Genre: Young Adult

Choker by Elizabeth Woods is a mystery novel that revolves around a sixteen-year-old girl named Cara. Since she moved away from her best and only friend, Zoe, years ago, Cara has been a loner. She’s ignored by her classmates, and when she’s not ignored, she’s picked on by the popular kids. One day, when Cara comes home from school, she finds Zoe waiting in her room. As the story progresses, the reader learns how far one friend is willing to go for the other.

Even though Cara sits with the other girls on the track team, she doesn’t consider them true friends, and to make the situation even worse she is known as “Choker” because of an incident in the cafeteria. When Zoe comes back into Cara’s life, Cara is thrilled. She learns that Zoe ran away from problems at home, and Zoe wants to hide out with Cara for a while. Cara agrees and enjoys having her best friend back in her life. It seems Cara’s life has changed for the better, but it starts to collapse when a girl in town goes missing. Matters only get worse when Zoe begins to act strangely. Cara begins to wonder what Zoe does all day long while Cara is at school, and Cara starts to question who her friend has become.

Choker is a quick read and an interesting mystery. While there is a large focus on the mysterious aspect of the novel, there is more to the story to keep the reader engaged. There is a lot of focus on the relationship between Cara and Zoe. The characterization is well-done because the characters had very distinct personalities, and it’s easy to see why the two were friends. Zoe is the bold and outgoing one while Cara is more reserved and introverted. Since they were little, Cara has always been the follower while Zoe has been the leader. I enjoyed seeing the interaction between the two friends, and it does seem plausible. The character development is a bit intriguing when it comes to Cara. Even if there isn’t a great deal of development, the ending explains exactly why Cara didn’t particularly evolve in this story. 

While there is some great characterization and character development, the story can be predictable, and it’s easy to tell where it’s headed most of the time. Once the girl goes missing in town, it’s clear who did it and why. Although the twists and turns are expected, the ending will shock a lot of readers. The conclusion is a pretty big surprise, and it’s fun to go back through the story to find the clues that led up to the final confrontation. I have to say that I loved the ending. I did know what would be happening towards the end, but that’s mostly because I’ve seen a lot of mystery/thriller movies, shows, and books with this ending, and I enjoy it each time. It’s fun to see how each director and author will handle it. I feel that Woods handled this ending well.

The story is a fun read and will keep the reader entertained. There may be quite a few predictable plot points, but there are entertaining characters that keep the book interesting. I would recommend this novel to anyone wanting a fast and enjoyable story.

My Rating: ★★★★