Book Review: Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

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.

My Rating:  5 cupcakes

At it’s core, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is the story of a grieving girl who has recently lost her best friend. However, it’s so much more than jthat. Familial relationships, the age-old question of nature vs. nurture, zen wisdom, and romantic love are equally important explorations. The mystery of Charlie’s death and the dissolution of his friendship with Vera hovers behind every action and flashback, and continuously made me wonder what would have happened if someone had spoken up – would things have played out differently, or was this an inevitable outcome?

Please Ignore Vera Dietz is very much a character-driven story, partially due to Vera’s desire to be ignored by the high school masses. Vera’s voice is incredibly compelling, and her raw sadness, and anger bleeds through in her words, regardless of how much she tries to mask it. She’s intelligent, hard working, and genuine, and I immediately found myself connecting to her. My heart broke for her – and for Charlie and her father, both of whom were also wonderfully written, flawed characters that I couldn’t help but love.

King tackles many difficult topics in Please Ignore Vera Dietz: from abusive parents to alcoholism, among other things, it certainly isn’t a light read. While it may seem like that’s a lot of tough issues to display at once, it’s certainly reflective of reality — these awful circumstances happen more often than we’d like to think, and sometimes are even happening next door. It’s not all gloom and doom, however; Between talking pickles and a narration from the pagoda, these heavy, and sometimes uncomfortable, topics are counterbalanced with the perfect amounts of surrealism and humour.

Overall, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is a beautiful, heartbreaking examination of grief, love, and regret that is truly unforgettable. I highly, highly recommend it.

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