Even though Charlie, Vera’s longtime friend, is dead, he keeps appearing to her. Sometimes she sees dozens of Charlies at one time filling up the back seat of her car and forcing her to put on a local heavy metal station she hates. The last thing nearly everyone remembers about Charlie is a horrible crime he supposedly committed the night he died, but Vera can’t see how the accusation could be true. Vera’s dad wants her to forget about Charlie and focus on school and her job working as a pizza delivery driver, though she refers to herself as a pizza delivery technician. Vera’s thoughts about Charlie are further complicated by the fact that some time before he died he ditched Vera to hang out with the stoners at their school.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz was an honor book for the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. It’s one of those rare books that upon finishing I wanted to reread immediately. Despite the serious sounding subject matter, the book is really a dark comedy. Vera’s voice is distinct, funny, and believable. The novel mainly tells Vera’s side of the story, but the point of view switches at times to Charlie, who is referred to as the dead kid, or Vera’s dad, who contributes several flow charts to help illustrate his views on life. This hybrid of mystery, comedy, and the coming-of-age novel is well worth the time.

John

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