Google+ Reading Teen: Choke by Diana Lopez

Monday, December 16, 2013

Choke by Diana Lopez

Age Range: 12 and up
Grade Level: 7 and up
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Point (July 1, 2012)
A heartfelt novel about the disturbing "choking game" trend -- and one girl's struggle for self-acceptance.

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?

Windy Soto is an 8th grader who is struggling to figure out who she is going to be. She sees herself as being in the middle of the school's social ladder, but she would love to move up to the "in crowd". When Nina, a new girl, comes to school, she offers Windy an opportunity to hang with the popular girls and be noticed by a particular cute guy. Unfortunately, Windy is unaware of the price of admission to this group. When she is faced with a choice that challenges her values, Windy must decide what is really important to her.

The author makes a strong statement about playing the "choking game" and the consequences of it. She works hard to warn young people about a practice that might seem harmless but is actually very dangerous. The writing is simple and basic and geared to middle-school aged readers.

I personally didn't like this book but I think that could be because I'm not a 13 year old girl. It has a strong message that needs to be heard and I would recommend it to early teens.

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