cover image Choke


Diana L%C3%B3pez. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-545-41822-5

Windy longs to be part of the "in crowd," so she is thrilled when pretty, confident Nina transfers to her middle school and takes an interest in her. But the popular new girl has a dangerous secret: she likes playing the choking game, in which a girl strangles a friend until she passes out. "That's what makes us breath sisters—we put our lives in each other's hands. Can you think of a better way to prove your friendship?" Nina asks Windy. The game is not only about trust but also, Windy learns, about getting high from oxygen deprivation, and Nina soon has many girls participating. Windy is conflicted, but plays along until things go too far. López (Confetti Girl), a former middle school teacher writing from personal experience, weaves facts about the choking game into her story and includes a list of online resources. Secondary story lines add little, but readers will relate to Windy's struggle, which is honestly related. An educational, issue-driven read that could be a useful discussion starter. Ages 12–up. Agent: Stefanie Von Borstel, Full Circle Literary. (July)