wound seemed to heal a little too quickly to be totally believable. I definitely think that the characters would have reached this point eventually – but not with the apparent ease and swiftness with which the book seems to present the situation.

Finally, I have to agree with one of my readalong partners-in-crime and say that there is a quite the aura of a cult classic around this book. The execution is slightly unusual, but the story strikes at the heart of intensely relatable and moving subject matter. This may sound contradictory, but this book broke my heart and I loved it.

Thanks to my lovely readalong ladies, Shirley Marr, Lisa O and Maja!
Profile Image for Limonessa.
300 reviews509 followers
November 8, 2011
Talk about a heartbreak. I'll have to read at least TEN predictable, fluffy, instalovish, lovetrianglish light-hearted books to recover from this one.

The main voice is Vera's, an 18 y.o student/pizza deliverer who lives alone with her father and whose best friend Charlie has just died. We don't really know how or why, nor do we know why Vera seems to be so royally pissed at him:

"Let me tell you - if you think your best friend dying is a bitch, try your best friend dying after he screws you over. It's a bitch like no other."

If you've read Suicide Notes (and if you haven't, shame on you) then you'll recognize the narrative strategy in the "revealing" flashbacks. We are introduced to the story when the main events have already taken place, in this case Charlie's death, and we are completely left in the dark about the motives.Through a reconstruction of often terrible memories and revelations we gradually discover the circumstances and the truth.

This is not a book that aims at making you feel better about yourself or society or that will leave you with a happy feeling in your heart. This is a testament to bad parenting, bad choices, bad environment, bad genes and the struggle of a girl to try to prove them all wrong. It's a book where the main characters, Charlie, Vera, Ken are portrayed in all shades of grey, where there is no absolute good or bad (well, except for Jenny and Ken's mother who are the essence of evil). At some point or another, I got angry with all of them in turns and then tearfully forgave them all. I felt for Ken, Vera's Dad, a man whose best was never enough and who was never taught to love. I felt for Vera, because it is not easy to grow up in a situation where you are the product of your messed up parents and have to bear their cross on your back your whole life. But most of all, I felt for Charlie, because he's the one who couldn't escape his very messed up situation. He didn't make it, I felt like he couldn't make it and he made all the wrong choices, victim of his low self-esteem, self-loathing and poor judgement.
And as far as choices go, I keep on thinking: would none of that have happened - or maybe not tragically so - if Vera had chosen to tell the truth from the beginning? Or would it have been different had Vera's parents not turned their head the other way and taught Vera to ignore, no matter what? This book certainly raises some ethical questions which are, at the same time, both obvious AND controversial. Honesty and altruism should be social givens but they seem to go against the trend, at least in this society.

The book is not a 5 star for me for mainly two reasons:

- I didn't like how the Vera/Dad relationship got dealt with in the end. You don't solve deeply rooted family problems by going to see a shrink FOUR times and by role-playing once. You just don't. The ending felt so out of place in respect to the general tone of the book that it felt like I was suddenly reading another book.

- I didn't like the gratuitous propaganda against having a pet. Especially from the pagoda's side. I don't need to be reminded that the food I buy for my puppy could feed a starving child. I mean, it could be true, but this is not the place. On the same note, I didn't like the presence of a skinhead guy to represent the bad, crazy guy. It just felt superfluous and judgmental. Those were two instances where the author tried to feed us a piece of her mind which I didn't want.

Nevertheless Please ignore Vera Dietz is a fantastic book I recommend to everybody. It's raw, shocking and so heart-breaking that it makes you look at your kids with different eyes, in my opinion.
Profile Image for Anne .
183 reviews264 followers
February 9, 2017
Rule number one: Don't fall in love with your best friend.

Oh please. Next you're going to tell me to control how the blood flows in my body.

Here’s me using tandem in a sentence.
We will learn to forgive ourselves in tandem.

I know I said I was ready, and it would be a privilege to have my heart broken by this book. But did you ever wonder about it? About all the pieces of you you leave behind with every book you read and every page you turn. That oxymoronic feeling of being fully empty. And that brings you back to acknowledging all the things you gained while being drained. I'm a dictionary of words I can't make sense of right now. God help me, words can't save me now.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz is a lesson about speaking the truth. About the tipsy balance between three variables of a deadly equation: action, inaction and reaction.
I'm sorry. I don't have fine literary sounding words for what I have to say next: We all know this simple truth.

Landon knows it. I know it. You know it.
This book was blessed by the heavens and whatever celestial bodies are in charge of bookish extraordinariness. All the topics it circles around are so thought-provoking.

The story opens up with the ultimate question: What happened on the night Charlie Kahn died?

The narration is given in first person narrative, with inputs from several characters(Vera's father - Ken, The pagoda - the inanimate narrator, The Dead Kid - Charlie himself) throughout the course of the story, but the character who invests more of her voice into the knitting of the story together, while simultaneously building up the mystery behind the death of Charlie Kahn is Vera. The narration is simply a mingling of past and present. I just can't tell you how much I loved Vera, I can't tell you how proud I am of her, and I can't tell you how much I hated her. I can't tell you how much I love-hated Charlie and all the characters in this book. Which leads me to:


The first thing we find out about Vera and Charlie is Vera hates Charlie not just for dying, but for "screwing her over" and then dying. Leaving her to handle the mess he left behind. But before the hatred, she felt love. And even when she hated him, she still loved him. We the Readers get to tap into this minefield of contradiction. You want to scream out your hatred for Charlie, but at the same time you want to hug him.

Please Ignore Vera is a home for all things cutting: secrets and lies, truth and history, death and coping, love and hatred, drugs and alcoholism, violence and abuse. And fate. Yes that nasty booger came up again in here. He's just going around ruining people's lives, making them believe they can never outrun him, never leave him behind. Liar. The problem with truth is truth is everything we believe. The problem with choices is they're like double-edged swords. But believe it or not, we're all in an infinite, incognizant war with fate. Let's keep fighting. Charlie and Vera were so stupid to believe fate. So stupid. And when destiny/fate and whatever liar names he goes by is done messing with them, that's when they realize how easy it all was. How uncomplicated their whole lives could've been. And aren't we all the same? Hunched over and screaming out to the universe: Please. Let me have a do over! Just this once. Help me rewrite that ending.
Welcome to the eternal silence.


❎ The subject of domestic violence is not one to broach lightly, because from all accounts, it's not just about the problem of the abuser being abusive, it's more about the attitude of the abused. And It's not just the body that's battered, it's the mind. Under the weight of continuous abuse is where such simple and guiltless survival traits like adaptation and conditioned reflex become a curse. Remember to go rigid and assume your subservient pose in readiness for all possible physical altercations. Remember to flinch when the hand goes up, tighten your muscles, protect the delicate parts as that hand finally makes it's descent. Don't forget the face paints and powders and concealers. Remember to subconsciously settle into a life of alternating tolerance and justification of "well deserved punishments" because after a long time of coping, there's just no other way to live. It's so freaking ugly. Succumbing to mind and body control. But only you can get it all back. It's one point this book tried to make clear: In the end only you can save yourself. But at the same time, support and help are crucial. They are needed. Sealed lips don't make for cleaner wounds, ugly scars maybe. It's not going to go away or magically work out.

