Source- Review copy
Publisher- Simon & Schuster
Publication date- April 2012
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Cara Lange has always been a loner, even more so since she moved away from her best and only friend, Zoe, a few years ago. Cara mostly spends her time avoiding the popular girls who call her ‘choker’ after a humiliating incident in the cafeteria, and watching Ethan Gray from a distance, wishing he would finally notice her.
Then one day Cara comes home and finds Zoe waiting for her. Zoe’s on the run from problems at home, and Cara agrees to help her hide. With Zoe back, Cara’s life changes overnight. Zoe gives her a new look and new confidence, and before she can blink, Cara is flirting with Ethan and getting invited to parties. And best of all, she has her best friend to confide in again.
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 very strangely, and Cara begins to wonder what exactly her friend does all day when she’s at school. You’re supposed to be able to trust your best friend no matter what, but what if she turns into a total stranger?
Review: Cara, 16 years old, has never been able to make friends easily and bides her time through school, trying to stay out of the way of the popular mean girls who have nicknamed her Choker. The nickname arose from an unfortunate incident where Cara choked on a carrot stick in the middle of class. Much to Cara’s horror, it was her long-time crush Ethan Gray who managed to successfully do the Heimlich manoeuvre and save the day.
When Cara’s childhood best friend Zoe shows up unannounced and convinces Cara to let her hide out in her room, Cara is over the moon- she finally has a friend who cares about her. Zoe helps Cara increase her confidence and encourages her to interact with Ethan and develop a friendship which evolves to romance. Cara is so wrapped up in the positive changes in her life she neglects to dig deeper into Zoe’s reappearance and the sudden disappearance of one of the popular girls in school and another is suspected murdered- Cara’s not so sure if Zoe is the kind of friend she wants to keep in her life.
I felt sorry for Cara, the victim of bullying. We all know how horrible teenage girls can be at school and I was cheering her on when she became more confident and started to develop friendships. I was always suspicious of Zoe, someone who is clingy and ‘best buddies’ with Cara one minute and the next is criticising her and making her feel guilty. The tone of suspense heightens throughout the story and there’s always uneasiness that something doesn’t quite seem right.
Choker best fits into the YA psychological thriller category, it’s a quick read at just over 230 pages and has quite a twist at the end- one that I didn’t expect but was quite satisfied with.
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