02 July, 2013
Book Review: Choker
From Goodreads: 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?
Thoughts: Often when I read a book, before I review it, I pop on over to Goodreads and read a few reviews first. I do this for a couple of reasons. I often find it hard to put into words what I feel about a book that reading other reviews gives me a start point. Sometimes it makes me reflect on a book differently, making me think about things I had thought of before. I also find it comforting (not quite the right word, but as close as I can get) when I find reviews that express similar feelings to myself about the book - that I somehow got it "right." Usually with books I don't like, it only takes me three or four reviews to find someone else who wasn't enamoured. With Choker is was quite a scroll down the page to find someone else who wasn't thrilled with it. ! I didn't find it creepy, I saw the ending coming from waaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy off and there were plot holes big enough to drive a truck through. There was so much detail that was just ignored, situations not explained adequately for me to believe the story I was being told. Spoiler alert. High light the following space if you want to see my plot concerns. Which parents, in their right minds, leave a child who has history of mental illness alone when the evidence is so clear that she is struggling. Given Cara had apparently committed murder, there was no loss of time or unexplained circumstances. Even given the fact that she thought Zoe was responsible for all of it, from what I understand of this level of psychological issues, not everything can be explained, even in the mind of the person suffering the disorder. Cara's behaviour just did not sit well with what the book was asking me to believe was happening.
The writing was ok, but nothing brilliant - definitely not enough to save the book as a whole. Maybe the reality is I am simply getting too old to read a lot of YA fiction. I'm no longer able to suspend disbelief to the point it is needed to accept certain things in the book. I accept that at 15, 16, 17 I may have loved this book. At over 40, it just doesn't cut it for me.