Friends of Choice (Wings from Ashes, #1)

Rated 2.64/5 based on 11 reviews
New school, new friends, hot football captain and an invite to a Friday night party could spell disaster. Karla trusts anyone who will befriend her. This is just the way she is. But should she really be so trustful? More

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About Linda Nelson

Linda Nelson published her first YA romance in 2013. She is a self-published author who began her writing career in 2010 as just a Fantasy & YA Writer. Now it is all about the romance, a huge career change that took place in the past couple of years when she discovered RWA. Fantasy is her favorite genre to read and write, and her favorite way to escape the day to day life. When she writes YA contemporary she loves to infuse them with conflict, the more, the better. Linda works a full time job by day and writes at night and on the weekends. When she took the plunge into publishing, she jumped into the stream of self-publishing, learning everything the hard way. She is a native of Massachusetts but migrated to Southern New Hampshire later on in life.

Also in Wings from Ashes

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Reviews

Review by: cottontail on June 18, 2012 :
A book for teens. A book about coming of age and trying to fit in at a new school and in a new town. I thought this book was a good read although different in the type of books I normally read. I would recommend to teens to check it out.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Emily Tuley on Oct. 09, 2011 :
This was a fast pace story and I almost wish there was a little more from the other side than the few small sections there was. Just to show the cruelty and deceptiveness that has come to grasp our young adults. It's a very accurate and sometimes disappointing betrayal of how the teen girls and guys of generations have come to be. Down right vindictive and cruel for no other reason than they can be. It's a very good story with a touching moral and proof that you need to be sure of what you want to do with your life and the choices you make.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Ezinwanyi on Sep. 02, 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.

Finally, I think a better title would have been "Choice of Friends".

**I won this book as part of the LibraryThing Member Giveaway**
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: P Brown on Aug. 11, 2011 :
Teenage girl forced to move to new town, attend a new school, leaves behind old friends and gets caught up with a new crowd that does not have her best interests at heart. Girl continues to hang out with new friends, despite misgivings because….they’re popular! And it’s cool to be popular! Okay, I get all of that. Sounds fairly realistic to me so far.
The author then adds a morality tale component to the story: Parents, even though they are not perfect, have your best interests at heart and you shouldn’t lie to them. Okay, I’ll buy that, too. It’s a good thing to sneak into a YA novel. And it is a point well-taken, because I think most kids do feel guilty about deceiving their parents, so it’s nice to see that portrayed in a YA novel.
The e-book version, as mentioned by other reviewers, needs some serious editing. I won’t list all of the issues because several other readers have already listed the problems in detail. There are also a few confusing issues regarding the plot that should be fixed, so the reader isn’t left wondering what is really going on and can concentrate on the story as it moves forward. Why did they have to move? Why so much talk about the old neighbor and then she just sort of falls out of the story? One party results in a gang rape, horrible car crash and a meth bust? Really? I suppose it could happen and probably has happened, but still…And what is up with Carol? If I’m supposed to believe that she is really overcome with that much remorse, I need to know more about her character. The one part that I didn’t have an issue with, but some other readers did, was the whole mom-thinks-malls-are-evil thing. I didn’t have an issue with that, because I actually know a woman like that. I think it’s just an overreaction to all of the anxiety caused by trying to raise a child in today’s society.
The book’s premise isn’t bad; it just needs work. The writing can be stilted, the proofreading is atrocious, and the ending is horrible. The reader would have been better served if there was less time spent on moving at the beginning of the book, and more time spent on the aftermath of the party. There is potential here; I would like to see the author rework this and try again. At the same time, I am not at all interested enough to read any upcoming sequel.
I was glad that the author included resources at the end of the novel.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Jill Bemis on July 28, 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.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Amber Carroll on July 28, 2011 :
Karla has to move to a new town because of her father's job. Karla generally has a hard time making friends but this time around it seems easy...almost too easy. This story has a good message but is pretty short and can seem to not flow as easily as it could. It also seems to end abruptly with no resolution. I enjoyed the story overall.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Cathy T. on July 12, 2011 :
This is a Reading Good Books review.

I tried. Don’t get me wrong… I really tried. But I couldn’t finish this. I couldn’t even get to the midpoint. Provided it was just 88 pages on e-book.

I respect the obvious effort of the author to make a compelling story and (as I skipped to the end) a public service to teens, the writing was just so bad. There’s no other, nicer way to say it. Just… BAD.