❎ Highschool is a secret world parents are barred from having access to. I begin to understand how hideously painful and nerve-racking it is to know your kid has secrets they can't share with you. I, for one, know my parents weren't stupid or blind to everything I tried to hide or hid from them. Parents, like Vera's dad might not know what exactly, but they do know something's up. It's funny, but this story made me realize, really, that parents can only do so much. They're guides and compasses, but at the end of the day they can't double as carvers and sculptors. So when kids run on wrong side of the road after all your worn out lessons of morality and responsibility, what then? Some say you keep trying, keep pushing. Some say it's just a rite of passage. The order of the business: Let them make their mistakes. Let them find their way. I'll be there every step of the way, and if they ever do decide to reach out, I'm going to meet them half way.
Don't ask me, I don't know. I'm no parent. I can only tell you about all the things I was grateful for as a kid.

You're not convinced? Here's what she's described as at one point: The way she stood there, like a character in a Stephen King novel, she was capable of anything.

If you've ever read a Stephen King novel you'll know that's some messed up shit right there. Jenny's character screams mental disorder. But this book passes Jenny off as the archetypical gum popping, hair grabbing, skanky, boy shagging, lying, pedestal hugging mean girl harassing the hallways of your highschool. I was oddly fascinated by her character. How could someone be so young and crazy? What kind of wrong wires could be touching in their head to turn them so dark, evil and spiteful? I'm confused about whether I should feel disgust or sympathy right now. The contrasting characters of Jenny and Vera was something that stood out for me. Ultimately, I identified with Vera. Of course. Her desire to just be ignored, to blend in and become one with the background, that's something I can understand. That's something most people can understand. Sure, some detest invisibility, but NO ONE wants to be noticed or marked for the wrong reasons in highschool. We all know highschool is a world of labels and hierarchical infrastructures. All the smart kids don't hang around looking for trouble when the bell goes out.

Sadly, trouble seems to find some. That place is a jungle, I swear. If you made it out alive, be glad. And don't worry about your scars, I don't think anyone really leaves that world unscathed. I know some people claim bullies are more complex than the fists they throw around. I don't know about that. But I do know insecurity is a disease, and Jenny oozed it. Pity that. I've decided to be disgusted by her character. And if words are not enough, I could write a full review of gifery about all the ways Jenny was abhorrent. Stahp Jenny. Just Stahp speaking and existing or else

One more question this book proffered: the question of life outside the confining walls of high school. We can be anything once we exit those doors, but then again, sometimes we find out we're nothing. Bill Corso anybody?

Rather than exit with an aesthetically pleasing ending, you go out with a bang. Embrace the chaos, welcome the fear while ironing out the kinks of your jacked up life.

This is Vera. This is the evolutionary heroine. This song describes the whole cycle. And I kept thinking of it while I was reading. I kept thinking this is Vera:
She Used To Be Mine

It's not what I asked for
Sometimes life just slips in through a back door
And carves out a person and makes you believe it's all true
And now I've got you
And you're not what I asked for
If I'm honest, I know I would give it all back
For a chance to start over and rewrite an ending or two
For the girl that I knew

Who'll be reckless, just enough
Who'll get hurt, but who learns how to toughen up
When she's bruised and gets used by a man who can't love
And then she'll get stuck
And be scared of the life that's inside her
Growing stronger each day 'til it finally reminds her
To fight just a little, to bring back the fire in her eyes
That's been gone, but used to be mine
Used to be mine

The whole Jenny drama:
Between the Lines by Sara Bareilles

The Problem with "Ignoring it"
Somebody should have helped Charlie:
Medicine by Daughter

Somebody should have helped Mrs. Kahn:
Cherry Wine by Hozier

I’d rather feel something for real than pretend it’s not what it is. (Which Zen guy said, “If you want to drown, do not torture yourself with shallow water”?)

But there’s something about telling other people what to ignore that just doesn’t work for me. Especially things we shouldn’t be ignoring. Kid bullying you at school? Ignore him. Girl passing rumors? Ignore her. Eighth-grade teacher pinch your friend’s ass? Ignore it. Sexist geometry teacher says girls shouldn’t go to college because they will only ever pop out babies and get fat? Ignore him. Hear that a girl in your class is in abused by her stepfather and had to go to the clinic? Hear she’s bringing her mother’s pills to school and selling them to pay for it? Ignore. Ignore. Ignore. Mind your own business. Don’t make waves. Fly under the radar. It’s just one of those things, Vera.
I’m sorry, but I don’t get it.

No one living understands dying, and no matter what they dream up—from harps and heaven to pickles in Big Macs—they can’t prove a thing until they’re on this side. Which, if you can, you want to avoid until it’s really your time to go. You might want to leave some time to fall in love and have a family. Stay healthy so you can meet your grandchildren one day. I can guarantee you this: you do not want to die by asphyxiating on your own puke and get kicked out of a car onto your front lawn.

Plus, youth is judgmental.

I have my fingers on the switch, but have lived a lifetime ignoring the control I have over my own world. Today is different. On the night he died, Charlie said he left something for me. Today I’m going to find it.

When my mother was my age, she was just about to have me after I’d spent nine long months growing inside her. Now it’s my turn. I am going to birth myself. I am going to be a
better mother to me than she ever was. I’m going to stay faithful and stand up for myself. I am going to do more than send me fifty bucks on my birthday, and if I ever call myself on the phone, I’m going to act like I care, just a little, because I’m aware that I might need it. I will comb my own hair gently and never make myself get into bathwater that’s too hot. I am going to be the kind of mother who shows warmth.

Hey—the whole freaking world was built from delusional optimism and folly. What makes you so special? We’re all just making it up as we go along. No one really knows what they’re doing. Anyone who tells you otherwise is talking out of their butt.

The way she stood there, like a character in a Stephen King novel, she was capable of anything.

“You wish you knew more? Seriously. You don’t.” I think, And when you do, you’ll wish you didn’t.
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,920 followers
November 10, 2011
3.5 stars

“Is it okay to hate a dead kid? Even if you loved him once? Even if he was my best friend? Is it okay to hate him for being dead?”

Please Ignore Vera Dietz is a story about a 18-year-old girl faced with the loss of her best friend.
On one side, this novel is burdened with a scary amount of raw realism. It tells a story that hits too close to home, one that none of us want to hear. There are pedophiles, abusive husbands, drinking problems, runaway mothers and friends who break our hearts. There's too much to handle at once, for Vera and for me.
Then there’s the other side that is as far from reality as can possibly be. The funny yet touching flow charts, talking pagodas, best friends turned into pickles and thousands of haunting ghosts serve as a soothing balm that helps heal the wounds made by the all-too-possible first side of the story.
For the most part, when those two sides collide, the result is great and stunningly original. However, the combination didn’t work so well for the ending. When it came time to resolve Vera's situation, I wanted King to choose one or the other, to either write an utterly realistic ending, or a completely absurd one. What she gave us felt like a cop out. But who am I to judge? My rating is a cop out as well.

