Choker

Hardcover | November 7, 2013

byElizabeth Woods

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Zoe and Cara were as close as friends could be—until Zoe moved away. Miserable without Zoe, Cara grew into an unhappy sixteen-year-old, tormented by the popular girls and nursing a hopeless crush. Then one day Cara returns home from a miserable day at school to find Zoe sitting on her bed. Shocked and delighted, Cara agrees to hide Zoe from troubles at home and the two resume their friendship as though no time has passed. Zoe even helps Cara get up the courage to stand up for herself and talk to her crush. But when one of the popular girls winds up dead, Cara begins to suspect that Zoe is responsible, and her questions only feed Zoe’s anger. As Cara searches for answers, she is forced to confront a deadly truth….

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From the Publisher

Zoe and Cara were as close as friends could be—until Zoe moved away. Miserable without Zoe, Cara grew into an unhappy sixteen-year-old, tormented by the popular girls and nursing a hopeless crush. Then one day Cara returns home from a miserable day at school to find Zoe sitting on her bed. Shocked and delighted, Cara agrees to hide Zoe...

Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1 inPublished:November 7, 2013Publisher:Simon & Schuster Books for Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:144241233X

ISBN - 13:9781442412330

Appropriate for ages: 13 - 17

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not what I expected.... in a good way! I bought this book as it was super cheap and figured it might be a good read. What a shocker once you get to the end. I really like how the author played out this book. Definitely a good read - would recommend to any one!!
Date published: 2014-05-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eerily Creepy! I bought this book without knowing anything about it. It was really creepy. You think you know how it's gonna end but BAM! you were wrong.
Date published: 2014-04-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Psychological Thriller A psychological thriller. It was pretty obvious what was happening throughout the book and it was an easy read. Cara moves away from her childhood best friend, Zoe to a town where Cara is still the odd one out and it isn't intill Zoe comes to visit her out of the blue that things for Cara start to look better. Something happens to the queen bee, her enemy and her crush starts to show interest in her. At the end of it Cara is left with a crazy mess that she is tries to clean up but is it too much to do herself? Has all the fun and games gone too far?
Date published: 2013-07-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I knew it! There is not too much to say about this book without revealing the ending, other than to say, I predicted the twist right all along. It is probably in part my fault, as for every book I read, I always flip to the page filled with the copyrights. At the bottom of some of those copyright pages, there is a brief summary that gives the reader a much better idea of what the book's about compared to what the blurb actually says. Below that, there are a list of themes and subjects that appear in the book, starting with the most relevant. One of those themes were not touched on in the given blurb, so I immediately started thinking about the characters, especially on Cara and Zoe. I barely passed the 1/3 of the book and had a very strong sense of what was actually going on. So when the ending came, I exclaimed "I knew it!" To be honest, it was predictable. A very pretty cover, but predictable. And I didn't find this book creepy at all. I just thought a lot of the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme and how this could be an overly attached friend, haha. But in all seriousness, all the hints were there and are easy for a reader to pick up and to understand what was really going on with the disappearances and deaths.
Date published: 2012-08-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Gave Me Shivers Find more reviews at www.eyesonthepages.blogspot.ca Well. That was definitely a creepy read. But I do have to say that a really enjoyed it! Woods was able to really make the characters come alive. And Zoe was SUCH a great character. Definitely not someone I'd want to be best friends with. But she really made this story what it is! The friendship between them is still just as strong as it originally was when Cara moved away from Zoe in Grade 5. Because of this intense closeness between the two friends, Cara easily looks over any hints of Zoe being... Odd. Zoe was very eager to help out Cara as if they'd never been separated. Although, in one moment Zoe seemed more than happy to help out her old best friend Cara, who had taken her in during a time of need. and all of a sudden she would do a 180. Hurting Cara's feelings and sounding very flippant. Like I said, Zoe's character was GREAT. Also, I absolutely LOVE the cover on this book. And each chapter starts off like the cover does! With all that said, which isn't really that much... Choker is an intense, suspensefully creepy, quick read. With just over 200 pages, Choker will leave you with goosebumps and a shiver down your spine.
