I decided to read this book after reading effcubed’s review. How could I resist a novel that includes flow charts?
Vera Dietz is a high school senior just trying to get by without anyone noticing her. This has been her goal since she found out at a fairly young age that her mom was a stripper for a brief time, before eventually leaving Vera and her dad for Las Vegas when Vera was 12. She works hard in school and at her job as a pizza delivery technician, but has been haunted for the past few months by the two dimensional ghosts of her best friend Charlie. Charlie died under circumstances that are only suspicious to Vera, and she knows that he wasn’t what people thought he was. Vera refuses to clear his name though because she is still hurt by his defection to the ‘detention heads’ in the months before he died. Despite what she proclaims, Vera has not gotten over Charlie’s death or her mother’s abandonment. Her dad’s well intentioned advice on the dangers of alcohol (he is a recovering alcoholic) does nothing to stop her from drinking any chance she gets.
The story is told by Vera in the present and in flashbacks, by Charlie, Vera’s dad (the one who loves flow charts), and the Pagoda, which I’m pretty sure is a failed restaurant, but it’s a little unclear. All the narrators were fantastic, especially the snarky Pagoda and Mr. Dietz, who is frustrated that his daughter is making the same mistakes that he did. I highly recommend this book to anyone; this is not the typical book that I go for but I’m really glad that I gave it a shot.