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Please Ignore Vera Dietz [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

A.S. King , Lynde Houck
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 26 2011

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.




From the Hardcover edition.

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Review

Kirkus Reviews, starred review, September 15, 2010:
"A harrowing but ultimately redemptive tale of adolescent angst gone awry. Vera and Charlie are lifelong buddies whose relationship is sundered by high school and hormones; by the start of their senior year, the once-inseparable pair is estranged. In the aftermath of Charlie’s sudden death, Vera is set adrift by grief, guilt and the uncomfortable realization that the people closest to her are still, in crucial ways, strangers. As with King’s first novel, The Dust of 100 Dogs (2009), this is chilling and challenging stuff, but her prose here is richly detailed and wryly observant. The story unfolds through authentic dialogue and a nonlinear narrative that shifts fluidly among Vera’s present perspective, flashbacks that illuminate the tragedies she’s endured, brief and often humorous interpolations from “the dead kid,” Vera’s father and even the hilltop pagoda that overlooks their dead-end Pennsylvania town. The author depicts the journey to overcome a legacy of poverty, violence, addiction and ignorance as an arduous one, but Vera’s path glimmers with grace and hope." (Fiction. 14 & up)

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

Booklist, starred review, November 15, 2010:
"High-school senior Vera never expects her ex-best friend, Charlie, to haunt her after he dies, begging her to clear his name of a horrible accusation surrounding his death. But does Vera want to help him after what he did to her? Charlie’s risky, compulsive behavior and brand-new bad-news pals proved to be his undoing, while Vera’s mantra was always “Please Ignore Vera Dietz,” as she strives, with Charlie’s help, to keep a secret about her family private. But when Charlie betrays her, it is impossible to fend off her classmates’ cruel attacks or isolate herself any longer. Vera’s struggle to put Charlie and his besmirched name behind her are at the crux of this witty, thought-provoking novel, but nothing compares to the gorgeous unfurling of Vera’s relationship with her father. Chapters titled “A Brief Word from Ken Dietz (Vera’s Dad)” are surprising, heartfelt, and tragic; it’s through Ken that readers see how quickly alcohol and compromised decision-making are destroying Vera’s carefully constructed existence. Father and daughter wade gingerly through long-concealed emotions about Vera’s mother’s leaving the family, which proves to be the most powerful redemption story of the many found in King’s arresting tale. Watching characters turn into the people they’ve long fought to avoid becoming is painful, but seeing them rise above it, reflect, and move on makes this title a worthy addition to any YA collection."

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

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


From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

A.S. King is also the author of The Dust of 100 Dogs.  Amy spent a decade living self-sufficiently on an Irish farm before she returned to the United States.  She now lives with her family in a small Pennsylvania town.

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Hardcover
Please Ignore Vera Dietz is a phenomenal book. The writing is gorgeous--gritty, honest and raw and at the same time quirky, poetic and hilarious--and Vera herself is a bright and beautifully complicated character whose story will break your heart in the best possible way. A brilliant and powerful story about love, loss, betrayal, forgiveness, redemption...and of course, pizza delivery.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too Oct. 14 2010
Format:Hardcover
Vera's life is about secrets. Living with only a father doesn't exactly inspire her to share her many secrets. He has done his best to raise a teenage daughter himself, but not only is he tight with his money but also with his ability to communicate.

Vera is the result of a teen pregnancy. One of her secrets is that after she was born her mother was a stripper. Her best friend, Charlie, knows that secret, but she would like to keep it from everyone else if at all possible.

Charlie is at the center of many of Vera's secrets. They have been each other's best friend forever, and they share the secret that Charlie's father abuses Charlie's mother. As neighbors, it has been difficult to ignore the sounds of shouts and slaps, but Vera's father says keeping their secret makes things easier for everyone.

It isn't until Charlie's untimely death that Vera fully embraces the secret love that she has felt for him. As she deals with a full-time job, keeping up her grades, and pleasing her father, Vera's stress level has her visualizing Charlie everywhere. It takes a while to realize that the "Charlies" are trying to communicate something.

There are secrets that Charlie wants Vera to uncover and use to clear his name. The circumstances around his death were suspicious and involved the destruction of a place Vera loved, but these are secrets she finds incredibly frightening to share. Will she find the courage she needs to do the right thing?

PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ is presented through multiple voices, including both the past and present. A.S. King draws readers into Vera's world and then slowly peels away the layers to reveal each and every secret. The characters speak realistically and the situations ring true, making King's story flow smoothly despite the many shifts in focus. This novel will please King's fans and earn her many new ones.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
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5.0 out of 5 stars Here's me using wow in a sentence. Aug. 5 2010
By Joanne
Format:Hardcover
What words can I use to sum up PLEASE IGNORE VERA DEITZ other than wow? How about heartbreaking, or honest, or terrifying or funny or...well I could go on and on. This is the story of Vera, a girl who was betrayed by her best friend who she secretly loved. But now he's dead and only she can clear his name. But does she want to after what he did to her? PLEASE IGNORE VERA DEITZ is not an easy book; some of the themes in it are tough and will make you squirm, but you will be grabbed by the throat from the beginning and won't be able to put it down until you find out the truth. The truth that even Vera doesn't know. A beautiful, poignant story about love, friendship and what it really means to be classy. And quite truthfully, I will never look at pickles the same way again.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  107 reviews
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ignore Vera Dietz at your peril Oct. 18 2010
By Marvin O. Gardens - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I'll keep this short.

