Kind, A. S. (2010). Please ignore Vera Dietz. New York, NY: Random House, Inc.
Vera Dietz is a girl who'd rather be under the radar... but the death of her best friend Charlie, who she also loved (and hated) has put her under a limelight she'd rather do without. Charlie and Vera were neighbors and best friends. As they grew up in their dysfunctional families (Charlie with an abusive father and when Vera was twelve, her mother left her and her dad), they struggled with feelings of love, self-esteem, sexuality, domestic violence, friendship, and abandonment. Then, Charlie dies of mysterious causes on the same day the pet store is burned. The whole town thinks it was Charlie who did it, except for Vera. Vera struggles with the idea to clear Charlie's name because she loved him even though their relationship was virtually nonexistent about five months before he died. In the midst of feeling hatred toward Charlie after death and missing him terribly, Vera does the right thing and comes forward with the truth about how Charlie's girlfriend burned the pet store. She puts his haunting ghosts to rest and begins the healing process between father and daughter.
This novel has intense topics for older teens and young adults. The topics of pedophelia and pornography are for mature audiences only. Nevertheless, these are topics and situations that teens face every day. Adults and teens smoke and drink to deal with their feelings of inadequacy, and these struggles also plague young teens in middle school. This novel is definitely a great read; there are excerpts that can be read with different age groups at the teacher's discretion. Skills to analyze conflict, character development, family dynamic, and thematic content for relevance can be achived with this novel.
Other novels with similar themes and content include:
Requirement: Selection by A. S. King
Book cover images found on Amazon.com