Date published: 2012-06-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Predictable Halfway through the book i already knew how it was going to end. The plot could have been a litle better, but over all it was an o.k book
Date published: 2011-07-31
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Could have been better The book started out all right. I hated what the other girls did to Cara. They were awful and despicable. So, I did sympathize with her. For a while. Then she just got to me. She just seemed so, weak and a pushover at times. You couldn’t help but get frustrated at her sometimes. When Zoe comes in, she does take an interesting personality change and Zoe is partly responsible for that. However, as the plot wore on, I rather guessed what was going on, and the underlying secret. I am not sure if the big secret was obvious to other readers who have read this book, but I did figure it out when Zoe starts to have a more prominent place in the story. Although it started off rather interesting, I could not help but lose interest. It was predictable, and Cara as a character just did improve and I stopped liking her. I felt sorry for her, but she didn’t make herself likable at all. It came to the point where you can’t feel sorry for her anymore she just became so...pathetic. She did manage to grow a spine, but it would shrink rapidly as well. Another thing I did not take kindly to was the animal cruelty mentioned in the book. It was horrible to read and to me, unnecessary. It was already evident that Zoe and Cara aren’t really all “there” so I don’t see why there had to be any mentioning of any animals being killed. The ending, well it was predictable, therefore it wasn’t that exciting or a complete revelation to read. I thought there could have been more to the book. It’s not a book I would recommend, I would say take it or leave it. I’ve read much better than this. It’s predictable, and by the time you finished the book you find it lacking in something, perhaps a new twist should have been brought in, or something that would have brought the plot to a more interesting level.
Date published: 2011-07-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Short, Enjoyable/Creepy Read! I really enjoyed this book. This is the first book ever published by Elizabeth Woods, and it turned out pretty well, I'll be sure to be on the look out for some of her other books in the future! The cover really got my attention, and the ending was just so creepy, yet enjoyable and it's a short read. This is the kind of book where you simply can't just put down, it also makes it easier to read, since most of the chapters are maximum 4 pages long, which I, strangely liked x)
Date published: 2011-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Deliciously creepy Wow. Just, wow. The plot of this book was just intense. Intense, intense, intense. It was one of those books for me, while reading it – I had no idea what was going to happen. Don’t get me wrong, I love books like that – where I can’t predict the ending. This book though, wow. The ending completely shocked me. This book was one of those psychological thrillers, which just left you wanting more and more. It had many twists and turns, and all were delivered perfectly. For Elizabeth Woods’s first novel, I thought she did an impeccable job. Majority of the time, I could not put this book down, that’s how interested I was in it. Choker will definitely thrill and chill you all; as the story unfolds it just grips you and leaves you wanting more. Get your hands on a copy ASAP!
Date published: 2011-04-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Pretty Predictable Review first published at http://unautrehistoire.blogspot.com/ I have two copies of Choker by Elizabeth Woods. None of the bookstores in my city had it on release day, which really annoyed me. So I ordered it, totally forgetting that I sent an e-mail to Simon and Schuster asking for a copy (they had some promo, and all you had to do was send an e-mail with your address). So One day I received that copy and the day after I received the copy that I bought. Anywho, this book was ok, and I'll tell you why. I figured everything out by page ten, I had the whole story figured out. So once I knew that it was hard to get excited about reading it. Like getting really into a movie, but having the end spoiled by someone. My own mind spoiled this one for me. It was good. The story was intriguing, and the writing was good. The characters were a little blah for me. But again I don't know if that's just me. I really liked the concept of the story and found it pretty creepy at times. I hated Cara's parents, they knew something was going on with Cara but chose to ignore it. They really irked me. As I think about it more, I would recommend this book. It was an interesting read, not something I have every read before. For a debut novel, I am actually pretty impressed. My figuring out what was going on, was not due to bad writing, not at all. I seem to be able to do that sometimes. I haven't seen Johnny Depp's new movie The Tourist and I already know that he's in on the whole thing (sorry for everyone who wanted to see that). So go out and buy this book, it was good and I want to know what everyone thought, so if you've read it, leave me a comment, and tell me your thoughts.