It was easy enough to blame my three readalong partners for my reluctance to write this review. All three of them did such an amazing job. Ms. Marr’s deliciously funny and incredibly smart words, Ms. Reynje’s colorful world that never fails to pull my heartstrings and Ms. Lisa’s strong logic and astonishing insightfulness would intimidate even the most creative minds. But the bigger truth is that I needed time to figure out exactly why I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as they did, especially when I claim to be such a huge fan of literary realism. And it’s true. Balzac, Stendhal, Tolstoy and many others helped me become the person I am today. But the reality they described for me is in no way my reality. I can easily dive into it knowing that I’m untouchable. Vera’s story, however, happens in everyone’s back yard. It’s the almost tangible reality of it that I can’t handle.

That doesn’t mean that I won’t recommend this book to anyone who will listen. I’ll probably reread it myself at some point.

A big thanks to Lisa, Reynje and Shirley for this amazing adventure that became known as the Double Date readalong. Everything is fun when you’re around.
Profile Image for Monica.
Author 4 books273 followers
November 25, 2017
No me gustó para nada, la trama es muy lenta, los personajes muy estereotipados y te transmiten la sensación de ser miserable y que la vida no vale nada. Al menos eso es un punto a favor, pero demasiado lúgubre para el genero y sobre todo para algo juvenil, pudo abordarse desde otro punto de vista, pero se fue por lo simplón que ya hemos visto en muchas películas para esta audiencia.
Profile Image for Mari.
183 reviews52 followers
September 19, 2015


Yes, please, ignore Vera Dietz. Ignore this book altogether.

At first I thought it was just too off-the-wall-quirky for my liking. Which it was. But so much worse than that, too.

Meet Vera. She's better than you. And everyone else tbh.

According to her.

Important: Vera is not a slut. Cause there are a lot of sluts in this book. You are a stripper? You are a slut. You wear black eyeliner? You are a slut. You enjoy cheerleading and college sports? You are a slut. And sucking dicks is probs one of your hobbies. You date boys? SLUT. Don't deny it - Vera knows. Vera is not a slut, though. Everyone else is a slut. This is a book about Vera vs. sluts. Sluts and all things slutty. Did I tell you there's lots of slutty stuff about sluts in here? Go ask Vera.

(Though I guess we are supposed to be outraged by this whole "everyone's a slut" business. Maybe we're supposed to see this book as some kind of painfully realistic tale, told by an overly honest narrator. After all, here's how Vera's best friend describes her: "You should go back and be yourself. Cynical, funny, straight-up Vera Dietz." Is that it? Well, if it is, then up until now I didn't know "cynical" and "funny" meant obnoxious and detestable, which is all Vera is.)

Be sure you can locate Florida on a map, or else you and Vera won't be friends. She's too intellectually advanced for your shit.

Be sure you're able to read, too, cause if you're not, Vera might just go and make fun of you. Then complain about you being a dick to her.

Avoid being Mexican, because you'll encounter such gems:
"I drive over the bridge into town. The whitest town on Earth - or, more accurately, once the whitest town on Earth until the Mexicans moved in. Once you get through the crowded old suburbs where the large Victorian homes sit on the hill and past the rows of cupola-topped row houses, it’s an ugly town - a mishmash of 1940s asphalt shingles, multicolored bricks, and gray concrete. There’s too much litter, and too many people look angry. Dad says it wasn’t always like this. He says it’s not the Mexicans’ fault that the city council would rather spend the city’s money on new arts initiatives and a big, flashy baseball stadium than more police on the streets. So now, while there’s wine, cheese, and doubleheaders downtown, poverty has taken over and crime is at an all-time high uptown."
But it's okay, cause Vera's dad said that "it's not the Mexicans' fault". It's just that, one is left wondering about what the author meant to tell us here. Or maybe, y'know... "Painfully realistic tale" and the whole shebang? No thanks.

You'll also meet "Nathan (Nate) [...] a six-foot-five black guy," who wears a "hokey MC Hammer leather coat" and greets people like: "Yo, [Vera]! What’s shakin’?" (yes, that's an actual quote.) But he only pops-up once, in the beginning of the book, then disappears mysteriously.

Oh, but don't get sad. Cause there's Mick, at your service.
"I’m even growing to like Mick, the skinhead Nazi. He tells funny jokes and has a very witty way about him. [...] Mick walks over to me with his arms out, as if he wants to hug me, and I flinch into James’s side. I do not want to hug a skinhead Nazi. Even if he might be okay. Even if he tells funny jokes. Even if he’s really just a misunderstood nice guy who hates certain races of people."
And let's not forget about Jenny, the bad girl who wears lots of black eyeliner (SLUTTY), who stole Vera's best friend/crush, dresses in all black, and hurts puppies. I wish I were joking about the puppies...

Jenny is mean. Mean for the sake of it. Sometimes you just need one of them mean sluts with no depth at all to make your book woth it, y'know...

Random quotes because of reasons:
"He’s so awesomely gorgeous and manly and hunky. His hair is grown out a little, so he doesn’t look messy, but rugged. He keeps himself shaven, but sometimes leaves a stubbly goatee, which he’s done today. He wears a Pagoda shirt that’s a tiny bit small for him, so his biceps and deltoids are really defined and I can’t help but want to squeeze them. But this isn’t all physical. He says smart stuff. He’s funny, sarcastic, and cynical. He can see outside this stupid little town because he’s been out of this stupid little town. None of the guys in school have all this going for them. They might have muscles, but they don’t have brains. Or they might have muscles and a few brains, but they still think the world revolves around them."
NO, this isn't all physical, cause that would be slutty! Vera isn't slutty! Never forget! *holds lighter in the air*. "[...] but they still think the world revolves around them" ...and obviously it doesn't, since it already revolves around Vera. I mean c'mon.

"He looks at me and smiles. 'You want to go out after work?'
'Where to?'
'How about we go up to the pagoda and make out?'
This makes me so happy, I whistle while I do the dishes."
1) That's... straightforward? (Dude's not her boyfriend or anything. They kissed once, it was awkward -according to Vera- and she didn't know how to talk to him or look at him afterwards. Then this happens. Just giving you a context, bye.) 2) VERA NO. THIS IS SLUTTY. VERA WHAT ARE YOU DOING??! VERA!! SAVE VERA FROM SLUTHOOD 2K14!!!

"There was no doubt Mr. Oberman was gay. He didn’t hide it. I’d venture a guess that he was overly gay in the detention room because it irked the Detentionheads so much. Bill Corso was not going to be told what to do by some fag - so Oberman put on his extra fagginess just to make kids like Corso squirm."
I MEAN??????????????? No amount of "painfully realistic tale, told by an overly honest narrator" bullshit will make me go, "Ahhh, this is a delightful read indeed."

Charlie's story was... sad? His life (I didn't finish the book, so I have no idea how he died) kinda was, at the very least. But -and I feel terrible for saying this, I do- I just couldn't bring myself to like him much. He was supposed to be one of the main characters, but felt more like a a completely pointless one, added only to praise Vera for her greatness. Whenever we got chapters written from his PoV ("A brief word from the dead kid"), that was the only thing he did: PRAISE. FUCKING. VERA. Which did NOT make me feel like they had a connection or some true feelings, platonic or otherwise, for each other. The only effect it managed to have on me was irritate me. (Note: Authors! Don't tell me how awesome someone is! Show me! Make them act awesome! Repeating page after page after page that someone's oh-so-cool-you-have-no-idea-ohmigod won't make me think they are!) Not to mention that there was absolutely nothing to praise. She's been horrible to him. Why they were best friends is a mystery to me.

