Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Please Ignore Vera Dietz

by A.S. King
published: Ember, 2012 (first published 2010)
pages: 326

Vera spent most of her life keeping her best friend, Charlie's secrets, even after he betrayed her.  Even after he ruined everything.  So when Charlie dies under mysterious circumstances, will she continue to hold the secrets that might just help clear his name?  Does she even want to?

This is my first experience with A. S. King, despite the entire internet yelling that all of these books should be read.  I'm not going to lie, I couldn't put it down and when I had to all I did was think about the book.  I had this incredible desire for everything to turn out alright, but as we know from the first page or so, nothing turns out alright.  I wanted to hate this book because it wasn't what I expected it to be, but I can't.  I can't and here's why:

The story telling is amazing.  I loved the short chapters from different points of view.  The story is mostly told from Vera's POV, but we get snippets from other characters and inanimate objects, which are hilarious.  There's also a POV that is all knowing, but doesn't quite understand how to explain everything to Vera, mostly because he's dead and he can't talk to her in the conventional way.

The short chapters are great because you get more of each character glimpses at a time.  They bounce around from present to history to explain relationships and reasons why Vera is mad or wants to be considered invisible.  It great storytelling really.  I was hooked by this book.

The characters in this book felt real, like I was reading something that actually took place.  Everything seemed gritty and raw from the way characters interacted to the way they made choices and the parentage that the characters tried to deny.  I was incredibly frustrated with choices that characters made, the same way I would have been frustrated if my friends would have made these choices.

There's a reason this book was awarded the Printz Honor.  I cannot wait to read more of A.S. King's books.  In fact, Everybody Sees the Ants is on my shelf right now waiting to be read.

Stars: 5/5


"A harrowing but ultimately redemptive tale of adolescent angst gone awry."
     --Kirkus Reviews, starred

"Deeply suspenseful and profoundly human."
     --Publishers Weekly, starred

"Vera's struggle to put Charlie and his besmirched name behind her is at the crux of this whitty, thought-provoking novel, but nothing compares to the gorgeous unfurling of Vera's relationship with her father... [A]n arresting tale."
     --Booklist, starred

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