Date published: 2011-03-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Pretty Good I predicted the ending by the middle of the book. It seemed very obvious to me. It was a quick read, and I don't think I would recommend it to my friends.
Date published: 2011-03-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from WOW!!!! there is no words to describe how creepy this book was... i read it in 2 days and im very creeped out...dont get me wrong the book was fantastic but i got chills..... Cara's best friend Zoe is the creepiest the way Woods describes her character it got me very disgusted and creeped but it also got me wanting to read on..... the ending was UNEXPECTED when i read it i was like WHATT!!!!! it was soo unpretictable that i had to re-read what happend.... but most parts were preticable on what was going to happen (the way the author emphaised some parts) except for the ending overall it was a good read... if u want to be creeped out but yet love thriiller books this is an excelllent novel...it kept me at the edge of my seat literally...
Date published: 2011-02-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from What an Ending! I admit, about halfway through this book, though I enjoyed it, I wasn't expecting it to be a wonderful book. I found it to be thoroughly predictable, but wow, was I wrong! The ending of this book will send you reeling, and it definitely requires a second read to get the full appreciation it deserves. My only caution: this is not a book to read if you want to be happy. It's creepy, icky and strange, but in the best way possible.
Date published: 2011-02-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Wow! WOW!!! What a hair-raising read! Elizabeth Woods will wow the YA world with her debut release of Choker! Even this 30 “something” mom found the hair on the back of my neck rising up with each new chapter. Choker touches on a very serious issue facing our teens today. Bullying, in its worst form has driven many a child to drastic measures in his/her attempts to deal and to fit it. Your hair is the wrong colour! Your jeans are out of date! You chose the wrong friend!!! Stupid reasons to be teased, yet silly little matters like these are all it takes for children to turn into to vicious, malicious, and vile beasts who have the power to wreak irreparable damage to other innocent souls who want nothing more than to fit in. In Choker, Elizabeth Woods will take readers on one girl’s journey through the trials and tribulations of high-school and her unfortunate “pleasure” of being a target. Written the in first person, readers are treated to a personal view of Cara’s emotional turmoil, fear, and despair at her predicament. Talented beyond measure, Woods has created a turbulent, yet “gripping” experience that will keep readers guessing right until the very end. The smooth and seemingly effortless progression of this thrilling story will keep readers devouring page after page, despite the heart-pumping "creep" factor! Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for sending me a finished copy of Choker for review!!
Date published: 2011-02-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dreaming of Books Review Cara is sixteen, a outcast at school with no close friends. At the beginning of the book her childhood best friend and the only true friend she‘s ever had, she comes to live with Cara. She`s ecstatic to have her back. But when two popular girls turn up dead Cara suspects that Zoe might be somehow involved. The relationship is unconventional to be sure and not your average BFF friendship. Cara is shy with low self esteem. She’s weak and she easily goes through life unnoticed. Zoe is the complete opposite of Cara. She’s very forward, daring and bold. Cara can be herself in front of Zoe and being around her gives Cara a confidence boost, something that she lacks. There’s definitely something not right with Zoe as she gets weirder and weirder as the story progressed. I never knew what was going on inside that head of hers. She has mood swings…one minute she’s happy and the next she’s upset and you never know what she might do next. Out of the two of them, Cara was the weaker one so I didn’t know how she would handle Zoe. Would Cara confront Zoe…would there be a big fallout….I just didn’t know. I figured out who the murderer was halfway through the book…it was pretty obvious but what wasn’t obvious was who Zoe was. Needless to say ending came as a big shocker and looking back now there were some signs that hinted at it. Choker is the first debut novel I’ve read this year and if its any indication of the line-up of debut novels to come then I for one am excited.
