Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Review: Choker by Elizabeth Woods

Description: 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?

Language: Moderate/Heavy
Violence: Moderate/Heavy
Sexual: Mild

There is no way I can write this review without having some spoilers. So you have been warned. Read further at your own risk.

Cara is a girl nobody has paid much attention to since she moved to this new town full of fresh starts and new opportunities. But she doesn’t see this in that optimistic fashion, and therefore does not seem to make a huge effort to make any new friends. She is pretty much invisible until she gets distracted staring at Ethan and a baby carrot gets lodged in her windpipe, and that is where the bullying really begins.


Perhaps this is one of the reasons Zoe dislikes Alexis and Sydney so much; firstly, because Alexis is Ethan’s girlfriend, and secondly, because Sydney and Alexis have never been on a good side with Cara, despite the fact that she did nothing to bother them besides that Heimlich situation. The thing is, Zoe is very close to Cara and would do absolutely anything to help her out.


Lost in a web of accusations and crime, Cara practically watches from the sidelines as one girl is found dead, and not too long afterwards she hears of another girl missing. What little remorse Cara has for the fact that the two bullies are dead and missing is long gone. Or at least, it is for Zoe.

But lately, Zoe has been extremely odd. Cara’s mother’s cat is scratching at her at any chance he can get, and let’s not forget the fact that she continues leaving Cara’s room and going to the fairly-abandoned farm. Something is definitely up with Zoe, but she doesn’t let Cara even ask what her problem is. Now her parents are getting suspicious and, as it always been, it’s all Zoe’s fault.

You should be grateful.

And Clara should be grateful she has her best friend back. And she is at first, until she watches her best friend slowly wither away before her very eyes. Is she sick? And why does she disappear in all the opportune moments?

I did all of this for you.

In Choker, you won’t just discover things aren’t always stated by-the-book, nor will you just understand more about Clara or Zoe. By the time you finish reading this thrilling adventure, you will also discover a little bit more about yourself. It will leave you thinking long after you finish it and then some.

But remember one last thing.

Be careful not to choke.

Cover: I really like this cover, but I wish it had more to do with the actual story behind it. I’m wondering if the rose on the cover relates to the phrase: “Every rose has its thorn.”

Setting: A small town, high school filled with drama, and a realization that puts Cara way in over her head.

Characters: Cara is a girl who feels secluded, nervousness, and slight depression because she moved away from her “friend.” Because of some of the things she said and did, she was not my favorite character, but the story leaks out strong emotion coming from her and her reactions were realistic, and I enjoyed that.
-Zoe: from who Cara remembers as a nice but mischievous friend she left back home is slowly dissipating the more she comes to know Zoe after she finds her randomly sitting on her bed.
-Cara’s parents: although caring, they can be a little overprotective of her at times. The amount of times they were asking her if she was okay made me sigh along with Cara. But as the story progressed, I understood the reason for their worries.
-Ethan, Alexis, and Sidney: also known as the popular crowd, Ethan, a sweet and thoughtful boy who Cara has a crush on but happens to be dating a very protective, jealous, rude, and catty Alexis. Sidney is Alexis’ best friend, who is more of the side-kick, but is very close to Alexis nonetheless.

Storyline: A depressed girl finds herself wound deep in a terrifying adventure after she finds her best friend she moved away from sitting on her bed one day.

Writing: Honestly, I liked the writing. It described the emotions of Cara very well and the descriptions of the murders weren’t over-the-topic but still specific, something the squeamish readers will appreciate.

Surprises: The end made my jaw drop. There was some predictability in this book, but the ending was heartbreaking.

Overall: 4.5 stars. If you want a quick read that’ll keep you interested, this one is for you.

Recommended: I would definitely recommend Choker. Read this if you love a good psychological thriller that isn’t freaky enough to make you sleep with the lights on, but is scary enough to make you look over your shoulder and sneak into your own intricate personalities.

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