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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Review: Choker by Elizabeth Woods

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: January 4, 2011
Pages: 233
Source: For Review from Simon & Schuster Canada (Thank you!)
Rating: 3 Stars - I Liked It

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?

In short: Choker by Elizabeth Woods is a creeptastic read but unfortunately, I was able to guess the surprise reveal much too easily to be truly satisfied.
My original plan when writing this review was to avoid using the word "creepy" when describing this book because pretty much every other review I read for Choker made a point to mention it. But I think it's pretty much unavoidable: this book was utterly creeptastic. Do not be fooled by the pretty-in-pink book cover. Some events that occurred in this book were truly disturbing and I have to congratulate Elizabeth Woods on that success.

Normally I would have enjoyed such a freaky plot a lot more except for one thing: the mystery was way too obvious, in my opinion. This is coming from someone who admits to being pretty daft the majority of the time when it comes to figuring out mysteries. And yet I figured this one out after about fifty pages when Cara's old best friend, Zoe, comes back into her life. The reveal was very cliched; it's been done before. I can think of quite a few books and movies that had the same end reveal.

Despite this disappointment, there are a few things Elizabeth Woods does well: she created a relatable main character and a fast paced read. I'm sure that for the people who are unable to guess the ending right away, the big reveal would actually be quite impressive as the clues placed throughout the book were well done. Ultimately for me though, I was unable to find the book satisfying. When a book's ultimate success depends on a big reveal and it fails to deliver that surprise, it's a big disappointment.

Other Reviews:

Stalk the Author (not for serious):

*Read as part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge
*The Letter C in the A-Z Reading Challenge


  1. Hmmm, yeah, I've heard the same about its predictability. I think I know what the big twist is, just based on the reviews I've read, which would definitely put a damper on the story.

    Thanks for the review!

  2. great review! OMG! Just the synopsis sounds scarryy!... If I get around to reading Choker, I'll be reading it in broad daylight :)haha!

  3. I felt pretty much the same way about this one, found it very predictable. Great review! =)

  4. Stephanie: Well that's a bummer that you believe you can already figure out the twist just from reviews you've read! I tried not to include any spoilers so sorry if I ruined anything for you! But yeah, it was incredibly obvious I thought.

    Diana: I didn't think it was scary so much but I did get creeped out for sure! There were also some incredibly disturbing scenes involving animal cruelty which were very hard to read.

    Cynthia: There have been a few reviews I've read where the reviewer was completely shocked by the ending. Maybe because I was expecting a big reveal and looking for it I was able to figure it out easier?

  5. While the fact that the mystery is easily solved early on is disappointing, the creepiness factor has me intrigued. I want to know what this pretty pink cover is hiding:) Fabulous review Aylee!

  6. I've waxed and waned about reading this book. Many reviews speak to the graphical events and cruelty to animals stating how horrific they are. Lots of other reviewers have been able to figure out the mystery early on too. I enjoyed your review, but I guess I'm still sitting on the fence with this book.

  7. LOL! Aylee. I thought I was the only one who prides themselves on being pretty daft!

    You kill me.

    And yeah, I have read much the same on review of Choker. Predictably creepy. I hope your next read works out better for ya.

  8. Utterly creeptastic??? YES! Haha. I need a good creeptastic read in my life. Thanks for the review! I normally find myself to be pretty dumb when it comes to solving mysteries but maybe this one will surprise me? We'll see. :)

  9. I couldn't help using the word creepy either. It just was, but not in a way I enjoyed. I'm sorry to hear you guessed the ending early on. I figured it out right about that time too. Totally killed any remaining motivation I might have had.

    I'm loving your colored boxes and button, btw :)

  10. Darn, I hate it when books that rely on mystery make the surprise way too easy to guess. I'll have to check out this one though if only to see how good I am guessing what happens and because you said the protagonist is relatable.

  11. Jenny: I hope you like it better than I did! The creepiness was pretty well done I thought. Though some scenes involving animal cruelty were a bit too disturbing for my taste.

    Gina: I would say don't make it a priority to read this or anything. The animal cruelty, the easily solved mystery are two things this book has going against it. It has some strengths too but these strengths might not overpower the faults for some people.

    Missie: haha, I really usually am the last to figure it out, I swear! Yes, predictably creepy seems to be the consensus. I'm envious of the people who weren't able to figure this one out right away. It really would have been such a great shock!

    Julia: I hope it does surprise you! I absolutely love being surprised by a book. This mystery was set up relatively well with all its well laid out clues... it's a shame really.

