Sunday, April 3, 2011

Choker by Elizabeth Woods

Genre: teen social issues and mystery
Series and Book #: none
Pages: 233
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Cara Lange has been a loner since she moved away from her best and only friend, Zoe, years ago. She eats lunch with the other girls from the track team and tries to avoid the popular girls who, after an embarrassing incident in the cafeteria, endlessly torture her, calling her Choker. But mostly she spends her time watching Ethan Gray from a distance, wishing she would finally notice her.

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 the next thing she knows, she's getting invited to parties and flirting with Ethan. Best of all, she can talk about everything with her BFF.

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 while Cara's at school. You're supposed to trust your best friend no matter what...but what if she turns into a total stranger?

I love these types of mysteries. A psychopath who doesn't know what she's doing, it keeps me up at night! Even though Choker's a fast read, it had the thrills and chills that any murder mystery should.

For a debut novel, this was amazing. I didn't really like the beginning--I thought Cara's voice was very childish and that everything went by so fast. But as the story progressed, and Zoe's mood swings became more prominent, it slowed to a comfortable pace.

Cara was an okay MC. She was naive when it came to Zoe, and she didn't stand strong when she wanted Zoe to do something. She also tried so hard to fit in that she lost herself personality-wise. But you could see her true self come out more an more as she delved deeper into the mystery of Sydney's death and Alexis's kidnapping and what Zoe did during the day. I also loved Woods's writing--it wasn't heavy with fluff, but it had a nice balance of descriptions and simplicity.

Overall, Choker was a heart-pounding read that literally kept me up at night. The creepiness surrounding Zoe at points was alarming and exciting all at once. The ending was by far stop-in-your-tracks-whoa. Loved it! I'll be reading more of Woods in the future.

The Cover: Gorgeous. The light pink, curly letters with the rose, and woodsy border was enchanting. It doesn't look like a murder mystery, but it definitely gets your attention with the title.

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