Author: Elizabeth Woods (pen name of Emma Carlson Berne)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Check this book out on 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? (Source: Goodreads)
I picked this book up randomly at Chapters a few weeks back, not really sure what to expect. The book is a bit of a psychological thriller, which I was really intrigued by. I felt that it has a similar feel to Kathleen Hale’s No One Else Can Have You, but I found the quality of this book overall was not up to par.
The premise of the girl choking and then being called “choker” was kind of bizarre to me because it just seemed like such a stupid thing for people to make fun of her for. This being the basis of the entire novel was bit of a problem because it just doesn’t stand, at all. That she’s so upset about it, and that people even care about her choking on a carrot, seemed like a really weak plot to build an entire novel off of.
Furthermore, Cara is such an unlikeable character that you really don’t care about her at all. Her reaction to girl’s disappearing and dying in town is so unbelievable because she only really cares about hooking up with her dream boy. She’s also sort of rude, and while she seems to think everyone’s avoiding her, she pushes them away and avoids them. So you really don’t care that she’s being bullied and you find the supposed “bitches” less bitchy and more just angry at this very rude person.
The book did have a pretty great twist, which made the last few chapters much more exciting and interesting. I found also, the quality of the writing really improved in the last few chapters. The writing up until that point was really not that great, and read like a middle school book with a pretty simple vocabulary and really short direct sentences. I felt that Cara being so unlikeable made the impact of the twist a little less powerful than it could have been, because by the end of the book I was mostly just annoyed with her and wanted to finish the book.
Overall I just found this book frustrating and kind of blah. There wasn’t much memorable about it and the twist was wasted on the otherwise mediocre book. It was an easy enough read, and maybe if you’re into psychological thrillers you’ll find it more enjoyable, however I don’t recommend this book. I found that it was okay, but really not a likeable, highly enjoyable, or really…good read.