Date published: 2011-01-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Chilling thriller! I'd like to start off by saying that this book is so creepy and will keep you on the edge of your seat. I had no idea where this book was headed nor that it was a thriller. As you start off you learn the story of Cara who is kind of an outcast at school and get bullied a lot. You feel sorry for her as her peers tease her and call her names like Choker after having choked on food in the cafeteria. It is that relentless bullying that makes you feel for Cara and wish she had her best friend with her again. Then enter Zoe, her long lost best friend from her childhood. Almost like magic when she needs her best friend she appears. It's the perfect timing and Zoe helps her through some tough times. I immediately did not like Zoe - I loved her character because she was so off the wall, but I had a bad feeling about her. She was trouble with a capital T, but Cara only sees her best friend from fifth grade. Zoe is the complete opposite of Cara in looks, attitude and personality. Zoe seems to be very possessive of Cara like a stalker almost and that is the part that started creeping me out. She would be her cheery best friend one minute and then super freaky stalker girl the next. Cara starts off being this shy, meek and quiet character who I kind of actually disliked. She didn't stand up for herself or speak up. It frustrated me so much. Then after her best friend arrives she has the courage to be more outspoken, take chances on being friends with her peers and even talking to boys. She is a much more outgoing person once she knows she has her friend there to help pick up the pieces should she fall down along the way. I like her better as the more confident Cara. There is a great plot twist that will leave you shocked. I love a good mystery or thriller and am always trying to figure out what happened and who did it, but I didn't quite have the whole thing figured out. I was so certain I was right and I am happy to say that the book did not disappoint in completely throwing me off course.
Date published: 2011-01-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Creepy and Chilling Thriller! Choker is one messed up novel and I mean that it in the most positive of senses. Dark, creepy, and even chilling at times, the novel left me completely on edge. It’s a short, quick read but I was enthralled the entire time I was reading, drawn into a story that seemed so predictable at first, but which soon turned out to be anything but. Cara’s life hasn’t been easy since her family moved away years ago, leaving behind her best and only friend Zoe. Popular girls, like Alexis and Sydney, love to give her a hard time, and their taunting has only gotten worse since Cara choked on a carrot, giving her the nickname “Choker”. Things change when Zoe suddenly reappears back into her life after having run away from home, and Cara instantly agrees to help hide her away, all too happy to see her once again. Cara’s got her best friend back at her side and with Zoe’s help, she’s finally confidant enough to speak to her crush Ethan, even though his girlfriend is the awful Alexis. But just when Cara feels that everything is right again, a girl disappears from her school and Zoe begins to act strangely… The friendship between Zoe and Cara is so tight that even after years of not seeing one another, they immediately pick up the pieces and act as though they were never separated. Cara’s alone and having a really tough time at school; she’s socially awkward and the popular girls easily pick up on this, giving her a difficult time. She comes across as a rather weak character in the beginning but with Zoe’s arrival, we begin to her personality change for the better as she grows into her own. She’s an outsider, but with a little more confidence, she gains the courage to put herself out there a little more. Zoe’s personality was a whole other matter. Her behaviour was totally erratic- invested in helping Cara one moment and then the next, oddly detached and couldn’t care less. She had an almost possessive nature when it came to Cara and well, she sort of freaked me out… The ending is crazy insane! Just when you think you have everything figured out, Elizabeth Woods pulls the rug out from under you and you’re left stunned. I swear if anyone saw me when I finished, I would have worn a stupefied expression because it was just that good. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, wracking my brain trying to remember any signs and they are there, but I just didn’t connect the dots until everything was spelled out for me already. The build-end up to the end and the subsequent conclusion are so sudden, you’re just left reeling. I loved it! Elizabeth Wood’s debut novel is a wonderful addition to the so few psychological thrillers to be found in the YA genre! You can also read this review at: http://midnightbloomreads.blogspot.com/2011/01/choker-by-elizabeth-woods.html
Date published: 2011-01-15

