Review: Choker by Elizabeth Woods
Published January 4th 2011 by Simon & Schuster
Choker has been on my to be read list since it came out in 2011. During that time, the book kicked up some dust with its rather disturbing story seemingly at odds with the cute pink cover. The reviews were all rather mysterious, trying very hard not to spoil anything important.
Cara is not the popular kid in school. She does track, but it’s almost as if she’s invisible to the other kids in school. She is always on the side, and is often the butt of jokes. One day she chokes on a piece of carrot, and the bullying intensifies. When she comes home, she find her old best friend Zoe in her bedroom. But when people start to get hurt, Cara suspects Zoe isn’t being completely honest with her.
Choker is about many things; bullying, grieving, loss, mental illness, distant parents or abusive parents. It skirts most of them, just letting them touch the story, and only really dives into one or two. I liked that it didn’t try to give any answers, didn’t try to make it into one big happy hugfest in the end. Because of this the story is rather disturbing though, and actually quite sad.
I’m not someone that has a long attention span, and I rarely read a book in one sitting. If my Kindle hadn’t run out of battery when I was at 75%, I’m sure I would have been able to finish it at once. The book is a small 230 pages long, yet it didn’t feel too short it all. The length was perfect for the story, and the creepiness factor helps to keep you turning the pages at a high speed.
Suspicious as I am, I already knew what the plot twist was going to be at around twenty percent. This didn’t make me enjoy the story itself any less, but it did make the ending a bit less of a shocker for me. Choker is a good, sad little book.
Sixteen-year-old Cara Lange has been a loner ever since she moved away from her best and only friend, Zoe, years ago. She eats lunch with the other girls from the track team, but they’re not really her friends. Mostly she spends her time watching Ethan Gray from a distance, wishing he would finally notice her, and avoiding the popular girls who call her “Choker” after a humiliating incident in the cafeteria.
Then one day Cara comes home to find Zoe waiting for her. Zoe’s on the run from problems at home, and Cara agrees to help her hide. With her best friend back, Cara’s life changes overnight. Zoe gives her a new look and new confidence, and next thing she knows, she’s getting invited to parties and flirting with Ethan. Best of all, she has her BFF there to confide in.
But just as quickly as Cara’s life came together, it starts to unravel. A girl goes missing in her town, and everyone is a suspect—including Ethan. Worse still, Zoe starts behaving strangely, and Cara begins to wonder what exactly her friend does all day when she’s at school. You’re supposed to trust your best friend no matter what, but what if she turns into a total stranger?
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