Monday, February 6, 2012

Review: Choker

Author: Elizabeth Woods
Rating: ✮✮✮
Book Depository | Indie Bound | Goodreads

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?

Choker is one of those novels I've been longing to read ever since reading the summary of it (and I absolutely love that cover, it's a gorgeous color scheme, with the ring of trees bearing down as if to choke the reader), and I was ecstatic when I finally noticed it (totally by accident!) at my library. It was the first of my picks to read, and I breezed through it in a day.

I was a tiny bit disappointed in the novel itself, but it's actually a pretty damn decent addition to the mystery/thriller area of YA fiction.

The novel focuses on Cara, who lives one of those awful teen lives as the butt of many jokes from the bitchy, popular girls. And honestly, she has nothing in her life that would make her stand out as a YA heroine. Yes, the story is about her, but there's so little to Cara as a person that we could have been reading about anyone else and the story would probably have progressed in the same manner. I wish there'd been a little bit more to her, that she could have stood up for herself once or twice. I did like that she slowly began to connect with school friends and developed a nice sort of budding romance with Ethan, her crush.

The addition of Zoe in Cara's life leads to a bit of a pick me up for Cara, but more importantly, Zoe added a bit of a kick to the plot. Once she was in the picture things took a turn for the interesting, and I spent half the time I was reading boggling at her crazy behavior and wondering if my own thoughts on whodunit were right.

(I was wrong, by the way. I can usually figure out the answer to the mystery before I'm done reading, but the reveal kicked me in the face and then laughed about it.)

In the end, Choker is a well done mystery with a character I would have liked a little more color from, but it was enjoyable nonetheless.

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