And then he'd say stuff like this about his parents:
"I spend most of my time watching my parents (from where he is now, the afterlife or something). You’d think I’d get as far away from them as I could now that I’m free, but seems I’m here to learn something. Not sure what. I never liked either of them. He’s just a bully, and she’s a doormat."
Why am i shocked? His father is abusive. Crazy abusive. Woman-i-don't-want-you-to-use-tampons-because-it's-like-you're-cheating-on-me crazy abusive. And what does Charlie call him? A "bully". And his mother is a "doormat". Need I say more?

Now, I don't know, maybe she never protected him and he's angry and that's why he doesn't care about her. But he doesn't express anger. He's just calling her... well, a doormat. Because "Ugh you so have no character and let your husband beat you."

Because, you see, I do not mind characters thinking and doing stuff that's ethically wrong... as long as the author makes it clear that it IS ethically wrong and that the character is being a dick. I've never gotten that vibe from this book, ever.

And Vera, I just............................................... I have no snark left. This girl was infuckingsufferable. The worst best friend one could have. I don't even know what to say, she infuriates me. Reading the book from her PoV was a torture.

The writing wasn't half bad, though. That's it, that's the only positive aspect of the book bye.


Okay i have this book downloaded... I need to read it asap, because i just discovered that it's by the same author as "Everybody Sees the Ants" and i've wanted to read that book for months. But i didn't want to buy it because i was afraid i'd hate it and spend my money for nothing... The "Vera Dietz" one received a lot of good reviews, soooo...
Profile Image for Annalisa.
547 reviews1,379 followers
March 28, 2011
Some 20 pages into the book I thought to myself, "I don't really care what this book is about and honestly the subject matter hasn't grabbed me yet, but I don't care. I would follow this girl anywhere." I love a good voice.

Vera is a high school senior grieving over her best friend's death, only at the time of his death, Charlie was her frenemy. It makes the grieving process a little harder when you hate and love the person at the same time, when you have so many unresolved issues that you'll never get answers to. Throw that on top of an already complicated life with a father who expects everything from her to avoid the pitfalls of his own life and a mother who abandoned her and Vera has a lot of conflicting emotions and decisions caving in on her.

As Vera tries to move on with her life, she can't quite get away from Charlie and the things that only she knows about his life and death. The story is weaved with her present life and the little tidbits of her past life she lets bleed into her consciousness. It isn't until she deals with the mess of her relationship with Charlie that we learn the circumstances of his betrayal. I cried for her. It is so hard to find characters in YA that are relatable and real and raw. Vera is definitely one of them.

The book is also scattered with POVs from her father (Ken), from Charlie, and from the town pagoda who's been around long enough to see pitfalls of the human condition. At first I wasn't sure how I felt about Ken's chapters (although I always loved his flow charts) but ended up liking that contrast of perspective very much. I could see where he was coming from and I could see where Vera was coming from and appreciate both sides of the argument. It added to the complexity of the story and the characters.

The only thing that really bothered me was I didn't feel satisfied with the answers Charlie gave. He was a little bit of a drama queen about Vera helping him out but what he left as answers and explanations didn't quite add up to his level of anxiety. He had the opportunity for a grand gesture and it fell a little flat.

In the end I was satisfied with Vera's story and closed the book smiling. That is the best feeling at the end of a book. It wasn't all better in the end, a bandaid to cover the gaping whole in her heart, but it was about coping and growing into the person she wanted to be. Most importantly, I was left with a sense of hope, which is all I wanted for Vera in the first place.
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,520 reviews9,002 followers
April 1, 2013
On the surface level, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is about the death of a girl's best friend. But, because that would be too easy, it's much deeper. Vera Dietz, the girl in question, has spent a solid portion of her life in love with Charlie Khan - the same boy she hung out with when she was a kid. Then high school happens, and their relationship takes a turn for the worse. Vera comes to hate Charlie; however, when Charlie dies in a devastating way, will she be willing to clear his name?

Please Ignore Vera Dietz isn't an easy read. It contains the death of a best friend, a mother who abandons her daughter, alcoholic genes, bullies, etc. One of the several unique aspects of A.S. King's novel is the contrast of those dark topics with the lighthearted and witty voice of Vera, the protagonist. I ascertained the struggle Vera went through, but it wasn't all that clear or well-defined; it wasn't "my best friend died, now I feel grief" but much more complex and intriguing.

King accomplished many tasks with this work. She utilized various first-person perspectives (one of them is a pagoda), carried the mystery throughout the story, and presented numerous touchy issues without taking on a trite tone. Despite my three-star rating, I would recommend this book to teens because it contains little thought grenades that make you step back and reevaluate your life experiences.

But for some reason I simply didn't love this book. Reading through other reviews on Goodreads from more seasoned/analytical perspectives makes me think that yes, this was a fantastic novel. Yet there's something - and perhaps this is an entirely personal conundrum - that prevents me from giving it the utmost praise. Maybe it's because I found the plot lines and characters dry (even if they were superbly original) or I just felt an unexplainable lack of empathy overall. Either way, I would recommend this one. It just didn't entirely resonate with me.

*review cross-posted on my blog, the quiet voice.
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
940 reviews14k followers
August 3, 2017
3.5ish stars.

I listened to this audiobook in two sittings! I absolutely love A.S. King's writing style. I think it's quirky without being corny and she did really well writing a teenager's voice. That being said, I thought the plot of this book lacked a little bit of direction. It wasn't reaaally a mystery, and it mainly jumped back and forth between past and present, which I typically don't enjoy but in this case, I was alright with it because the layout and writing was done so well. Vera was awesome, nevertheless, and this book had a depth to it in the end that I wasn't expecting.
Profile Image for Lotte.
559 reviews1,116 followers
January 15, 2016
4.25/5 stars! Oh, this was actually really good!
I especially liked Vera's straight-forward narration and the way she didn't gloss over anything. She mentioned periods, tampons and swearing, and it all felt very real. All of the main characters in this book felt very tangible and real by the way. I loved the way the relationship between Vera and her father was described and the way family dynamics in general were handled in this book. This, too, felt very realistic. In 'real life', no one is inherently good or evil, everyone has their flaws and their issues and A.S. King seemed to emphasize this in her book. The writing also flowed very easily and I appreciated how quick I was able to finish this, since I read this alongside two books for uni, which I'm having such a hard time getting through.
The 'mystery' in the story itself wasn't really a mystery though and I have to admit that I was slightly disappointed by that. I also would've loved to get a deeper look into Jenny Flick's life. Why did she act the way she did?
I'm so glad I already have another A.S. King book on my shelves, because I can't wait to pick up more books by her!
Profile Image for Erik Fazekas.
481 reviews199 followers
November 19, 2020
Tretí rereading a konečne v slovenčine.

Čo môžem spraviť pre to, aby sa táto kniha dostala na zoznam povinného čítania pre tínedžerov? Ako zaradiť túto knihu medzi klasiky YA literatúry na našom malom Slovensku?

V svojej čitateľskej kariére som mal v každom období niekoľko formatívnych diel.

