By Bonnie Adams, Government Editor
Westborough – For the past several months local teens and adults have been reading and discussing the book, “Please Ignore Vera Dietz,” by acclaimed author, A.S. King, as part of a community-wide initiative, “Westborough Reads Together.” The program culminated with King's visit to Westborough April 10 where she met with participants in a series of events.
King first spent the day at Westborough High School (WHS), where she spoke at an all-grades assembly, had lunch with several students and then taught two classes. At the end of the school day, she signed copies of her books and chatted informally with students in the school's library. Later that night, she held a book signing at Tatnuck Bookseller.
King said the support of the entire community for the project was “really amazing.”
“Everyone involved – the library, the schools, the local TV, the media – has been incredible. It was amazing to watch and learn,” she said. “It's been an education – it's something that I can take with me back home and try to implement in my community.
“I really feel that teen literacy is an area that is overlooked. It's not funded enough,” she added. “And it's important to get teens and adults together. I love writing books that helps to join them together.”
The plot of “Please Ignore Vera Dietz” centers on Vera, an 18 year old who harbors mixed feelings after the boy she has secretly been in love with for years passes away under mysterious circumstances.
Several WHS students who met with King at the school's book signing shared their thoughts on the novel.
“I thought it was very strange, but really compelling,” Urvya Iyer said. “I also really liked the style of her writing.”
“I kind of related to the characters – they were interesting and funny,” Yustina Kang said.
Sami Barbosa said she felt the initiative helped to achieve the goal of getting adults and teens talking together.
“The book gives a good perspective on what teens think,” she said. “It gives adults another view of teens.”
Namita Bhyravbhatla admitted that she had not yet read the book but would probably do so.
“I really liked her presentation today,” she added. “It's good to hear from someone who cares about us and what we are feeling.”
The project was initiated by Maureen Ambrosino, the Westborough Public Library director and Anita Celluci, the WHS librarian. Supporters included Westborough Youth and Family Services, Westborough TV, the Friends of the Westborough Public Library, the Westborough Civic Club, Farrell Family Foundation, the Community Advocate, Tatnuck Bookseller, the Rotary Club of Westborough, the Congregational Women's Fellowship, the Sleigh Maker Inn, and several other private contributors.