Thursday, March 10, 2011

Choker by Elizabeth Woods

Published: January 2011
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Pages: 233
Copy: borrowed from library
Summary: Simon and Schuster

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?

WOW! Yep, that about covers it. This book, a debut title from author Elizabeth Woods, was a marvellous read. It had me on the edge of my seat, just about from the very first page, and it just kept getting better. Tense - that's the word that I think best describes the book. The tension is so thick, that you could almost cut it. At one point, I was getting so uncomfortable I had to put the book down and go and make a cuppa. I couldn't handle it anymore. I just needed a break. But then of course I went straight back to it and didn't stop 'til I reached the end.

What an ending! It came at me from left field. The reader is so absolutely certain they know what is going on, and then Wham - there's this twist that is so unexpected it just blows you away. The characters are so real and their reactions so typical, that you are just sucked in to this story, which is basically about a girl who is being bullied at school and how she copes with the pressure. Oh, I'd love to tell you more, but it would just be full of spoilers, and I don't want to do that. It's a quick read - I got through it in less than 24 hours - but it is worth every minute. If you are a fan of contemporary suspense you will not be disappointed in 'Choker'. Try it - you'll see!

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