I saw this book on the Printz list that just came out and thought it looked good. I also read Reading Rants' review and then just had to get it. I can say that while this book is pretty depressing in a lot of ways, I really liked it.
Please Ignore Vera Dietz is a book about Vera, who's gone through some pretty rough stuff in her life. She's a good student, responsible young woman, and hard worker. Her mother left her father and her. The two (Ken and Vera) have been doing the best they know how. Vera's best friend and next door neighbor, Charlie, has been her right-hand man for most of the two teens' lives. Vera and Charlie have had their ups and downs but have kept their friendship going through the years, that is until these last few years of high school. Charlie started hanging out with the "detentionheads" and the horrible Jenny Flick. Vera doesn't fit in with this group, and Charlie starts to change and ignore her. He's not himself. He seems to turn as bad as the kids he hangs out with. Vera still hopes he's not that bad, but she feels like she probably needs to just give up on their friendship, even though she really doesn't want to. All of this weighs on Vera because Charlie dies. Their history and all the things that happened during their time together haunt Vera. The circumstances of Charlie's death are mysterious. Vera also seems to know more about what happened the night Charlie died than she lets on to her Dad and to us, the readers.
The book is told mostly from Vera's point of view with "brief words" from others such as Charlie, Ken Dietz (Vera's dad), and the Pagoda (a run-down local landmark). Vera also fills you in on the history of her and Charlie's friendship. The back and forth helps you put the details of the story together. I really liked Vera and most of the other characters, too. Even though Charlie was strange and had issues, I still felt like he deserved a chance. Same thing about Vera's dad. He's doing his best, and while he may not always say the right thing or parent is the "correct" way, he does what he does for Vera, and he's a good person.
This book is dark and like I said before, sad. But it was worth it. I was happy with the ending and the understandings to which the characters came. I definitely think it was a great read and deserving to be a Printz honor book. Check it out!