I was really surprised. I've always liked the Printz-honor books, but this one was so BORING. I didn't expect it to be like that. From what I've read so far, King has a weird writing style: in Everybody Sees the Ants, the main character hallucinates about Vietnam and ants; in this one, Vera sees her dead ex-best-friend hanging around in her car while she makes pizza deliveries. So, funnily enough, that didn't take me back.
From what I read, Charlie sucked. Yes, he went through some bad times, but turning on your best friend is one of the worst things you can do to a person. I don't get how begging for help changes that. Vera continued to love Charlie, even after he threw dog shit at her, out-ed her most embarrassing secrets, and let her walk home from a party by herself. In fact, after the first couple of crappy things he did to her, I got the point: Charlie turned into an asshole, a near-unforgivable asshole at that. But King just kept giving out more examples of his asshole behavior: he called her names, HIT her, and abandons her at the pet store after he begged for her help. So, yes, unforgivable.
So why did King then turn the narrative around and make it seem like Charlie was this poor, wronged guy that Vera had to apologize to? Once King showed me all of those terrible things things, how exactly am I supposed to forgive Charlie? Sure, once upon a time he was Vera's best friend, but he completely tomahawked that relationship. Vera owes him nothing; people shouldn't feel responsible for toxic people. Charlie chose to start hurting Vera. It's not her problem, and it's not healthy that she kept him on a pedestal for so long after that.
I just missed the boat on this book, that's all. I wasn't wrapped up in the language, knotted-up over the bad characters, or racing along with the plot. Instead, I saw how Charlie sucked--over and over again. It got a little redundant, and really ironic, since Charlie is supposed to be seen in a new light at the end of the book.