Please Don’t Ignore ‘Vera Dietz’

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Wow. Have I got a book for you.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz, by A.S. King

The description, courtesy of Amazon:

Vera’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?

This book has it all: flesh-and-blood characters, compelling story and a mystery that King reveals like one of those old-fashioned bombs you see in cartoons. The spark slowly eats up the fuse as it winds around the gunpowder kegs and you just know around the next turn the whole thing’s gonna blow.

Reading Vera Dietz is like watching a slow and beautiful explosion.

It’s a story about friendship and family and what happens when people start being honest with themselves and each other. It is wacky and heartbreaking and full of truth.

But what I loved most about this book –as a writer –is that it breaks so many of the YA genre rules.

You know the rules, don’t you?

“Kids don’t want to read about adults.”

“Juggling too many points of view can be confusing.”

“No prologues.”

Yeah. Please Ignore Vera Dietz thumbs its nose at rules.

Chapters told from the point of view of a forty-something father? Check.

Chapters told from the point of view of an inanimate object? Check.

Flowcharts? Yep. Flowcharts.

And all of it works.

All of it.

Especially the flowcharts. We’re not talking business-meeting-yawn flowcharts here. We’re talking philosophical-life-changing flowcharts that develop character and advance the plot. Seriously. Who knew flowcharts could be so…wow.

At writers conferences, one question always gets asked: What are Agent X and Editor Z looking for? What’s hot right now? What’s selling?

Not once has an agent or editor said, “You know, I’d love to read something with flowcharts and a snarky pagoda.”

What Agent X and Editor Z say again and again is:

  • Don’t worry about trends
  • Write the book you want to read
  • Write the best book you can

Agents and editors are looking for fresh stories with voices that draw them in. Books they can’t stop reading.

And that’s what Please Ignore Vera Dietz is. A book you can’t stop reading.

For writers, it’s a book that can teach you a lot about writing. It taught me that you can write outside of the box, if you do it well.

A.S. King does it well.


7 thoughts on “Please Don’t Ignore ‘Vera Dietz’

    Kimberly Sabatini said:
    November 1, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Can’t wait to dig in-thanks for the heads up!

    tahliaN said:
    November 1, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    This sounds so refreshing, especially your comment on the POV changes. I’ve been going through my ms trying to make my changes in POV follow the rules, but as I read it I’m saying – but it works like this, it flows smoothly from one to the other. So this is great to hear.

    I’ll definitely be chasing it up, if only to see how effectively King breaks the rules – way to go.

      Amy K. Nichols said:
      November 7, 2010 at 4:39 pm

      The POV changes work so well in the book. I hope you’ll come back and tell me what you think of the book after you’ve read it. 🙂

    Lisa Nowak said:
    November 6, 2010 at 8:07 am

    Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Erin said:
    December 21, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    I too, loved the flow charts. Flow charts and I have a long-standing love-affair, though. They managed to be silly, and serious, and philosophical, and brilliant in this book. I also loved the snarky pagoda.

    I wasn’t expecting to love this book quite that much, honestly.

      Amy K. Nichols said:
      December 30, 2010 at 11:01 pm

      A belated reply, Erin, to say I’m so glad you enjoyed the book, too. Another other thing I’m realizing I liked about the book is the hopeful ending. 🙂 Thank you for taking time to comment!

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