For my class I needed to choose a Printz Award Winner or Honor book. My choice was Please Forget Vera Dietz by A.S. King. I had absolutely no idea what this book was about when I chose it and will admit that I picked it because I loved the cover.
Vera’s best friend Charlie is dead but not quite gone. She sees him a lot, usually at really inconvenient times like when other people are around. He is trying to tell her something, but she doesn’t want to listen.
Vera’s dad’s motto - “Ignore it Vera.”
Ignore the fact that Charlie’s dad beats his wife; ignore Charlie’s weird relationship with a guy who tried to lure them into a car 6 years earlier; ignore what people say about you; ignore that your mom left; ignore everything. Vera’s attempt to ignore things does what it does to most people who don’t deal with things, it exacerbates (one of Vera’s vocabulary words) them.
Vera turns to drinking even though her dad is a recovering alcoholic and his dad was an alcoholic (and his dad too). Vera discovers that a couple of drinks make the pain more bearable. With a couple of drinks she can deal with her job delivering pizzas, her relationship with her dad, her failure to deal with Charlie’s death.
Watching Vera come to terms with Charlie’s death and deal with her own life is powerful. Like Melinda in Speak, Vera transforms from “invisible Vera Dietz” to “invincible Vera Dietz.” Vera finds her voice, her power, her confidence and herself.