I'm a middle-aged man who gave up on YA literature when he was a YA. Which was a long, long time ago.

But PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ is the real deal. No glittery vampires. No baloney. Just real, live people with real, live problems. Like the ones I had when I was a YA myself. And like the ones you might have right now.

It's a book with heart, a book with soul.

It's a book that will endure.

Buy a copy right this minute, and help make sure that that happens.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blew Me Away! Oct. 16 2010
By Lori - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I don't even know where to begin. Have you ever read a book that completely blew you away, but you knew you would never be able to put it into words? That's what this book did to me. I will never be able to do it justice with my measly little review. The entire time I was reading it I was trying to come up with words to use in my review, but I never had any! So what to say, what to say?...

Did you read The Dust of 100 Dogs? If you didn't, drop everything you are doing right now and go buy it! It was incredible. You have never read anything like it before, trust me! How does an author write a follow up that lives up to the extremely high expectations set by 100 Dogs? We should ask A.S. King, because she definitely did it.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz is about Vera Dietz, obviously. She's a little odd, but in a good way. She's dealing with the death of her ex-best friend, Charlie. She loved him. She hated him. She knows what happened the night he died, but can she find it in her to forgive him and clear his name?

Vera was such a fantastic protagonist! She was witty and smart, but she still did dumb things. She is a teenager so she is allowed a few dumb things. I connected with her instantly. My heart broke for her but she was unbelievable strong. She definitely held her own.
Her best friend Charlie is dead from the very beginning of the book, but you get glimpses of their relationship in the History chapters. I loved Charlie, and hated him. Just like Vera did. I wanted things to turn out differently for them, but obviously it couldn't because he was dead from page 1!

What makes this book so special? The writing! A.S. King has a way of telling you a story that will make you turn pages faster than you ever have before. The story is beautifully complex without being over done. She weaves the mystery and questions in flawlessly, but you don't get impatient for answers because the path to get there is so engaging. None of it was predictable and I never lost interest. Not even for a few seconds. The chores went undone while reading this book!

I must reiterate that this review doesn't do this book justice. Please, just read it and find out for yourself! Be prepared to read it in one sitting because it is addicting!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please don't ignore Vera Dietz Jan. 4 2011
By The Compulsive Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Vera Dietz has spent her entire life putting out "please ignore Vera Dietz" signals and wrestling with what she believes is her fate to end up exactly like her parents--an alcoholic stripper. When her best friend since childhood, Charlie Kahn, dies unexpectedly, Vera knows how to clear his name of the crime associated with his death, but she's stuck. Still mad at him for betraying her months earlier, she stays quiet, trying to deal with his death, her resentment towards him, and her own fate.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz is a powerful, tragic, and surprisingly poignant book. The majority of the book is narrated by Vera, who is a real, flawed, and darkly humorous character with a voice that demands to be listened to. Her narrative alternates between the past and present, and every so often a chapter from the point of view of Charlie, Vera's father, or even the pagoda in their hometown shows up in surprisingly refreshing interludes. King provides an excellent balance between all of these points of view, and the different perspectives give this book another interesting layer as readers can see firsthand the troubles Vera's father faced in his life and the mistakes he doesn't want his daughter to repeat, and Charlie's own regrets. The issue of children "fated" to become their parents is dealt with well, and King realistically portrays the conflicts and temptations that Vera faces without sugarcoating anything. Please Ignore Vera Dietz is as much about Vera's struggle to forgive Charlie as it is about her reconciling her feelings about her mother's abandonment and finally opening up to her father. This is an unforgettable book about mistakes, second chances, redemption, and becoming your own person--please don't ignore Vera Dietz.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original, heartbreaking, hilarious...absolutely brilliant Jan. 17 2011
By Danielle Younge-Ullman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Please Ignore Vera Dietz is a phenomenal book. The writing is gorgeous--gritty, honest and raw and at the same time quirky, poetic and hilarious--and Vera herself is a bright and beautifully complicated character whose story will break your heart in the best possible way. A brilliant and powerful story about love, loss, betrayal, forgiveness, redemption...and of course, pizza delivery.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do yourself a favor and read this book! Jan. 1 2011
By Bermudaonion - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Vera Dietz has quite a life. Her parents got married young and for all the wrong reasons. Her mother left several years ago and her father's answer to everything is work. Vera is a senior in high school and has a full time job delivering pizzas. Vera has been best friends with her neighbor Charlie for years - she loves him and knows all of his deepest, darkest secrets.

Charlie turns his back on Vera and starts to run with a different crowd. When he dies under suspicious circumstances, it's up to Vera to clear his name, but can she get over her hurt to do it?

I adored Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King! The story is so creative - it's told from Vera's point of view, but occasionally switches to "brief words" from the dead guy (Charlie), the Pagoda (a local landmark) and Ken, Vera's dad. It's a unique way to tell a story, and in some instances, I might find it a little odd, but it really works with this book.

Vera is a fabulous character. She's smart, irreverent, mature, and hard working. She's a good kid who just wants to get out of high school in one piece. When rumors start to fly, she says:

"While I quietly hoped it would all go away and sent my old PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ signals into the atmosphere, the rumor grew."

Vera hopes to stay out of all the drama of high school but finds it impossible when Charlie dies. Now she has to figure out what she should do.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz touches on some serious topics with a touch of humor, so it would make a wonderful book to discuss with teens. Do yourself a favor, and read this book!
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