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Friends of Choice by Linda Nelson
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Friends of Choice

by Linda Nelson

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Brutally honest look at what can happen to a child who just wants to make friends. Kayla's family have lost their jobs and have had to sell their house and move to another town. Kayla meets Carol at her new school and Carol starts to include Kayla. Kayla notices that Carol's friends are whispering and she starts to feel uncomfortable but she is new in school and doesn't want them to not like her. After hanging out with Carol, Kayla notices her deliquient behavior and she wonders if Carol is really trying to be her friend. ( )
  Scoshie | Jan 2, 2012 |
I won this in the member giveaways and was sorely disappointed. I felt that the main character was whiny and a caricature of a high school girl. She complained bitterly about very minor things that her parents did. The book over all was very predictable and could use editing. ( )
2 vote Whitaknee | Sep 11, 2011 |
This story was about a high school teenager named Karla Centon. Her family moved after her father got a new job in another town. She wasn’t that popular in her old school, so she may have seen this new school as a new opportunity to reinvent herself.

She meets a girl named Carol and Carol befriends her. It is obvious that Carol has some bad behavior from the beginning, but Karla chose to overlook it. Carol was drinking, shop lifting, unconcerned with her education or really her future, lacked parental guidance and Carol was appeared to be a bully.
Karla didn’t really stand up for herself or her values, but then again, the author didn’t make it clear whether Karla even had good values. At least Karla’s mom asked where she was going and appeared concerned, whereas Carol’s mom was just clueless.

Carol invites Karla to a house party where drugs and alcohol were present. Karla takes a drink from Carol and never asked her what she was drinking. Karla also didn't ask Carol what was the substance that Carol dropped into the drinks that fizzed.
At the end of the night (and book), Karla ended up at the hospital.
A lot of things come to light.

1) Lots of great issues touched upon: self-esteem, shoplifting, drugs, date rape, drinking, academics vs. sports, parental/child relationships or lack thereof, dangers of alcoholism, consequences of job loss, bullying etc.
However, it was too much stuff for such a small book. Also these subjects were mentioned but not delved into. I would have preferred 1-3 topics fully developed rather than this kitchen sink type of plot.

2) I didn’t like the fact that I didn’t have a good grasp on Karla’s personality. Was she a strong person before meeting Carol and was duped? Or was she a follower anyway? I would like to say that she would not have had sex with Gerry without the date rape drug…but I can’t. Karla didn’t seem to take a stand on much, so I don’t know what her behavior would have been. Either way, it doesn’t excuse Gerry’s behavior.

3) The date rape drugs, alcohol and jocks theme is kind of stereotypical, but I do appreciate the point that sometimes being with the Captain of the football team can cloud a girl’s judgment. But Date rape is hard to prove. I am surprised Carol was so forth coming, that seems inconsistent with her personality.
I didn't like the cops not being truthful with the Karla.

4) There were issues with the family that wasn’t explored well. For instance, Mrs. Centon’s drinking was mentioned a lot but we don’t know when she started, how long and what may have precipitated the drinking. Alcoholism in woman is becoming a problem in society, so the author could have expounded on that issue, and it affected the family. Instead there were a couple of sentences thrown in about foreclosure due to her behavior/problem.

5) Carol seemed to have set Karla up from the minute she realized Karla was from a rival school. But then Carol seemed genuinely upset that Karla was gang-raped and that she overdosed on drugs. Carol said this was what they did to rivals, which leads me to believe that Carol has done this to a previous girl. So why the remorse now? Also, how does Carol afford alcohol and drugs? Surely she can steal clothes, but it’s hard to steal drugs and alcohol.

This book was disturbing to me. I realize that the subject matter is a very real issue in our society and deserves a lot of discussion, but I don’t think it was done well. There are a lot of holes in the plot or areas that require much more development.
My suggestion would be to use this story as an outline and then go back and expand on the issues the author wants to bring to the forefront. A good idea, perhaps not executed as well as the author could have.

**I won this book as part of the LibraryThing Member Giveaway** ( )
  Ezinwanyi | Sep 2, 2011 |
I won this e-book from LibraryThing Early Reviewers/Member Giveaway Group.
I'm not sure how I feel about the book. I like that this books is supposed to be through the eyes of a teenage girl, but I didn't like how the author had the parents talking. Almost sounded childish to me. The idea of the book is great, If they fixed it up a lil' bit I think it is one I would let my daughter read. It's a great book to teach teens how easily they can be influenced to do things they wouldn't normally do. ( )
  RNP247 | Aug 31, 2011 |
Kara moves to a new town, attends a new school and makes new friends, who then set her up for date rape and an overdose of alcohol laced with ecstasy.

***

Author Linda Nelson emphasizes the influence friends can have on teens and the consequences from deceiving parents in this story of Kara, a self-conscious and insecure teen with an alcoholic mother and an enabling father. Kara gets good grades, but more than anything else she wants to belong. She can’t believe that Carol wants to be her friend. She overlooks Carol’s shoplifting and her uneasy feelings that sneaking around with Carol will lead to trouble.

This story is meant to be a cautionary tale. Responsible parents know who their children’s friend are and don’t let them associate with the wrong crowd. The moral would appear to be that their children should choose their friends wisely and should not trust them in lieu of their parents, no matter how dysfunctional said parents may be. After all, dysfunctional parents can still be loving parents.

This e-book version of Friends of Choice needs editing. There are some awkward sentences where the meaning is not clear or appears to be opposite to the author’s intent. For example, “She took Darcy’s place at the table, hoping she would be angry with her for taking her place.” I think in this situation Kara would not want new acquaintances to be angry with her. Also several paragraphs in chapter 21 are repeated in chapters 22 and 23. Using “’Kay” repeatedly and referring to certain songs accentuates how out of touch the writer is with current slang and the musical tastes of teenagers. The reader is left wondering if the parents lost their old house to foreclosure and how they could afford to buy a new, bigger house with an outdoor pool. Finally, the story ends abruptly with all of the characters hanging in limbo. ( )
  bemislibrary | Jul 28, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0557497426, Paperback)

Karla's parents have sold the house and now she has to move. She hates the thought of moving to a new town. This will mean leaving her best friends behind. Her parents told her it was because of her Dad's job and Karla thinks they have not been fair to her. She wonders why she can't have a say in moving or where they are moving to. This whole ordeal has left her feeling angst and rebellious toward her folks.
The school she is to attend is about three times the size of her old school. It can hold many new opportunities for her.
At Brantwood High, she meets Carol Bower, who helps her find her first class. She invites Karla to eat lunch with her and is introduced to her clique of friends.
In her history class, Karla meets her first crush. He is one of Carol's friends. He is also the football captain of the varsity team.
They invite Karla to her first teen party. But first, she must convince her parents into letting her sleep over Carol's.
She begins to feel she is about to be a victim of hazing. Karla starts to have second thoughts about going to this party and hanging out with Carol and her friends.
Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:19 -0400)

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