Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Road Trip Wednesday: Best Book of July

Linking up with YA Highway for Road Trip Wednesday! My favorite book that I read in July, hands down, was Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King. Vera has been in love with her best friend, Charlie, for years, even after he ditched her for the school’s slacker crowd. She knows all his secrets, so when he mysteriously dies, Vera is faced with the choice of telling the authorities what she knows about that night and clearing Charlie’s name or keeping that knowledge to herself.

The story focuses mainly on Vera’s life, post-Charlie’s death. It’s a pretty honest portrayal of grief and denial, with Vera hiding a vodka bottle under the seat of her car and swigging from it while on her pizza delivery runs (she’s a “Pizza Delivery Technician”). She’s such an honest character. She does stupid things and hangs out with the wrong people and reacts badly to certain situations. She’s real. And I love that.

Another aspect to the story is the point of view change. While the majority of the story is told by Vera, there are shifts to her father’s POV. He is a recovering alcoholic struggling to raise Vera without his wife, who abandoned the family years ago. Charlie even gets some snippets, aptly titled A Word from the Dead Kid. And the Pagoda, the town’s slightly tacky landmark, makes a few statements about the state of life.

This book was emotional, surprisingly funny, and oddly beautiful. I definitely recommend it to anyone who loves real characters. You will feel for Vera, I promise.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz is a 2011 Michael L. Printz Honor Book.

8 comments:

  1. i was just thinking about vera last night, and how much i loved the pov shifts. it was probably one of my favorite books of last year.

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  2. I think I've heard of this one, but I didn't know what it was about. My TBR list is getting seriously ridiculous now. :)

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  3. I've had this one on my list for awhile. Interesting about the POV shift; usually that seems like a no-no (to an adult POV) in YA, but when it's done well, I love those kinds of risks in storytelling. It makes the story more unique.

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  4. Oh I've heard so much about this book lately. It's on my wishlist I just haven't got to it yet... might have to bump it up the list.

    Is the POV change on a chapter by chapter basis or mid-chapter like Clan of the Cave Bear?

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    1. The POV changes are sporadic. The book is dominated by Vera's POV, and maybe every fifty pages or so, there'll be two pages from her Dad's, or one from Charlie's. It's just enough for the other characters to explain their side of the story, because there are certain pieces of information we as readers just can't get from Vera.

      Definitely bump it up on your wishlist, it's a great one! :)

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  5. I definitely need to add this one to my TBR list.

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  6. Some of our YA Confidential teens have told me I have to read this and reading this post makes me want to bump it up the TBR NOW. :) Great review!

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    1. Go for it! It's a really fresh take on loss and father/daughter relationships (I didn't expect the father/daughter part going in, but it wound up as one of my favorite aspects of the story). Hope you love it!

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