Extra Content

Read from the Book

Chapter 1CARA LANGE STOOD IN THE DOORWAY OF THE CAFE- teria, her nylon lunch bag in one hand. The din of chattering students floated above the sea of white Formica-topped tables, and a steamy potato-and-onion aroma emanated from the kitchen. Cara paused. She wasn’t sure she could stand another lunch tacked onto the other track girls like a vestigial organ—completely useless and unnecessary. She considered fleeing to the parking lot and eating lunch in her yellow ’99 Volvo. But no. She wasn’t that lame.Not yet.Cara forced her legs across the brown-tiled room. Sherman High hadn’t done a lot of updating since its construction in 1975, architecture’s notorious Brutalism phase. People driving by often mistook the sprawling building on the outskirts of Des Moines for a prison. Cara could have told them that assumption wasn’t far from the truth.She passed the emo kids in the corner, and the hipsters with their retro T-shirts, and the hippies eating organic yogurt. Some of the art students were stacking a bunch of chairs into a tower—some kind of new art installation? The track girls were clustered at their usual table, packed in tightly. Sarit Kohli, her dark braid reaching almost to her waist, inhaled a stack of turkey slices as she told Rachael Meade about yesterday’s practice. Julie Cohen chomped loudly on an apple while laughing at something Madeline Brazelton was texting. Cara stood over them for a minute, smiling vaguely, but no one looked up or even stopped talking. Finally, she dragged a chair over from the next table and squeezed in between Sarit and Madeline.“Oh, hey, Cara,” Sarit said, looking up. She inched her chair over.“Thanks.” Cara sat down.“Sure.” Sarit shrugged, already turning back to Rachael.Cara let the noise of the room swirl around her like smoke as she pulled a bag of baby carrots from her nylon sack and nibbled idly. Her eyes drifted across the room to the cafeteria door. Prom-princess Alexis Henning was just swaying through the doors, her butter-blond hair spilling in perfect waves over her shoulders. By her side was Ethan Gray, her on-again, off-again boyfriend and the captain of the boys’ track team. Alexis’s beefy-faced best friend—and Cara’s next-door neighbor—Sydney Powers scurried by her side. Cara’s shoulders tightened involuntarily.The group slouched into chairs at their usual table nearby. For the gazillionth time, Cara studied Ethan’s profile, taking in the icy-blue eyes, gorgeous nose, and perfectly scruffy beard stubble. His thick dark hair just brushed the collar of his navy polo. Cara sat back in her chair and mentally ran her fingers over his chiseled cheeks.“You forgot to shave,” she pictured herself teasing. “I don’t want to get all scratched up when you kiss me.”“Too bad,” she heard him say. He leaned over her and pulled her up against him. She could feel the hard muscles of his chest. He bent his head toward hers. She closed her eyes. . . .Alexis’s screechy voice crowded her ear. “You can’t come to Sydney’s tomorrow, Ethan. It’s girls only, you dork.”Cara opened her eyes. Three tables over, Alexis was pulling the foil top off a Dannon lemon yogurt using only the tips of her fingers. Ethan leaned over and whispered something in her ear. “Eww, you’re disgusting!” She slapped him on the shoulder, and he grinned.Cara took a deep breath. Her fingers were squeezing a baby carrot, and she forced them to relax. Sydney’s surprisingly deep voice chimed in. “My next party is going to be all boys, Ethan—and us, of course.”Cara resisted the urge to bury her face in her hands. Sydney’s house was practically on top of her own. Which meant that every Friday and Saturday night, Cara sat at home, alone, pretending to watch Real Housewives on TiVo while trying to ignore the squeals and laughter from Sydney’s deck.God, if only Zoe were here. A familiar twist of pain tightened Cara’s abdomen at the thought of her old best friend. She hadn’t seen Zoe since her family moved away in fifth grade. It was like her other half was missing.Cara pushed her lunch aside and pulled a notebook from her bag. She doodled idly in the margins. She hadn’t thought about Zoe in a while, but recently, for some reason, her mind was filled with memories of her. The two of them climbing the wild grapevines in the woods behind Zoe’s house, pretending to be forest princesses. Trying to tame the neighbor’s crazy German shepherd with pieces of cupcake, then screaming when he barked. All the times Zoe had snuck into her bedroom at night through the window, crying because of her horrible stepdad. She’d climb under the comforter and Cara would stroke her silky dark hair until Zoe fell asleep.They’d written to each other some after the move, but pretty soon the letters just stopped. Cara had a feeling her parents were relieved to have Zoe gone. They used to act so weird whenever Cara brought up her friend; it was like they thought Zoe and her family weren’t good enough. Not that they were really in a position to decide what was good for Cara. She’d been stuck with one babysitter after another until she was old enough to stay alone, all so Mom and Dad wouldn’t miss a single moment in the courtroom.Cara looked down at her notebook. Without even realizing it, she’d drawn little pictures of her and Zoe all up and down the margins. She glanced around hurriedly, but no one had noticed. Sarit was staring fixedly at her phone, while Julie leaned over her shoulder, pointing out something on the screen. The others were cramming the rest of their lunches into their mouths. It was only a few minutes until the next bell. Quickly, Cara ripped out the page and stuffed it in the back pocket of her frayed navy chinos.Just then, a girl’s shrill laugh rose above the rest of the noise in the cafeteria. Cara looked up. Across the room, Jack Penn slung Alexis up over his meaty shoulder, fireman-style.