Author: Elizabeth Woods
Published: January 4th 2011 by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Summary: 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?
Thoughts: If one of Stephen King's books had a baby with one of Sarah Dessen's, the result would be Choker. I know what you're thinking, "but the cover is so nice!" Yes, but take a closer look. It's still a little creepy, especially if you flip it over and take a look at the back. The quote on the back is "What are best friends for?". Apparently more than just sleepovers and shopping dates.
Choker is part mystery, part thriller, and all high school drama. One thing I enjoyed about the book is the description the author puts into each character. Cara (being the social outcast) has many awkward and humiliating moments, and I could feel all of them. It was nice to see Cara transform because of Zoe. Her best friend gave her confidence, so that was nice. But then things took a turn for the creepy. One second, they have this nice friendship I could totally relate to, then the next, Zoe would come up with some incredibly disturbing idea or thought that gave me the heebie jeebies. I'm shuddering now just thinking about them. While their friendship wasn't exactly good nor bad, I will say it is unique.
For those who must have at least a teaspoon of romance in their reads (I know I'm one of those people!), there's Ethan. Out of all the characters, Ethan was my favorite. I loved his kindness and caring heart. His encounters with Cara were so sweet and genuine. I mean, this kid practically had me at hello. At times, I felt so bad for this kid. There's a lot going on, and he's pretty much caught up in the middle. Not exactly the place you want your only swoon-worthy candidate to be.
Though I did enjoy the storyline and the writing, I pretty much figured out what was going on 100 pages in. I think if I was younger, I wouldn't have figured it out so quickly. After all, this was written for the 14 and up crowd, and I haven't been 14 in ages. Even so, I was still curious as to how the story would unfold. Just because you know what's going on doesn't mean you know how it's going to end. And that ending? Wow.
While some may figure out the ending and some won't, I still think this is an enjoyable read. It's different than most YA books out there, and I completely appreciate that.