Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Book talk: Choker by Elizabeth Woods (Virginia Readers' Choice, 2013-2014)

What would you do if the best friend you ever had – whom you hadn’t seen in years – showed up in your bedroom, sitting on your bed, and asked you if she could stay with you (unbeknownst to any parents) to escape an abusive home situation?

If you were Cara, you’d let her stay. Zoe was Cara’s best friend when they were younger, and now Cara’s a teenager who struggles with the social situation at her high school. Cara doesn’t have any real friends at school, and she just got the nickname “Choker” from an embarrassing incident in which she almost choked to death on a carrot in the school cafeteria. The cool kids witnessed it, and they won’t let Cara forget it.

So Zoe hides out in Cara’s bedroom while Cara’s at school, and Cara’s parents are too busy with their important legal careers even to notice. At first it’s fun – like a slumber party that never ends – but Zoe’s strange and difficult moods – and her disappearances - get harder and harder for Cara to handle. Cara has told Zoe about the mean popular kids and knows that Zoe hates them. Zoe might be strange, but she’s loyal to Cara, and perhaps too loyal.

But something nags at Cara. One of the girls in the popular crowd is found dead and another goes missing. Does Zoe have anything to do with this?

Choker by Elizabeth Woods. 233 pages. Booktalk to high school. Virginia Readers’ Choice, 2013-2014.

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