Please Ignore Vera Dietz - A. S. King "Please Ignore Vera Dietz" is a well written problem-oriented book.

It tells the story of 18-years-old Vera who recently lost her best and probably only friend Charlie Kahn twice: First a few months ago when the a group of up-to-no-goods called The Detentionsheads, led by notorious liar and exaggerator Jenny Flick, decided to assimilate Charlie into their group and reached their goal by systematically alienating Charlie from Vera (lies, rumours, ridicule), and last and finally when some prank or coup involving cruel abuse of animal center pets and The Detentionheads caused Charlie's sudden death. Vera admits to the reader that - in contrast to the police - she knows the exact circumstances of her former friends demise and that someone - who is not Charlie as everybody presumes - is to blame. Because of this exclusive knowledge and her refusal to act on it Vera feels haunted by Charlie - whom she loves and hates - and by their shared past as neighbors and playmates. Vera had a harmonious childhood, which is rather surprising since her parents, both high-school drop-outs had her at 18, and her father, a teenaged alcoholic, stopped drinking only when he recognized that this baby daughter’s life was endangered because of his problem. After her mom left the family to become a Las Vegas dancer, her father’s only concern became to keep Vera from fatefully following her parents’ steps. His motto: „Fight you destiny and ignore everybody else’s problems“. Vera isn’t good at either: She always resented not being allowed to get help when noise errupted next door and lately she has to stock up her secret stash of Vodka coolers under her driver’s seat pretty often. Charlie’s life seemed to be much more normal to the outsider, but Vera knew – without having to talk to Charlie about it – that behind closed doors violence and abused ruled the house, which resulted in Charlie acting aloof and cool, rebelling against his weak mom, dressing in dirty and torn rags, keeping her and everybody else at distance and having trust issues even with his oldest friend.

A friend of mine said he couldn’t comprehend why Vera had been friends with Charlie in the first place and what she admired in him. I did not ask myself these questions, although I did not like Charlie. First, because if you admire someone from early childhood on it sticks. My brother did not stop hanging around a slightly older kid from our neighborhood even after that thug almost suffocated him by stuffing grass down his throat to amuse his entroutage. Second, because broken kids sometime develop some addictive or interesting traits: They manage to repaint their reality in brighter colors because they have to cope. Others naturally get sucked in easily. Charlie used to pray to the Great Hunter and he built his tree house – his means of escape – with unmatched enthusiasm.

So, you see: I think this book deals with serious problems (domestic violence, bullies, alcoholism, repeating the past, finding your way ...) and it depicts them in a realistic way. I even liked Vera and her dad, even her mom. But when I noticed I was flicking the pages quicker and quicker not because I was so excited, but because I hoped the story would end soon, I decided to call it quits at page 139.

For me, personally, it is absolutely necessary that a book offers me enjoyment. I like to ponder about a story and I admire stories that delve under the surface, but I need hope throughout the book and I need a little fun. I was never able to connect to those young adult books that solely dealt with teenage drinking or drugs or rape or unemployment or mental deseases in order to cause awareness. (= No Christiane F. for me, please). Consequently I was looking for the secenes that made Ellen Hopkins publish the blurb „Brilliant. Funny. Really special.“ to no avail and I was severely disappointed. Others have different expectations when reading a problem-focused story and these expectations are obiously met (see average rating). So do not be put off because of my taste in YA. But if you are rather like me, I recommend Sweethearts by Sarah Zarr or Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson. Both do not paint pink, but offer a certain something, too.