Choker by Elizabeth Woods

3:40 PM

Title: Choker
Author: Elizabeth Woods
Release Date: January 4, 2011 (hardcover)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Pages: 240
Source: Copy received from publisher

Overall: 4.5 Stars

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?

My Thoughts: 
Choker is one messed up novel and I mean that it in the most positive of senses. Dark, creepy, and even chilling at times, the novel left me completely on edge. It’s a short, quick read but I was enthralled the entire time I was reading, drawn into a story that seemed so predictable at first, but which soon turned out to be anything but.

Cara’s life hasn’t been easy since her family moved away years ago, leaving behind her best and only friend Zoe. Popular girls, like Alexis and Sydney, love to give her a hard time, and their taunting has only gotten worse since Cara choked on a carrot, giving her the nickname “Choker”. Things change when Zoe suddenly reappears back into her life after having run away from home, and Cara instantly agrees to help hide her away, all too happy to see her once again. Cara’s got her best friend back at her side and with Zoe’s help, she’s finally confidant enough to speak to her crush Ethan, even though his girlfriend is the awful Alexis. But just when Cara feels that everything is right again, a girl disappears from her school and Zoe begins to act strangely…

The friendship between Zoe and Cara is so tight that even after years of not seeing one another, they immediately pick up the pieces and act as though they were never separated. Cara’s alone and having a really tough time at school; she’s socially awkward and the popular girls easily pick up on this, giving her a difficult time. She comes across as a rather weak character in the beginning but with Zoe’s arrival, we begin to her personality change for the better as she grows into her own. She’s an outsider, but with a little more confidence, she gains the courage to put herself out there a little more.

Zoe’s personality was a whole other matter. Her behaviour was totally erratic- invested in helping Cara one moment and then the next, oddly detached and couldn’t care less. She had an almost possessive nature when it came to Cara and well, she sort of freaked me out…

The ending is crazy insane! Just when you think you have everything figured out, Elizabeth Woods pulls the rug out from under you and you’re left stunned. I swear if anyone saw me when I finished, I would have worn a stupefied expression because it was just that good. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, wracking my brain trying to remember any signs and they are there, but I just didn’t connect the dots until everything was spelled out for me already. The build-up to the end and the subsequent conclusion are so sudden, you’re just left reeling. I loved it!

Elizabeth Wood’s debut novel is a wonderful addition to the so few psychological thrillers to be found in the YA genre!

Thanks so much to Simon & Schuster Canada for sending me this copy!

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  1. I haven't heard much this book but I didn't realize it was psychological thriller! Now I must read it! Thanks so much for the review, Liz. :D

  2. Great Review!! I felt the same way about it. Very creepy (but in the best of ways)

  3. I've heard mixed reviews about this one, but I stil really want to read it. It looks like a good creepy read. Great Review!

  4. You just made me want to read it! Thanks for the review!

  5. I'm excited to read this one, I love the ones that are twisted and have crazy endings that leave you blinking with your jaw on the floor! Zoe sounds incredibly disturbed and I definitely want to know more about her and her erratic behavior. Thanks for this review Liz!

  6. I'm looking forward to this one so much that I think I might just have to read it next and then get back to my TBR pile. LOL

  7. Great review! I just got this over the past week! Can't wait to read it! Thank you for sharing!

  8. I used the word creepy in my review too! I really liked this book, and the ending WAS something I almost didn't see until right before it happened. It was a very absorbing read!

  9. It seems like lots of people were suprised by the ending and I gave my copy to my sister to read so I can't wait to see her reaction to it.

  10. Thanks for this review! This is a title that intrigued me, mainly because I really like the cover. But, I've been doing some digging around, and can't seem to find any more info on it, other than that it is a "thriller"
    I love a story with a crazy twist at the end, so perhaps this is something I'll really enjoy.

  11. Wow, this sounds like a crazy ride, but really enjoyable. I had no clue what the book was really about, even after reading the synopsis, so I liked how you explained it. I think the cover for this one is so gorgeous and a bit haunting once you know the subject matter of the book.

  12. OMG! I just saw your review of this book highlighted on Facebook on Simon and Schuster's page! Congrats!

  13. No problem everyone! Definitely check Choker out if you're looking for a short creepy thriller with a twist. :)

    Jenny N- I told me sister to read it and she was like, "What's wrong with this Zoe girl?" lol, she kept trying to get me to tell her the ending, and I was like, "NO WAY! I'M NOT SAYING ANYTHING."

    Chrystal- Thanks! I just saw it on their Facebook page too... kind of cool to see... ^.~