Najprv to bol Harry Potter. Lebo som tajne dúfal, že aj ja dostanem svoj list z Rokfortu. Že dostanem šancu na nový život. Že toto, čo som žil, nebol môj osud. S tým som sa už pomaly zmieril.

Potom bola Sabriel, Lirael a Abhorsenka. Lebo hoci mali hrdinky rovnako ako ja nalinkovaný život, zrazu sa mohlo prihodiť niečo, čo to obrátilo úplne naruby. A ony sa proste vydali v ústrety neznámemu – lebo im nič iné neostávalo? Nedá sa povedať, ale pocit osobnej zodpovednosti prevážil. A po tom som túžil aj ja.

A teraz je to Zdroj (The Fountainhead). Lebo všetci by sme mali kráčať za svojimi snami a robiť pre ne všetko. Najviac, čo sa dá. A nepoľavovať z nich, lebo potom prestávajú byť našimi snami a premieňajú sa niečo iné. Na sny iných, na sny bojkov, na slabé odvary snov, ktoré by dokázali zmeniť svet.

Je mi nesmierne ľúto, že v čase môjho dospievania nebola na svete Vera Dietzová, aby mi ukázala, že z tohto sveta sa dá uniknúť aj inak ako cez dvierka fantázie.

Pri väčšine kníh hľadám útek z reality. Chcem sledovať hrdinov, ako sa im plnia ich najtajnešie sny. Táto kniha je facka od života v knižnej podobe. S Verou nikam neuniknete, skôr sa ponoríte do bahna skutočného života, lebo táto kniha doslova smrdí človečinou.

Vera nie je vyumelkovaná, Vera neprešla žiadnymi fejsliftmi, aby bola ľúbivejšia. Vera je presne taká, aký je život. A práve Vera nám dáva všetkým nádej, že existuje cesta von. Nemusíte byť superhrdina, ani mať setsakramenské šťastie, ani byť jediný vyvolený na celom šírom svete. Stačí na sebe makať. A nevzdávať sa.

Ak si máte tento rok prečítať jednu tínedžerskú knihu, prečítajte si Veru Dietzovú.

Ak chcete obdarovať tínedžera, či mladého dospeláka, venujte mu Veru Dietzovú. Táto kniha má v sebe všetko: vodku aj sex, metal i skutočný život. Lebo Vera je vaša kamoška, ktorá vám prišla povedať, čo za nahovno život nafasovala, a ako sa postavila na nohy a vykráčala z neho. Vera je totiž skutočná, viac než by ste si chceli pripustuť.

Tak vás všetkých prosím – Veru Dietzovú si láskavo VŠÍMAJTE!!!

Druhý rereading a úplne iné dojmy ako z prvého.
Jednak táto krásna austrálska obálka má toho veľa do seba a úplne mi pasuje do mojej rozbehnutej série:)

Chcete vedieť kto je Vera? To je síce pekné, ale ona nechce vedieť, kto ste, tak ju, prosím, ignorujte. Strednou školou chce len preplávať. Učí sa dosť dobre na to, aby jej nikto nerobil problémy a v pohode sa dostala na vysokú, ale zároveň nevytŕča z radu. A prečo? Lebo jej matka bola gogo tanečnica, a keby sa to spoliužiaci dozvedeli, tak sa tej nálepky nezbaví až do maturít.

Jej otec to tiež nemá najľahšie, abstinujúci alkoholik, ktorý podľahol čaru striptérky musel veľmi rýchlo dospieť, aby sa postaral o svoju dcéru, keďže mama sa na nich vykašľala. A tak ako mne mama stále opakovala, aby som sa poriadne učil, lebo mám dve ľavé ruky, ktoré ma neuživia. Tak Verin otec stále opakuje, že musí makať, aby si na seba zarobila, lebo v ich bohom zabudnutom meste, jej nikto nič nedá zadarmo. A tak Vera maká v pizzerke, kde roznáša pizzu. A po práci chlastá, lebo nevie ako inak uniknúť z tohto sveta, z vlastných tráum a strachov.

Lebo Vere zomrel sused, najlepší kamoš a jej platonická l��ska v jednom.

Už mám osobne po krk kníh, kde niekto zomrie a celá kniha je o tom, ako sa s tým hrdin(k)a vyrovnáva. Toto je ale iné. Charlie síce zomrel, ale Vera sa cez neho vyrovnáva s vlastnou minulosťou a budúcnosťou, rovnako ako jej otec.

Fakt dobré čítanie. Ešte to nejako dostať medzi našich čitateľov :)
Profile Image for Lora.
186 reviews1,001 followers
January 27, 2012
Is it okay to hate a dead kid? Even if I loved him once? Even if he was my best friend? Is it okay to hate him for being dead?

Vera's conflicting feelings toward Charlie after his death mirror mine over her story. I don't think I've ever been this conflicted over a book in all my years of reading.

Vera Dietz has secrets: she has a crush on a boy five years her senior; she's drinking vodka coolers under the radar; and, perhaps her biggest secret of all, she knows a whole helluva lot more about her best friend's death than she's letting anyone in on. But she has her reasons: after you lose the boy you could've/should've been more than friends with, what else are you left with but to move on with someone else? And everyone knows alcohol is the perfect desensitizer when the pain is just too much. And besides, if she told anyone — her father, her classmates, the authorities — what might happen then?

Much like its main character, Please Ignore Vera Dietz was, for me, all of the following: baffling, annoying, infuriating, wondrous, a true eye-opener. On the one side I think, if a book can make me feel so many conflicting emotions, shouldn't it be worth five stars? You know, just because, unlike so many books, it made me feel? And on the other, shouldn't I have felt more for the characters and their heartache and tough situation before the near-end mark? Somehow I think this would be easier if I didn't have to rate this, because, no matter what I put in those line of stars, they won't truly represent my feelings towards this particular work. I feel like this book is worth five stars and about two and a half all at once.

I suppose the only way to give some semblance of order to this review is to break my thoughts down in a positive/negative fashion:


Vera, Vera, Vera. What to say about this girl? Unlike any character (female or otherwise) I've ever read about, Vera Dietz made me, at some points, mad as hell; and at others, sad to the same degree. She is strange and quirky, and not exactly in a good way: she eats napkins just because Charlie did; she drinks and starts going out with a twenty-three-year-old guy, all while thinking of how much she doesn't want to end up like her father and mother, a recovered alcoholic and ex-stripper turned child-abandoner, respectively. I know people do stupid things when they're hurt, especially when they've recently lost someone they loved. They may even be entitled to do these things, but that doesn't make them interesting to read about or make a character endearing or worthy of my sympathy. Or at least it doesn't for me, anyway.
It wasn't until certain things happened and certain things were revealed that I started to feel something for her character, started to connect with her in any way. This happened much later in the story and, by then, it was (almost) too little too late.


When I did finally start to get it, finally began to see what so many people are raving about, it really hit hard. One minute I was reading along, thinking how this book just isn't for me but I'll finish it anyway, and the next I'm grabbing tissues to blot my tears before they left crinkle stains on my library's copy.

