Fear and Self-Loathing
‘Choke,’ by Diana López, and More
Published: August 23, 2012
When you’re a teenager, especially if you’re a girl, it’s deceptively easy to wreak havoc, if unintentionally, on your body. The pressure to appear flawless and to fit in without ever breaking a sweat requires putting your best poker face forward while shoving the messiness of adolescence under the bed. Skipping meals? Why not? Sticking two fingers down your throat after too many carbs? Easy as pie. Becoming a little fast and loose with alcohol and drugs, or negotiating a quick slice of the knife across your inner thigh? It happens all the time.
In each of these three disturbing young adult novels, hollowed girls play at adulthood, attempting to assert control over themselves and their surroundings by waltzing into territory they don’t yet fully understand. Although their efforts — and those of the authors — succeed in varying degrees, the books’ unified message is loud and clear: Being a teenage girl is a tough business. One misguided step and you could be a goner.
Click here to read the full NYT review of CHOKE, along with ZOE LETTING GO by Nora Price and THE STONE GIRL by Alyssa Sheinmel.