Choker

Choker by Elizabeth Woods
Simon and Schuster, 240 pages

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?

Talk about choosing a very creepy book to start my year. Choker by Elizabeth Woods is one of those books that I had no idea what it was about, but I read it because I saw good reviews from other blogging friends. Note that I said saw and not read, because I thought it wasn’t something I’d be able to get a copy of anytime soon, but thanks to Simon and Schuster’s Galley Grab, I got an ebook copy.

Choker comes from what Alexis Henning and Sydney Powers start calling Cara Lange after she chokes on a piece of carrot during lunch at their school. Quiet, almost invisible Cara was hardly noticed in school until that incident, and even being saved by her crush Ethan Gray didn’t help. What helped her to gain a bit of confidence back and make friends was when her childhood friend Zoe, shows up out of nowhere. Cara’s life improves significantly as she makes friends and catches Ethan’s attention, but weird things start to happen too and she can’t help but wonder if her best friend is somehow involved.

This book ups the creepiness by making things seem so ordinary and yet you know something…well, weird is happening in the background. I really and truly feel sorry for Cara, here. I’ve had my loner moments back in high school, but Cara doesn’t just go by unnoticed but people pick on her too! Sometimes I want to shake her and all and tell her to be more assertive, because nothing is really going to happen if she allows herself to be just that. Zoe definitely comes off as a stronger personality than Cara but you’d know right from the start when Cara and Zoe were playing in Zoe’s mom’s room with her pills (no best sleeping pills, I think) that there’s something odd about Zoe, which was proved further as the story went on.

I’ve often said before that I would rather have a love issue than a friendship issue because friendship issues hurt more. Of course, I have no experience in the love issues department, but friendship issues, I’ve had a lot. I hated it when I had fights with my close friends because it’s hard to find someone else who will sympathize with you. Choker reminded me of those reasons, and it was a breath of fresh air to read something that is not romance, even if it is very creepy.

If you think you know what will happen in the novel based on my review…well, you’re wrong. There’s a twist in the end that caught me (and other readers, for sure) by surprise, and even if it isn’t an entirely new concept, I thought it was a great (albeit creepy, again) way to turn the story around.

Choker is a solid debut from Elizabeth Woods. Don’t let the pink cover fool you. Choker is out in hardcover from Simon & Schuster. You can read an excerpt of the book here.

Rating:

My copy: e-book ARC from Simon & Schuster Galley Grab

Cover and Blurb: Goodreads

Other reviews:
Attack of the Book
The Bookologist
Presenting Lenore

In My Mailbox (11)

I really did not mean to get any books these week (yes, I know I always say that), but Fully Booked Eastwood is on sale…so how can I resist? It’s not like Cyber Monday, but still. Resistance against books is always, always futile.

Oh, and I got some awesome galleys and some books I won arrived this week…and that’s totally free. I can’t help that too, right? ;)

In My Mailbox is a weekly book meme hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren, where bloggers post about what books received that week, be it via  mailbox, library or store. Here’s this week’s stash!

BOUGHT:

  1. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. I got the UK edition after Chachic, Aaron and I browsed it in Fully Booked Gateway during the last FBB meet up. This hardly looks like a book at all, with its layout and designs inside. Plus it’s pretty cheap for somewhat of a “hardcover”.  Look:
  2. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart. Grace and I were browsing through the 80% off table in Fully Booked Eastwood when I saw a very familiar spine. I picked it up and yes! It’s this book! Hard cover, 80% off! :) Of course I had to get it. Talk about steal. :P
  3. Naermyth by Karen Francisco. I was originally planning to get The Giver by Lois Lowry (yes, I haven’t read that yet!), but when I wandered over to the Filipiniana section in Fully Booked and saw this. I read the blurb and my pulse quickened — could it be? Local dystopian fantasy? It seems like it! I started reading this yesterday but my copy had a printing error so I returned it to Fully Booked. Now I have a proper copy and I can continue reading. Watch out for my review soon. :)

WON:

On the Edge and Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

I got great news almost a month ago that I won Dee’s 100+ Follower Giveaway. I get to pick any book (or books) worth $15 from Book Depository sponsored by The Book Quoter. I was wondering when the package would arrive and I was kind of worried, too, since we moved to an apartment and I don’t know if they would get delivered to me. Friday was a good day, though, when I saw the packages waiting at my dresser. Yay! I now have more Ilona Andrews books to read! Thanks again Dee and Book Quoter. :)

FOR REVIEW:

Lots of awesome books from Netgalley and Simon & Schuster! :)

  • The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa (currently reading The Iron Daughter, review of The Iron King up!)
  • My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent (must finish reading My Soul to Keep)
  • Wither by Lauren DeStefano
  • Choker by Elizabeth Woods
  • Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton
  • Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves
  • Haven by Kristi Cook
  • Deadly by Julie Chibbaro

So many books, so little time! :o I have no idea when I’ll be able to read this and my mountain of TBR…but I guess I should be used to that already, right?

What’s in your mailbox this week? :)