Rating: 5.0/5.0 stars
Summary: When her best friend, whom she secretly loves, betrays her and then dies under mysterious circumstances, high school senior Vera Dietz struggles with secrets that could help clear his name.
Although this book had been in my mind for a few months, it took the book being a 2011 Printz Honor book for me to move it up to the front of my “to be read” list. When I first picked this book up, I thought to myself, “Ok, this book is going to be about Vera getting over the loss of her friend and trying to figure out some mystery.” Although both of these points were in the book, there was so much more to it. The chapters unfolded in different ways. For example, there were “history” chapters in which Vera narrates her history, mostly in terms of her friendship with Charlie, since she was 11. There are other chapters told from Vera’s dad’s point of view and from Charlie’s point of view. I like this technique because, although the story is mostly told from Vera’s point of view, adding brief moments from other characters makes readers see from a whole new, rather different perspective.
This method of alternating chapters between the past and the present also allows the story to unfold slowly. Now, in no way am I trying to say that plot was slow and boring, actually it was just the opposite. Instead, bits and pieces of the story are given creating suspense and intrigue. When Vera would give away one bit of information, it made me want to continue reading the book that much more. In addition, just when you think you know what’s going to happen in various parts of the book, you will be thrown off course and surprised.
What I probably enjoyed most about this book is how easy it was to connect with the characters and feel their emotions, whether it was happiness, pain, excitement, ect. During parts of the book when Vera was sad, I wanted to comfort her like she was one of my close friends. When Vera’s dad is confused and angry, I wanted to sit down with him and explain the situation Vera was going through. Although this book features a lot of sadness and pain from Charlie’s death, there are so many more feelings explored including happiness, love, disgust, angst, terror, and more.
As a side note…how would you feel if your best friend not only haunted you to get you to clear their name…but there were hundreds of copies of the person haunting you? Literally, hundreds of Charlies haunting Vera. Crazy!
This is one of those books that not only will you not want to put down until the very end, but that features so many intricate levels and layers that you’ll want to re-read it to make sure you “got” everything. Once I started this book, I just couldn’t get it out of my head and found myself up late at night trying to finish it. Once it did end, I was sad. Not necessarily sad because of the ending, but sad that the book was done and that I could no longer connect with the characters. Please Ignore Vera Dietz was beautifully written and told a great story that will appeal to a variety of readers.