by Elizabeth Woods
pub: Jan 2011
genre: Teen Fiction/Thriller
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?
This is one of those gems I almost missed. The cover seems light and sweet. The summary gives a hint that there's some murder mystery going on but nothing too bizarre. And then I started reading. Okay, so the beginning doesn't even prepare you for what's to come. But then BFF Zoe shows up and the world becomes a dark place.
Dark and creepy whispers into CHOKER, scratches at the back of your neck so the hairs start rising. This isn't a paranormal, which makes it even worse. The deviant stuff going on is real. I wasn't expecting a psychological thriller but that's what you get.
Suspenseful, but I wouldn't say it jumps over the line to horror because the gruesome details are kept to minimum overall. Twisted and disturbing the plot keeps you hanging on for answers. And just when you think you've got it all figured out, you get a wham-bam of an ending. I was shocked and creeped out all at once!
The truth is I can't say too much without giving the good stuff away. So here it is. CHOKER surprised me. I haven't seen or read a lot of straight psychological thrillers in YA so if you're looking for something fresh, and like dark and twisted tales about crazy mind-warped killers, you should pick it up. I found it a refreshing treat. Okay, that makes it sound all light and cute. It isn't. But a great creepy thriller? Absolutely!