Please Ignore Vera Dietz, by A.S. King
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? (summary from www.goodreads.com)
I LOVED this book. The characters are solid and clear and ring true; the story is simple, yet deep and complex at the same time; and it's just quirky enough. I love that the author is able to take a sad, tragic moment in a girl's life and write a story that isn't melodramatic and isn't too dark and full of despair. At the same time, she doesn't make light of the major things going on in Vera's life. You feel her heartache, but the author paints a picture of life as being more than just heartache. There is love and hope and humor mixed up in there too. I loved Vera's journey through the book, and getting to see her relationship with Charlie, even knowing the bittersweet nature of that relationship. I also really loved Vera's dad and her relationship with him. Again, it's such a reflection of a true relationship: realistically imperfect. But still a solid relationship. These two need each other, and it's great to see them work through that as they both work through personal trauma as well.
Bottom line: excellent book.