Published: January 4th 2011, Simon & Schuster
Pages: 233 pages, hardback
Series?: No, this one’s a standalone
Acquired: Purchased myself
Summary (from Goodreads): 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?
My review: I’ve been excited for the release of Choker for months now. I preordered it from The Book Depository back in September and have purposely kept myself away from most reviews of it, for fear of spoilers. Honestly, I can’t get across how desperate I was to read this one. My expectations were ridiculous. Somehow, it managed to soar above them.
Choker is absolutely brilliant, second to none. Hands down it’s my favourite book I’ve read in the last year and it’s definitely made it into my top ten of all time. Yes, that’s how great it is. From page one I was addicted. I read it in one sitting and could not stop turning the pages. When I finished I sat my boyfriend down and ranted for at least fifteen minutes about how amazing it was, I told my nan (an avid reader) she *had* to read it.
This is one of those novels that I just have to talk about, to tell people about. Sometimes I’ll finish a book, I’ll enjoy it but I’ll be able to set it down and walk away from it. Not Choker. I finished it on Thursday night and have thought of it constantly since then. I want to reread it right now and I know I’d enjoy it just as much.
Cara is a fantastic narrator with so much to her personality. She’s bullied by the ‘mean girls’ at her high school and longs to see her best friend, Zoe, again. Cara’s family moved away when she was younger and she hasn’t seen Zoe since – the girls kept in touch but gradually began to grow apart and Cara hasn’t heard from Zoe in years.
However, one day Zoe appears at Cara’s house. She’s scared, shaken up but still the beautiful, lively girl that Cara remembers from her childhood. Zoe’s running from something but, at first, she doesn’t open up and tell Cara exactly what happened. Delighted to have her best friend back, Cara tells Zoe she can stay with her for as long as she needs and together they’ll work through whatever happened.
But then strange things start to happen. Girls start to go missing. Then something happens to Zoe – she’s almost the same as before but something’s not quite right. Cara can’t quite put her finger on it but something about Zoe has changed.
Zoe is fantastic. Honestly, she’s absolutely terrifying and I’d love for Choker to be made into a film just to see Zoe’s character brought to life on the big screen. She will creep you out and have you looking over your shoulder, I promise.
I should say that I don’t think Choker is for everyone. I wouldn’t recommend this one for the faint hearted as it is genuinely unsettling in places. I loved that but then again you may not.
I’ll stop now because I could easily let this review run on for another page or so but I’m sure my unerring praise will get a little boring! If you like your young adult books a little edgy then you’ll love Choker. It’s just flawless.
First line: “Come out, come out, little frog.”
Total: 19/20 (A)