The best part of this story is Vera's reconnecting with her father and rebuilding a real relationship with him. If you've read any of my past reviews, you know I appreciate good parent/child relationships more than any romance. Romances are nice, but they aren't everything. People say that romantic relationships can die but friends last forever, and I disagree. I'm more of a blood-runs-thicker-than-water kind of gal.
Friendships are wonderful, don't get me wrong. But let's face it: the right (wrong) thing happens, and that's it, no more BFF. I believe that familial relationships are the most important, the kind you can count on the most. And this is why they are, essentially, my favorite sort of relationship to read about. Vera and her father have many things to work out, including Vera's apparent use of alcohol to cope with the loss of Charlie and her father having never truly gotten over her mother when she left them. Their scenes together were some of my favorite.

King's writing is edgy, sparse and peppered with wry humor. It made the pages flip fast and kept me invested in the story, even when the characters couldn't.

As you can see, I'm very conflicted on this particular novel. I went into it thinking it would be an easy five stars, and ended up being disappointed on multiple accounts. Perhaps some day I'll return to this story, revisit its characters and maybe see them in the same light others have. Until then, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is a story that touched me at times, and frustrated me at others. But I feel better for having read it and I have no regrets. 3.5 stars
Profile Image for Mark.
230 reviews29 followers
April 30, 2013
"It's one thing if he wants to ignore it. I guess that's fine. I mean, I ignore plenty of stuff, like school spirit days and the dirty looks I get from the Detentionheads while I try to slink through the halls unnoticed. But there's something about telling other people what to ignore that just doesn't work for me. Especially things we shouldn't be ignoring.

Kid bullying you at school? Ignore him. Girl passing rumors? Ignore her. Eighth grade teacher pinch your friend's ass? Ignore it. Sexist geometry teacher says girls shouldn't go to college because they will only ever pop out babies and get fat? Ignore him. Hear that a girl in my class is being abused by her stepfather and had to go to the clinic? Hear she's bringing her mother's pills to school and selling them to pay for it? Ignore, ignore, ignore. Mind your own business. Don't make waves. Fly under the radar. It's just one of those things, Vera.

I'm sorry, but I don't get it. If we're supposed to ignore everything that's wrong with our lives, then I can't see how we'll ever make things right."

I'm so glad I assigned this book for my class, again; great excuse to re-read it, and I find something new within it each time I read it. And that's the mark of a great book, for me.

Original review:

Wow. With my schedule, I usually can't read books in a day, but I could not put this one aside for more than a few minutes at a time. This book is absolutely extraordinary, and I cannot wait to see it on "best of" lists after it's release this fall.

Vera Dietz is an 18 year-old "pizza delivery technician," moving through her senior year of high school while living with her father (Vera's mother left some years prior). Vera's best friend since age 4, Charlie, died at the end of the summer, and Vera has been dealing with Charlie's death, but also the way he hurt her in the months leading up to his passing. The changes that came over Charlie, and the way he can still communicate with Vera from beyond the grave, move her to disclose important information about what happened on the night Charlie died, information that can clear his name, and perhaps give Vera some peace.

A synopsis cannot do justice to this book. I will admit some bias, because the story takes place in my hometown (or a suspiciously close replica), and I enjoyed noticing the little name-changes that King used to represent real streets, schools, etc. And the inclusion of the Reading, PA, Pagoda in a YA novel, even giving it a voice in the story, has just about made my year.

That being said, Vera is one of the most powerful female characters I've read in a while. She's completely messed up by her parents' divorce (Charlie has even greater issues with his parents), and she's an honest, vulnerable portrait of a teenager who is simply drifting through her life - working, going to school, dating - while letting the events of her life crash over her like cascading waves. Her voice is smart, funny and sarcastic, and the novel has enough surprises to leave readers guessing about Charlie's fate up until the end.

Five stars were not enough for this book; I loved it that much.
Profile Image for Pat.
222 reviews6 followers
April 12, 2011
I finished this book though I wish I hadn't.
There are qualities in the writing, the plot and the voice. The father, daughter relationship resolves beautifully in the end. Vera is a likable character a reader can root for. Yet, I am tired of the YA novel that focuses on depravity. Foul language, perversion, alcohol abuse, promiscuity are at the core secret of this story.
I also had a problem with the depth of the "evil" character, the nemesis of the protagonist Vera. A seventeen year old girl who kills her boyfriend because he breaks up with her? A girl who soaks the pet store with gasoline and sets it on fire? A girl and her circle of friends whose cruelty is incomprehensible? I'm sure somewhere out there are depraved teenagers but please....they must be the anomaly. In this novel, they are the norm.
I wish I'd read the jacket and not trusted the Printz award for excellence in young adult lit. The jacket warns that it is dark and surprising. I feel like I need to take out my brain and give it a shower after this read.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jo.
268 reviews945 followers
May 8, 2011
Initial Final Page Thoughts.
Ahhh. Everything is going to be OK.

High point.
OK, I tried to just pick one, but I couldn't narrow it down to just one in this case. I LOVED LOVED LOVED THIS BOOK. But anyway- Vera Dietz, one of the most realistic (and likeable) heroines I have ever read, such a compelling story, AS Kings' writing is just ridiculously engaging and I honestly couldn't put it down, well-thought out characters (even the secondary ones), BEST DAD EVER, heart-breakingly honest, FLOW CHARTS and finally, I loved how it was told from different perspectives (even inanimate buildings!)

Low Point.

I feel I need to create a new award for Ms Dietz. The Vera Dietz Soul Sister Prize. She is just so awesome and fiesty and real and honest and perfect and I like to think that we would be friends if we went to the same high school. We would eat Big Macs (and she could have all my pickles because I don't like them!) and bitch about the bitchy bitch slag that is Jenny Flick. Seriously, why can't all heroines be like this? SORT IT, AUTHORS.

Love Interest.
Oh Charlie Khan. You weird one. You treat my soul sister like crap but I'm still rooting for you to get together with her. And then I remember you're dead and my heart is broken and it's not pretty. Thank you, AS King. You write the cutest scenes ever and make me wish I had had a sort of mentally unstable lovecrush when I was 16 who encouraged me to eat napkins and throw paper aeroplanes and then after a few of heart-fluttering moments be like 'Mmm.. yeah, CK is dead and this lovely thing between him and Vera? Yeah, it's not happening. Nor will it EVER.' Gutpunch.

Ugh, Jenny Flick. I went to an all girls school so I knew lots of people like her (not to the same mental state as JF, but definitely the same needless maliciousness that only teenage girls know how to execute to make people's lives hell). The combination of Jenny Flick and Vera just shows how perfectly AS King understands teenagers, especially girls. Even though I hate hate hate her, she is a great character.

Angst Scale.
Even though death is one of the major subject of the book, it is not what it is all about. Vera isn’t sure how she feels about Charlie’s death because she wasn’t sure how she felt about Charlie. I have given it a relatively low score on the angst scale because Vera is very mature and downplays the grief that is bubbling below the surface. Really effective. Also, the relationship between Vera and her Dad is just perfect, especially because we get a few chapters from his perspective. Jenny Flick may cause angst… but she’s a bitch and isn’t even worth bothering over.

