Thursday 19 May 2011

Choker by Elizabeth Woods

Pages - 233

Published by Simon @Schuster - New York

Cara Lange stood in the doorway of the cafeteria, her nylon lunch bag in one hand. The din of chattering students floated above the sea of white Formica-topped tables, and a steamy potato-and-onion aroma emanated from the kitchen. Cara paused. She wasn't sure she could stand another lunch tacked onto the other track girls like a vestigial organ - completely useless and unnecessary. She considered fleeing to the parking lot and eating lunch in her yellow '99 Volvo. But no. She wasn't that lame. 
Not yet.

Cara is a bit of loner at school. She doesn't like to stand out too much in case she gets picks on and hides out on the fringes of the athletic crowd. She misses her childhood friend, Zoe, and has struggled to find a new best friend since she moved away from her. Cara is thrown into the arena of the popular crowd when an incident causes her to be renamed the 'Choker'. Cara is mortified.

On arriving home, Cara is shocked to find Zoe waiting for her. Zoe is in a lot of trouble at home and in need of a safe place to hide. She asks Cara to keep her hidden whilst she decides what to do. Cara, happy to have her friend back, agrees. With Zoe's arrival, her life begins to take a turn for the better, she starts to find that that people actually do like her and draws the attention of Ethan, one of the popular crowd. Cara's life is just getting better and better.

However, life in Cara's town is not so sweet, when a couple of the popular girls begin to disappear. Cara begins to question Zoe's appearance back in her life and wonders if she is really the friend she thought she was.

This book threw me completely. I am not normally one for psychological dramas, but I think I may have found a new genre to increase my nights without sleep. I was thoroughly taken in by the two main characters of this book and the whole storyline.

I get the impression that I am easily sucked in and perhaps a bit gullible, because I am definitely one of a minority group who did not see the ending coming. I was totally shocked by it. This is a toe curling, edge of the seat, nail biting style book that can be read in one sitting if curiosity gets the better of you.

I felt sympathy for Cara quite early on in the story and was quite content to watch her enemies fall down like skittles. Zoe made me really uncomfortable, my weirdo radar went into overdrive as soon as she graced us with her presence. I can spot a nutter within a ten mile radius and this one made my skin crawl. 

There was one part of the story which I found a little hard to believe and that was the part where Ethan instantly fell for the charms of Cara, whilst his present girlfriend has gone missing. Not an ounce of grief seemed to surface from his cool exterior. I understand that his missing girlfriend wasn't the nicest of people, but I did feel he might appear to be a tad remorseful.

And I cannot help but wonder why Cara's parents were completely unaware of what was going on in their own house. As parents, do we develop blinkers when our children hit puberty? Young adult novels are teaching me to keep a careful eye on my children as they reach this stage!

On the whole, a brilliant psychological drama from a debut author, one who I will be happy to look out for in the future. If you like to be stunned into silence, then personally I would recommend this book. If you are quick to spot a hidden finale, then you might find this one too much of an easy picking for you. 


  1. Ooh now would I guess or not? My lot are always complaining I should just write the scripts for the various murder drama we watch after I proclaim whodunnit within the first half hour... not sure how that would carry through to books :P

    Does sound good.

  2. Sounds interesting, I am not sure I would be able to do it justice at the moment.

  3. Oooh, I love a book like that from time to time. I'm curious about how Cara got the nickname Choker.

  4. I was on the edge of my seat reading your The book would really have me going :D

  5. What an exciting review! You've certainly made me want to read the book. Have added it to my wishlist :)

  6. Looking at the cover I would never have guessed this was a psychological thriller - mind you, like yourself, I'm not too good at guessing and only rarely see the ending coming.

  7. I like the sound of this one! Psychological thriller is one of my favorite genres. I'll keep this in mind.

  8. I love psychological dramas... wonder if I would have seen what was coming. I've missed some pretty obvious clues over the years.

  9. Vivienne, this sounds like an edge-of-your-seat thriller! Excellent review. I love this type of "school mystery".

  10. Carmen - I bet you would get it straight away, putting me to shame. LOL

    Emma - not for you then, hun.

    Kathy - I wasn't going to give the secret away. Already been accused this week of giving away too many spoilers!

    Animewookie - you will enjoy it.

    Clarekirkpatrick - I hope you enjoy it.

    Petty Witter - the cover would never make you think it was a thriller. More like a romance!

    Alice Teh - hope you enjoy it.

    JoAnn - you sound like me!

    Suko - that is a good description for it 'school mystery'

  11. Sounds good and certainly different. I have never read a YA book like that

  12. It's on my wish list, and your review has made me want to read it NOW! I will probably go ahead and buy it off of amazon.....Great review!!

  13. Blodeuedd - the ending is certainly creepy!

    Missy B - I don't know whether to be happy or sad that I made you spend money. LOL

  14. Wow. Reading that plot, I was thinking it was a light YA coming-of-age. But a psychological drama? Hell yeah. I need a copy of this. :D

  15. I saw a few reviews of this one and it does sound really good. It's definitely one for the wishlist!

  16. HHAHA LOVE your comment about spotting a wierdo a mile off. I totally didnt get what was going to happen until the very end either. I knew I wouldn't like a friend like Zoe though! x

  17. sounds like a good psychological drama, especially if you were stunned like that while reading.


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