    Small Review: I mostly enjoyed the creepiness... definitely not the animal cruelty though. Even though I was almost 100% positive that I knew the ending I still felt I needed to read all the way through just to make sure, in case the ending really would surprise me. Oh, and thanks! I learn from the best :)

    Zanida: I felt the same way too. I heard from some reviewers that the mystery was predictable but I felt like I just needed to see for myself to be sure. And because I knew I tend to be a bit slower on the uptake than most people. I hope you like Cara! I read a couple reviews who said they didn't like her, thought she was weak, and yeah, she was. But I don't know, I still felt I could relate to her and what she went through. High school is tough.

  12. I'm sorry that the mystery was too obvious. This definitely sounds like a creepy read. Thanks for the review!

  13. I thought this was creeptastic, too. (Great word!) I guess I was daft in this case, but I didn't see the mystery twist until towards the end. In my review I didn't let on the twist. That's like telling someone the end of the movie when they've never seen it -- which bugs me to no end because that's happened several times to me. Anyways...I thought the book was an interesting psych thriller, but it was too weird for my taste.

  14. Tessa: Yes, it was indeed a bummer. Oh well, I guess I still liked it overall.

    Julie: Well, I'm happy that you were honestly surprised. That would've been a great shock. I hope my review wasn't too spoilerish. I really do my best to avoid that kind of thing because you're right: I hate it too! Definitely a weird, creepy read. Sometimes in a good way, other times... not so much.

  15. You finally got to it. This book would have been awesome if I hadn't figured out the ending. I love reading your reviews, they're always so great!

  16. l think it can be a huge let down when the main mystery part is known all the way through but it's good you still loved some parts of it!

  17. This book seems to be disappointing for a lot of people, which is too bad. You and I should be like a test market for mystery books. If we can figure it out, you know it's too obvious. :)

  18. new GFC follower! love the blog and can't wait to read more of your posts! i still want to read this one!

    follow me?!


  19. Sara: Heh, yeah finally! I mean, good grief. I swear this book wouldn't have taken me as long to get through if I had been into it and not known the ending. And thanks!

    Jodie: Yes, I still liked it overall. It really had the potential to be truly great if only that darn mystery wasn't so obvious!

    Logan: haha, excellent idea! I would definitely volunteer my services. I swear I am usually bad at figuring things out. Perhaps I was able to figure this one out easily because I had been warned in advance that there was a big reveal?

  20. Yeah, I`ve been hearing the same things. The cover drew me in but I`m not entirely sure if I want to read it right now. Maybe later on. Thanks for the review Aylee!

  21. I've seen mixed reviews on this book. I think I ended up getting it, or maybe I was going to and didn't anyways I can't remember. It sounds interesting though. Good review.

  22. I hate reading books when the ending's really obvious! It bugs me - who wants to know the murder/bad-guy before the main character does?!
    Brilliant review! Maybe the pretty-in-pink character is meant to draw in fans of not-creepy books?

    And I've seen a lot of negative reviews too. The writing was amazing, and she's only 18! It stunned me speechless when I found that out. The main problem I had was that it didn't live up to it's potential, which annoys me as much as knowing endings! Thanks for commenting!

  23. Lulu: It seems to be the consensus. I'm still not entirely sure what the cover has to do with the plot of the book...

    AngelicNytmare: haha, Oh, to be you and not even remember if you'd bought a book because of the sheer number that you buy!

    TheBookAddictedGirl: Exactly! It takes all the fun out of it! The pretty-in-pink cover is still a bit baffling to me. I don't know what the black rose has to do with anything really.
    Re: Halo. Yeah, it's very impressive that she could have accomplished so much, and her writing to be so well done at her age! I hope you find the sequel lives up to its full potential!

    1. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEEEAASSSSSEEE tell me the name of the sequel! ive asked around everywhere, and everyone says there isn't one. it would be soooo amazing if you replied!!! thank you so so so much xox

  24. Thanks for your honesty. I almost picked this one up the other day, now I think I'll skip it - or, at the very least, not rush into picking up a copy.

  25. I've been hearing the same thing on other reviews for this title. That's such a bummer! The cover is awesome though. I'll still keep this on my TBR pile just to give it a whirl.

  26. Aylee - in case you're interested, there's a blogger thinking of organizing a HP week leading up to the last movie. Deets here: http://eleusinianmysteriesofreading.blogspot.com/2011/03/any-ya-bloggers-interested-in-harry.html

  27. Jessica: You could always get it from the library. I wouldn't make it a priority to read but there's always a chance you might enjoy it more than I did.

    BookGeek: Heh, I'm not sure how I feel about the cover really. I mean, I'm still confused what it has to do with the plot of the story. I suppose it is pretty in a really girlish way.

    Logan: Yup, I saw her post as I am also a follower of her blog :) Something to think about... I may participate. Not sure.

  28. Aylee- Lol...Well I ordered some from a bookclub online and i couldn't remember which ones I ordered. That is pretty sad though that I can't remember.