Choker by Elizabeth Woods
Simon & Schuster, January 4, 2011
Read for 2011 Debut Author Challenge AND
A-Z Reading Challenge
A-Z Reading Challenge
Summary from 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.I enjoyed this story. It wasn't exactly what I thought it would be, but that's OK. I felt so badly for Cara while reading. She's a complete loner, and apparently has been ever since she moved away from Zoe in fifth grade. Classmates delight in teasing her, and her parents are not going to win any Parent of the Year Awards (and it they did, they'd probably have to miss the ceremony anyway).
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?
Readers will see Cara as a decent girl--bright, a decent athlete and, although she seemed shy, not completely lacking in basic social skills. In other words, she doesn't seem any better or worse than most high school girls. I couldn't really get a handle on why she was so alone, why she was only tolerated by her fellow track members, why she never really seemed to be an effort into being approachable. But again, that's OK; that lack of knowledge worked for this story. It also made readers appreciate Zoe all that much more when she reappears in Cara's life. Not only does Cara finally have someone to talk to, but Zoe's presence seems to give Cara the confidence boost she so desperately needs to succeed--not just survive--high school.
Until things start getting weird. Bad things start happening, and Cara can only explain the coincidences away for so long. And she must figure it out on her own, because she's sworn that she'd keep Zoe a secret from everyone.
It might have just been me, but I figured out the twists pretty early on in the story. Still, I couldn't figure out HOW the twists were there, so the story definitely kept me engaged until the end. Choker was a quick enough read, and I think Elizabeth Woods did a great job with her debut novel, and I would love to read more by her!
Borrowed book from library.
Enjoy your reading!