Thursday, 19 June 2014

Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King

Please Ignore Vera DietzVera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything. So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?

A.S. King is an author that I've wanted to read for a long time. This wasn't the book that I wanted to read of hers first - I had my heart set on Ask the Passengers, but I'm glad I read this when I did. I only finished this today but I feel that this is one of those reviews that I need to write and post straight away.

Here's me using surprised in a sentence;
I was really surprised by this book.

Anyone who has read Please Ignore Vera Dietz will know that Vera uses this style of phrase frequently throughout the book. But, as the phrase says, I genuinely was surprised by this book, and one of the reasons for this is because of going into it blind. The part of me that thought I knew what to expect, definitely expected something else.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz is about Vera, an 18 year old whose best friend recently died in suspicious circumstances. Vera's main focus is trying to get over Charlie's death - someone who she still cared about even if the feeling was not mutual. 

Vera was a very likeable character and she was well developed into someone who had an interesting perspective to read from. I could understand a lot of her emotions and why although Charlie had broken her heart she knew that she would always love him. I could also understand why she was so livid at him. But whilst I appreciated Vera as a character, I didn't understand a lot of the decisions that she made. A lot of the time Vera came across as incredibly naive and I just wanted to scream at her for not tuning in to what was really going on. Charlie had protected Vera to an extent, but that made her appear to be obnoxious to reality. Early on it we establish that Charlie is doing something horrendous that means Vera never quite tunes into reality. This is not revealed until near the end of the book and the ambiguous style helped with adding to the book's mysterious nature. 

Changing perspectives that varied from chapter to chapter worked well hiding the end's revelation. For example; there were chapters from Vera, Charlie (referenced to as "The Dead Kid",) and Vera's father. A.S King uses magical realism in her novels and in this, her second one, a pagoda in Vera's town has it's own voice throughout the book. Having inanimate objects empowered with their own voices was a fascinating detail. 

Problem-wise, my main issue was the slow pace. There were points were about 200 pages in I just thought "When is this going to end?" because nothing seemed to be happening. Day to day events were taking place but nothing was moving the plot forward. When events did occur, the would happen all at once. Due to this often it would be hard to taken in everything that was happening. Another problem was the way that Charlie acted. I don't think I could ever like his character, apart from the parts where he narrated the book. I won't go into why as that will spoiler the story. 

A truly moving and surprisingly honest read.

Holly x

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