Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Choke by Diana Lopez

by Diane Lopez
Scholastic Press
ISBN: 978-0-545-41822-5
Suggested Ages: Publisher says 8+ (I personally recommend 10+ - but just my opinion) Scholastic Canada does say 12+
Buy From Indigo

Description: 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?

Note: Having a hard time reviewing this based on the subject matter & recommended reading age.  It could be that I am just nieve and out of touch, but feel that 8 might be a little too young for this. Often at this age they often read stuff like this and try it no matter how hard the author tries to show the consequences of the act..  Now this is only based on my feelings and I would love to hear everyones opinion on this. 

The Good Stuff
  • Author very much understands the emotions of a  grade 8 girl - such a horribly confusing time and many parents forget how tough this period is
  • Some humour added at just the right moments
  • Lovely messages about being /accepting yourself (Love Elena - wish I had had that kind of inner confidence when I was that age)
  • Parents were mostly realistic
  • Not overly preachy - sorta reminds me of those Go Ask Alice type books I read when I was around 10
  • Story does show the horrible consequences of this horrific game (which I still cannot seem to get why anyone would do it -- but than again feel the same way about drugs)
The Not So Good Stuff
  • not sure I agree of suggested reading age -- but still undecided on this and would love to do some research into it
  • Nina's parents should have gotten her some help & fact that she had to change schools but no therapy mentioned for her problem seems off
Favorite Quotes/Passages

"I probably learned more about Isaac Newton that anyone else in class - like he's the guy who came up with gravity, not the guy who invented Fig Newtons."

"I nodded. Elena might look and act like a little girl, but sometimes she was as wise as a ninety year old."

"I often tell her to get with the fashion program, to update, but she just points to herself and says, "This is me, take it or leave it" she honestly doesn't care what other people think."

Who Should/Shouldn't Read
  • I would say for the more reluctant reader - as it is not as developed as a stronger reader may prefer
  • Obviously if a child you know seems to be getting into this dangerous game I would suggest this as a non preachy book about the dangers consequences of this stupid game
  • Would be a good one to keep on hand in all public and school libraries
  • Good for class discussion as well
3 Dewey's

I picked this up at Book Expo America 2012


  1. This one looks interesting! I agree with the subject matter seeming a little old for the age it's for ... it seems like something I might enjoy reading, but 8 years old? Just a wee bit young ...

    I love books that make for good discussions, though!

    Great review! :)

    1. Definitely a book for discussion - and glad I am not the only one thinking that 8 is way too young, Thanks for the comment!!!

  2. I must be living under a rock - I have never heard of this "game", yikes! I don't understand why the publisher says this would be good for 8 year olds, especially if the book is about kids in 8th grade? Hopefully it's a typo...

    Sounds like an interesting read though (but I'm 29, not 8!).

  3. It seems to be a cycle - every three or four years, we have Grade 6 girls, trying to outdo each other in this game. Inevitably, someone is hurt and we have the 'talk' with them about it.Can't imagine what it would be like to read this as a parent (would likely run off to put my kid in bubble wrap for six years!).

    Agree that aged 8 is far too young - kids tend to read 2-3 years below their own age, so I'd sit at 11 or 12 for this one.

    1. Thanks for commenting Jenn & very much appreciate your experience on this one. Like Brie I felt like I was living under a rock since I had never heard of this before

  4. I'd like to keep my head in the sand if 8 year olds should read this!

    1. rofl - I agree - all i had to worry at that age were my barbies