Choke by Diana Lopez
A heartfelt novel about the disturbing "choking game" trend -- and one girl's struggle for self-acceptance.Diana's site: http://www.dianalopezbooks.com/
If she could -- if her parents would let her -- eighth-grader Windy would change everything about herself. She'd get highlights in her hair, a new wardrobe; she'd wear makeup. But nothing ever changes. The mean girls at school are still mean, and Windy's best friend Elena is still more interested in making up words than talking about boys.
And then one day, Windy gets the change she's been looking for. New girl Nina -- impossibly cool, confident, and not afraid of anyone -- starts hanging out with Windy! Nina even wants to be "breath sisters." Windy isn't sure what that means, exactly, but she knows she wants to find out. It sounds even better than a BFF.
Windy is right, at first. Being a breath sister gains her a whole new set of friends, girls she feels closer to and cooler with than anyone else. But her inclusion in the new crowd comes at a dangerous price. Windy wants to change everything about her life ... but is she really willing to give up everything in the process?
Published July 1st 2012 by Point
Source: from Diana Lopez for review and giveaway
I totally related with Windy. Not in the popular crowd, but not really completely on the outside crowd either. On that edge and wanting to change so many things about yourself. I also related with the feeling of doing things I didn't necessarily want to but it sounded cool because a new friend thought it was fun.
I felt for Nina. She really stood up for Windy and Elena, which warmed me to her, but I could tell that something wasn't quite right with her. I just wondered what was brewing under the surface, and Diana Lopez peeled back her layers slowly. Obviously she has the problem with the choking game, but you have to wonder what her motivations were.
Elana is the best friend that is awesome. She is so nerdy and that completely appeals to me, as does her loyalty and ability to forgive.
I also really appreciated the idea of finding yourself and looking for what you love and how to incorporate that into your career. We got to see it with Windy and her relationship with her parents as well as in her own life, working at the nursing home with Mrs. Vargas. By the way, I appreciated so much the well written and close family relationships as well as the presence of Mrs. Vargas, Windy's adopt a granny.
Diana Lopez writes with fluidity that got me lost in Windy's story and feeling for her as I read about her self discovery and journey into the dangerous. She also handles such a difficult subject with finesse.
The ending is heartbreaking but a wake up call, and I couldn't really expect much different, although she did surprise me some by the end results.
Bottom line: Important subject, handled well. Great MG read that can appeal to older readers as well.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Have you or anyone you know played the choking game?