Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

Title: Please Ignore Vera Dietz Author: A.S. King

Published: October 2010
Genre: Realistic YA, Ghosts, Drama, Mystery
Reviewer: Hannah

Synopsis:

Charlie is dead. That's a fact. His parents know it, his friends know it, the police know it, the town knows it. Even his best friend Vera admits that it's true. That still doesn't stop him from haunting her in the afterlife. And he'll keep haunting her until she reveals the true story of his death. 

Review:

So, I was going to review a book I read over a year ago, but I decided to review something more recent before it slips from my mind (the other book hasn't done that because it was very memorable. Perhaps a review of it next week, eh?). So just a few days ago I finished Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King, a Printz Honor book. (For those of you who don't know, the Michael L. Printz Award is the most prestigious award any young adult book can receive. And the Printz Honor is basically a runner-up for the award, an honorable mention.)

So, obviously, I was expecting something pretty good. Other Printz-related books I've read (such as The White Darkness, Speak, A Step from Heaven, etc) have ended up as my all-time favorites. Perhaps my expectations were too high, or perhaps it genuinely is an unimpressive book, but I didn't find Please Ignore Vera Dietz very striking. It was mediocre, really. The kind of book you read, and then forget about the next day. You know the kind. 

Basically, the main character, Vera, has a typical teenage life: estranged mother, controlling dad, pizza job, relationship drama, blah blah blah. The only anomaly is her best friend Charlie--enigmatic and troubled Charlie. What are Charlie's secrets? 

Without revealing too much, Charlie dies (but that's not a secret, so don't hate me like, "You spoiled the entire book for me!! Grrrr....") and begins haunting Vera. He wants her to clear his name, because he died in unfortunate circumstances that make him appear guilty of a horrendous crime. Nobody wants that on their head, dead or not.

So, yeah, the entire book is pretty much Vera dealing with her baggage, and the true story of the latter part of Charlie's life being slowly revealed in the process. 

Bottom line: The book was unmemorable. Not bad. But not good either. The narrative was engaging. But nothing special. The characters were well-developed. But nothing special. The plotline was decent and well-paced. But nothing special.

I think I've made my point. Feel free to read it, it's certainly not a trainwreck. It's very well-done. But I highly doubt you'll be reveling in the past and thinking, "What an amazing book, I had such a great time reading it." It's most likely going to be more like, "Huh? What? No, I don't believe I've read that one before..."

-Hannah 

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