Choker, by Elizabeth Woods – Book Review

Cara Lange has never found high school easy.  She moves abruptly, just in time for her freshman year, but never manages to carve out a niche for herself. Plus, she misses her best friend Zoe, with whom she did everything.  The latest run- in with kids at school has them making fun of a choking incident in the lunchroom.  She just can’t catch a break.  But the sudden arrival of her best friend goes a long way toward making everything right, until one classmate dies under mysterious circumstances and another goes missing.  Cara starts to wonder whether she and Zoe really know each other at all.

I read about Choker just a couple of weeks ago on Lenore’s blog and then found that I couldn’t leave it on the shelf during a recent book excursion.  So, it came home with me.  This is Elizabeth Wood’s debut novel and let me tell you, she is a quick study.  She quickly portrays a totally believable and completely miserable experience for Cara in high school and her suffering at the hands of the mean girls who run her school.

While Cara is overjoyed when her friend comes back into her life, Zoe does so under the sketchiest of circumstances.  The reader can’t help but worry for Cara who is blindly under Zoe’s spell.  Woods touches on a lot of sensitive issues that are rife among teenagers, from relentless teasing, insecurity, peer pressure,  first crushes and loneliness.  Zoe’s arrival and Cara’s subsequent makeover improve Cara’s self esteem, but the relationship between the two girls is not without strong undercurrents of unhealthiness and darkness.

In addition to heavy doses of teenage angst and parents on the periphery of the action, Choker has a heavy and effective thriller element.  The fact that Zoe has a potentially explosive secret, which she isn’t telling, makes for relentless uneasiness as the search for the missing girl intensifies, and the pressure doesn’t let up until the last page.  Recommended.

Read More Reviews At: Presenting Lenore – Debbie’s World of Books –  Book Hooked

1DA652C2516038AE4D02F55645591F39 On My Shelves – January 2011 Book Releases

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  1. Oh this sounds good — I first heard about it from Lenore too, but I haven’t yet brought it home with me. Hummmm. Perhaps I need to get to the store.

  2. I know, Lenore’s review grabbed me as well. This dare thing is harder than I’d ever imagined, thanks to you all! My daughter is into all the creepy, mysterious stuff and I think she would like this one. But if I order it from the library for her, I am going to be really tempted!

    1. It is a good choice for a creepy sort of read. It was very interesting to speculate on what was really going on. How long is tour challenge again? Til you drop? 3 months?

    1. That is very true. I think that situation works for me when it is woven in as a valid aspect of the story. All too often they are just MIA or at work in every conceivable situation. The parents are a little MIA here but there is some acknowledgement of why.

  3. I’m finding I haven’t been quite as drawn to YA lately, but this one sounds really good!! Sounds like the author did a good, realistic job of portraying all those teenage issues. Love when a book can do that and have other elements like the thrilling part you mentioned. I am very interested in this book now!

  4. Oh I just saw a mention of this book on Vivienne’s blog and loved the cover. Really enjoyed your review so it’s definitely going on my list 🙂

  5. WOW!!! If I picked up this book at a book store I would have put it right back down, but now thanks to you, if I ever see this book I will take it home and read it!! Thank you for this wonderful overview!! You don’t know how thankful I am!! I FUCKING LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3