Recommended for.
EVERYONE . People who like interesting and complex stories. People who want to read books that are set in the now. People who like convincing teen speak and not all ‘LOL’ and ‘LMAO’. People who love strong female mcs. People who like books that aren’t all about romance and lurrrve. Or if you are... realistic love that reminds you of summer days sitting with friends when you're supposed to be doing a million different things. People who like Big Macs…and pizza.
Profile Image for Wayne Barrett.
Author 3 books107 followers
May 19, 2017

This is my second A.S King novel: Everybody Sees The Ants, and now, Please Ignore Vera Dietz. Lets just say, I have already added a couple more of her books.

The two aforementioned that I have read and the two that I have added are listed as YA novels. I can agree with this genre labeling because they deal with the lives of young adults, but the stories and the writing are such that, even as an older man, I found entertaining, gripping and pleasing due to the writing style of A.S. King.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz is a coming of age tale that deals with some pretty big issues concerning loss and abandonment. There are issues of bullying and peer pressure. There are points of addictions and the ignorance of bliss. All in all this was a powerful but easy novel to read. This is one I would feel comfortable in recommending to all of my friends.

Profile Image for disco.
599 reviews220 followers
August 8, 2017
The plot in this book was a little hard for me to grasp. I liked Vera and wish that the whole story would have been told by her. The times where other people interjected were the weakest - did we really need a Pagoda point of view?? I really hated Charlie by the end of the book and I didn't understand ONE of his decisions. You don't find out how he dies, which for me was frustrating since an autopsy would have been mandatory. Lastly, I think the word "love" was thrown around too much. It was an interesting story but it needed polishing.
Profile Image for Kristina Horner.
157 reviews1,822 followers
July 25, 2016
Somewhere between a 3.5 and a 4 for me. This book was ultimately a good one, but way too melancholy and slow for a readathon. I appreciated how much Vera's attempt to be a bad kid were ruined by what a good person she was, deep down. I enjoyed being in her head, even when she didn't.
Profile Image for Anastasia.
134 reviews67 followers
January 29, 2016
Trigger Warning: death of a loved one

Please Ignore Vera Dietz is a heartbreaking book about love and loss.

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?

I went into this book with an average expectation. If it weren't for my friend I would've had very low expectations. Thank goodness she kept pestering me about reading it. This book is everything you want in a book that deals with teenage grief.

Vera is angry. She's angry and alone. Her mother left her at age 12, her father is an accountant and human self help book that thinks ignoring the problem is the best solution, and her best friend and neighbor, Charlie, is dead. In the last few months of Charlie's life Vera and Charlie began to drift away. Rumors were spread and trust was broken.

“Is it okay to hate a dead kid? Even if you loved him once? Even if he was my best friend? Is it okay to hate him for being dead?”

This book dealt with grief and loss flawlessly. It showed you how your emotions are valid even if they're grief, sorrow, anger, or happiness. No one can tell you when and how you should move on. The phrase "move on" is ignorant. No one ever moves on , we just cope. We live and remember. Just like Vera Dietz we have 1000s of paper Charlies following us every day. They suffocate us, motivate us, comfort us, every moment of every day. To deal with the loss of Charlie, Vera begins to work more at her pizza delivery job, drink, and live here life to the fullest, dating 23-year-old college drop out.

The characters were each unique and the way Vera described them was hilarious. Every character had a quirk that made them seem real. Charlie would write notes and then ceremoniously burn, eat, or pocket them. In the present day chapters you learn that the dead's able to alter reality. Charlie's able to communicate with Vera and change her surroundings so they are filled with paper figures of him or have his writing on a fogged up mirror. Charlie communicates with Vera because she knows something about Charlie's innocence in a crime he supposedly committed moments before his death. The only problem? She hasn't come forward. She wants to help her best friend, but then she remembers how much pain he cause her in the last few months of his life. All he wants for her to do is clear his name. All she wants to do is go back to normal and hold up a sign that says, please ignore Vera Dietz .

Throughout the book you realize Vera doesn't have a very good support system. She had lied to herself for 12 years thinking that her parents were happy but once her mother left she knew the truth. All of the things she saw were things she wanted to see. As a young girl she didn't focus on the lost and sad features of her mother throughout the day or how she made her cry without flinching. Now, as an 18-year-old, Vera is left with a shell of a dad who ignores Vera's silent cries for help.
She comes home drunk. He doesn't notice .
She gets escorted home by a policeman. He doesn't ask her any pressing questions.

"If we're supposed to ignore everything that's wrong with our lives, then I can't see how we'll ever make things right.”

The only problem I had with the book was how A.S. King changed POVs to inanimate objects and spoke to us directly. Vera wouldn't always address the reader directly which I was fine with but once she switched POVs to Vera's dad or Charlie. They would talk directly towards you. Telling you everything they want Vera to know and it just didn't sit well with me.
“I want to tell her that the only thing you get from walling yourself in is empty.”

It pulled me out of the story and sometimes it felt unneeded. The characters would express feelings we should/did pick up from their actions towards Vera. So, it was just a review of what we had already gathered. Then she switched POVs to the Pagoda a famous building in their area. It just didn't flow well with the book.

Many of the chapters were set in the past. She would name the chapter "History- (enter age)", this gave the reader a chance to see Charlie and Vera at a young age and only a few moments before his death. It helped you connect with the characters and learn about their living situations.

My final thoughts on Please Ignore Vera Dietz is that it is a beautifully written book and deals with grief flawlessly. I will definitely pick up another A.S. King book in the future.

Profile Image for Ariel.
301 reviews64.1k followers
March 11, 2013
Well! Another shining read from A.S. King! This has really solidified her as one of my new favourite authors and I definitely look forward to reading more of her books. As you can tell, however, I gave this a 4.4 rating instead of the 5/5 rating I gave Everybody Sees the Ants.. here's why I loved this and didn't!

First off, let's talk about some of the things I loved. Mainly, the writing. A.S. King's way of turning a phrase, the way she shares the things that are going inside of her characters heads is so raw and gritty and real. It makes me feel like her characters are real people - like her books are memoirs instead of fiction. I love feeling this because it makes me root for the characters, makes me hope that their lives turn out how they want them to turn out.

I also love the structure of this book: it's written in tiny chapters, the longest ones being maybe 6 pages, which was cool because I felt like I kept getting new glimpses into the characters minds. They were written from different characters perspectives, although probably 90% are from Vera, but that added a great effect of knowing more than just her thoughts, and also we get some cool perspectives.. including wise inanimate objects and her dead best friend (which I LOVED LOVED).

Now, I didn't love this book as much as Everybody Sees the Ants. Why? Because I felt that Vera was not as well developed.. I didn't understand her actions, and most of the time I down-right didn't like her. I loved Lucky, the main character of Everybody Sees the Ants. I wanted to protect him. But with Vera, a lot of the time I wanted to just shove her for not clicking in, for acting so stupidly. Don't misunderstand me - I'm not saying that I need to like a character or like their actions to appreciate them! (Look at the Great Gatsby! I gave that book 5/5 and NONE of the characters there were likable!) My problem is not understanding Vera's decisions. I understood why Daisy gave up on Gatsby even though I hated her for it.. I understood and therefore could appreciate her. But for Vera I didn't understand why she made such foolish decisions, why she didn't take charge, why she hated everyone so much.. and for me, I want to understand the characters so that I can understand their transformations.