“Stop it, Jack!” she screeched delightedly, pounding on his back with her manicured hands. He twirled her faster, and everyone at Cara’s table snickered. Finally Jack set Alexis on her feet. Then he leaned over and whispered something in her ear. She laughed like a donkey, showing all her teeth.Cara kept her eyes fixed on Ethan as he sat across the table, his brow darkening. She couldn’t believe Alexis would flirt with Jack so obviously right in front of him. Ethan rose to his feet and leaned over, his palms on the table, as he said something to Alexis. Cara watched intently as they argued back and forth, Alexis’s arms crossed over her chest, Ethan scowling. She couldn’t hear what they were saying, but it didn’t take a neuroscientist to figure it out. He turned away as if to leave. Cara gripped the edge of the table so hard her fingertips turned white. But Alexis caught Ethan’s hand and pulled him toward her.Cara closed her eyes for a long moment. When she opened them, Alexis and Ethan were locked in a passionate kiss, his arms around her waist, hers clutching his neck.Cara slumped back in her chair. Of course. Same old story.Ethan and Alexis got up and wove their way through the packed lunchroom toward the door. Ethan stopped every few feet to talk to people. Cara watched him high-five Ms. Sitwell, the school secretary, then sighed and stood up. She might as well get a head start on her calc homework. She folded her foil into a square and stuffed it back in her nylon sack, then nodded good-bye to the rest of the table. Sarit gave her a little wave, but the others didn’t even look up.Stuffing the last bite of baby carrot into her mouth, Cara pushed in her chair. But one of the legs stuck, and Cara lurched a little against the table edge. She felt a chunk of unchewed carrot slide down the back of her tongue and lodge in her windpipe.Automatically, Cara opened her mouth to cough. But no air came through. She leaned over and tried to cough again. Still nothing. Panic rising through her chest, she grabbed at her throat, clawing helplessly at her skin. She looked around wildly. No one had even noticed. They were all clustered around Julie, who was showing them some homework in a binder.Her lungs were sending distress signals through her body. She could feel her chest tightening. Her eyes bulging, she waved her hands. Choking, I’m choking, she tried to telegraph. She tried to retch, but she felt the carrot lodge even more firmly in her throat. The noise around her swirled in a colorful chaos.I’m dying, and no one’s going to notice.She heard Sarit’s voice as if from a great distance. “Cara? Are you okay?”She shook her head blindly, her hands at her throat. Julie’s voice rose. “Oh my God, Cara, what’s the matter?”“She’s, like, turning blue!”“Where? What’s the matter?”A sea of faces danced in front of her. Then Cara felt a pair of arms like steel rods grab her around the middle. Two clasped fists slammed into her diaphragm, once and then twice. The carrot shot up over the back of her tongue and out of her open mouth. Cara watched it roll under the rack of dirty trays like a little orange pinball.She coughed, a big, gaping open-mouthed hack. A string of drool hung down from her lip. She swiped at it and wheeled around, her face bright red and her eyes watering.Ethan stood just behind her, his face creased with concern. “Are you okay?” he asked.She nodded, staggering a little, and almost lost her balance. He caught at her arm, and a shock ran through her body at his touch. She coughed again. Her throat felt like it had been doused in battery acid. “Yeah,” she gasped. She swiped at her mouth, which was embarrassingly wet. “I’m okay.” Her voice came out gravelly. She caught sight of Alexis and Sydney staring at her behind Ethan’s shoulder. Alexis’s eyes were narrowed.“Wow, good. That was scary.” Ethan released her arm. Cara nodded dumbly and looked around. After sending her a few big-eyed stares, the rest of the girls started drifting away. Her nose was running. She looked around for a tissue. She couldn’t stand here in front of Ethan Gray, after he had just saved her life, with a runny nose like a five-year-old. Cara spotted a napkin on the table and snatched it up. She pressed it to her nose as Ethan patted her shoulder. “Cool, glad you’re okay.” He brushed past her.“Hey, um, thank—,” Cara started to say. But he was already heading back toward the door. Someone smelling of watermelon body spray brushed past her, uncomfortably close. “It’s amazing what some people will do for attention, isn’t it?” Alexis said loudly to Sydney.“I know!” Sydney shot a meaningful glance at Cara, then paused, a little smile playing at the corners of her mouth. “Nice one, Choker.”And then they glided away, leaving Cara alone, clutching her damp napkin, her chair overturned at her feet.© 2011 Alloy Entertainment