Overall, I really did like this book a lot. A.S. King has definitely delivered, and I would highly recommend this book to everyone.. especially people who are searching for something along the lines of The Perks of Being a Wallflower or Looking for Alaska.. that raw contemporary feel. Although, admittedly, I'd recommend Everybody Sees the Ants more.
Profile Image for Jamie.
Author 21 books3,178 followers
May 15, 2018
Please Ignore My Review

I loved this book. Loved the voice of the main character. Loved the multiple POVs. Loved the non-linear form of storytelling. Loved the emotional authenticity on every page. The only thing I didn't love was the ending. For me it was intense like, but not quite love.

That's all I can say without revealing (or hinting at) spoilers.
Profile Image for Ivka.
375 reviews116 followers
July 21, 2020
august 2019
Prekladám to a som z každej kapitoly odvarená úplne iným spôsobom ako pri čítaní. Rozhodne jedna z kníh, ktoré stojí za to čítať dvakrát. 9/10

apríl 2019
Každá kniha A. S. King mi pripadá ako také okno do života postavy, ktorá žila už dávno predtým, ako sme sa s ňou spoznali. Viete, zvyčajne vám autori servírujú informácie tak postupne - kto je hlavná hrdinka, kto je jej rodina, kto sú jej kamaráti... Začnete v niečom malom a obraz sa postupne rozširuje.

Tak táto autorka to tak nerobí. Vera má 18 a pracuje v pizzéri, fulltime, lebo to podľa jej otca utužuje charakter. Charlie je mŕtvy a mama je preč. Je päť hodín večer a treba rozvážať pizzu, ktovie, k akým týpkom to bude dnes. Charlieho otec bije Charlieho mamu. Verina mama odišla. Charlie odišiel tiež. Miestne nákupné stredisko má na to svoj vlastný názor a Veru Dietzovú si láskavo nevšímajte.

Mám veľmi rada knihy tejto autorky, pretože to je zase raz o niečom inom ako pri iných autoroch. Inde by ste čítali knihu ďalej a ďalej, aby ste vyriešili záhadu nejakej ústrednej otázky - tu čítate ďalej, aby ste plne pochopili, v akých okolnostiach sa hrdina nachádza. A keď dočítate, nemáte pred sebou príbeh, ktorý ide od A do B, ale obraz.

Ak teda chcete skúsiť niečo iné, vrelo odporúčam. 8/10
Profile Image for Ari.
940 reviews1,315 followers
March 20, 2015

Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl.
They've been friends since forever, they cared for each other, they played and went to school together, they were inseparable.
They fell in love.
...Until they grew up.
Until things got complicated.
Until there was no longer a boy and a girl.
But only a girl, only Vera..
...Please ignore Vera Dietz.
"What is the sound of one hand clapping?"
That's how I feel without Charlie. Like one hand clapping

All her life Vera's been thought to 'ignore'.. To ignore the kids that were mean, her mother than never cared, her father that was unhappy, the screams from the next door, the bruise on the boy's skin.
And all she wanted was to be ignored as well..
Until she wasn't anymore.

What you do when you know someone else's secret?
What do you do when the secret is not yours to tell?
What do you do when it's just too late?
I'm sorry, but I don't get it. If we're supposed to ignore everything that's wrong with our lives, then I can't see how we'll make things right

"Please Ignore Vera Dietz" is a story that deals with some complex subjects. Also it gives us some good lessons about being human, about making mistakes, about trying to change what's wrong, about what-if 's, about being too late, about deciding to do something while you still can...  Because  we can learn from their errors, we could be so much better, we could do so much more.

I still wonder if the ending would have been different if Vera did something. Anything.. Would it have made any difference at all?

And this question consumes her as well.
Until there's no mystery, until there are no more secrets, until there is nothing left to do.
Two gulps of vodka later, my eyes are watering and my throat automatically grumbles "Ahhhhh" to get rid of the burning. Don't judge me. I'm not getting drunk. I'm coping

There are many things I liked about this story. I took the book in my hand and couldn't put it down. I wanted to know more, to understand the characters better, to see what made them do the mistakes they did, to understand why there was no return point for them..

I wanted more Charlie into the story, I wanted to understand Vera's mother, to know more about Vera's father, to punch Charlie's parents and his new 'friends'. I liked some of the relationships between the characters, but others seemed off. Still, they were all so human with all their mistakes and hopes, they all needed more.
It was sad to see Vera and Charlie get more and more distant. I wanted to shake them both and make them see the obvious.

What I didn't like was the revelation.. Sorry, I just wasn't emotionally invested, not enough. The story seemed too light for what had been promised. The ending should have felt tragic, dramatic.. but for me it was not. I enjoyed the ride, but the destination left me with a bitter-sweet taste in my mouth.. more bitter than sweet.

As for Jenna, she is still a mystery to me. I didn't get the answers I needed.
And I couldn't really understand Charlie. He tried too much to be a better person and then he just gave up.
I wish.. I wish they wouldn't have ignored Charlie Kahn.. and so does Vera.

Rating: 3.5 stars

This review can also be found at ReadingAfterMidnight.com

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Profile Image for L A i N E Y (will be back).
395 reviews696 followers
December 29, 2019
Good writing.
Nice quotes.
No feelings.

Man I agreed with the dreadful Jenny Flick (!) when she uttered: “Where is Vera’s personality??”

And this book shouldn’t have happened in the first place. It does not make sense AT ALL. Why would you protect someone who you hate? When that person always treats you like trash? WHY NOT tell the cops??!

Where is logic in this world?

And do not get me started on that darn pagoda, I mean why? Just why??

What a disappointment. I can’t believe this: Printz awards failed me twice in a roll?? Earth is certainly off its axis!

Profile Image for Anabel.
287 reviews928 followers
June 17, 2015
this one was so good! But also extremely sad!
Profile Image for Jeanette (Ms. Feisty).
2,179 reviews1,947 followers
July 10, 2012
Meet Vera Dietz, precocious high school senior. She's a Smirnoff-swigging pizza delivery technician with a weakness for older men. But she's also a serious student with plans for college and a fondness for big vocabulary words. She doesn't always show the best judgment, but she has a responsible streak that seems to be missing in her peers.

Vera has issues--lots of issues--including abandonment by her mother, the hypocrisy of adults, and worst of all, the mysterious death a few months ago of her lifelong best friend Charlie Kahn. She and Charlie were on the outs when he died, so along with the loss, she battles her feelings of guilt and betrayal while sharing her memories of growing up with Charlie.

The most honest and realistic progression in the story is the way Vera comes to understand her dad as a complex human being rather than just a providing parent who sets limits for her. I think most of us can remember that step toward adulthood when we recognized that our parents might need something from us and we decided to offer it, whether it be encouragement, comfort, or just the confirmation that they did a good job raising us.

This story is probably best suited for older high school students, or even college freshmen if they can still relate. There are several adult themes in the book, including underage drinking, drug use, sex, wife-beating, and a vague but unsettling type of pedophilia. There's also liberal use of The Big F. This didn't bother me because I'm old enough to know that vulgarity doesn't make you cool, but it might be of concern to parents of teens.

If the author wanted to make this truly representative of the high school experience, she should have had the mean kids calling Vera "V.D. Girl." Teenagers (and lots of adults) are all over that kind of thing. Vera Dietz = V.D.

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