Errors – typographical or grammatical or BOTH – litter the whole thing. At least the parts I’ve read. But based on the other reviews I’ve read, it’s the main issue of this book. Misplaced spaces, punctuations, hyphenations, two words that should be compounded, ending with a preposition, redundant phrases and words… ah, it was so distracting and irritating. It needs MAJOR overhaul. It’s a shame that my copy is digital or else, I would’ve taken it upon myself to proofread the damn thing. All the errors made it so hard to read.

“Baited breath”? “We’re moving and that’s finale“? I’m pretty sure no spell check in the world would make that mistake. After reading these, I just gave up. And the whole “Oooh… the mall is a bad place for teenagers because they steal and get into trouble at the malls” — I was laughing at the absurdity.

I was surprised to see a Green Day mention. And of Boulevard of Broken Dreams, dubbed “I Walk Alone”. Geez.

I can’t even give this book a single star but I will for effort.

Rating: 1/5.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: rhonda laney on July 11, 2011 :
As a parent of two college girls this book scares me. I wish thier was no way kids would drug other kids and set them up for rape. It is written well and I appreciate the information at the end of the story.
Karla is a 16 year old when her family sells their house and moves to a bigger town two towns away. She is not happy with her parents over it. Karla does not get along with her mom. Her mom drinks a lot and is controlling. Karla has a lot of anger.
The first day at new school she meets Carol and makes friends with her. She is suspious of Carol and friends and all the whispering around her. Karla ignores her concerns even when she finds out Carol shops lift and thinks she might take drugs.
The teenagers make a lot of bad choices and slips things too Karla that she does not know and almost kills her.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Suzanne Morris on Feb. 13, 2011 :
This YA novel is about the loss of friendship when life takes you to different parts of the world. Karla's parents move her "a few towns away," though it feels more like just the other side of the mall. She leaves behind her three best friends and her school. Karla, like any teen, is not happy with moving away from everything she knows, but Dad has a better job in this new town. Karla can be a surly teen during this time and has problems in her relationship with mom, an alcoholic with a temper.

Oddly, the moment the family pulls in the driveway of their new home Karla has a change of heart, or did that happen when she realized the mall was now within walking distance? Or was it when she laid eyes on her bedroom for the first time or the in-ground pool in the backyard. Point is, Karla's angst over moving, the loss of old friends and school disappear like they never mattered much. Karla finds she likes her new school and is accepted quickly therel.

Karla instantly becomes best friends with Carol, the leader of the cool group of students (made up of the usual type: football players, cheerleaders, and any student that can provide something they need). Except for the short time that Karla's old friends visit, she spends most of her time with or around Carol. They eat lunch together, even though the other girls whisper (I think we are to think is about Karla). Karla goes to the mall, turning the other way when Carol shoplifts (an item Karla later wears to a party). The guy Karla likes only gives her attention or a smile when Carol tells him to. The entire world is at odds with all Kayla once knew yet she never really questions anything.

At the climatic parents-are-away party Karla, all dressed up thanks to Carol and the shop-lifted item, takes her first drink only moments after entering the house, without pause, a bit odd for the child of an alcoholic. She then accepts the hand of the guy she likes and follows him to an upstairs bedroom, again without pause.. There he pretends to like her and proceeds to play baseball, hitting a home run over Karla's objections. Suddenly the door flies open and four more guys take a swing. This was all Carol's idea of revenge. What had Karla done to deserve this? She had the audacity to change schools. Seriously? Because Karla had gone to a rival high school she was slipped the date drug, not once but twice leading to an overdose. Revenge in the form of rape, which gets out of hand and becomes a gang rape. Seriously? And the ending? Where is it? Loose threads are everywhere making for a completely dissatisfying end. What was the author thinking leaving everything unfinished like this?

For me book was difficult to stay with in the beginning. Those first few pages, until the actual move, are dry, without a hook to make the pages turn. Once the move occurred the pace picked up yet still dragged at times. The voice of the kids sounded the same. Everyone used the slang "'Kay" including the adults way too many times. The phrase became annoying.

I think the entire book needs a re-edit and polished. It could be a good story, even an interesting story, a horror story Just not a cautionary story, unless gang rape revenge for being the new kid in school has become a problem. The ending was non-existent and immediately made me think the author was more interested in fishing for a sequel than finishing "book one." I do not know if I could read another Karla story; the character is not compelling. I do think everyone who reads this will want that missing ending and be frustrated to find it doesn't exist.

NOTE: received from author
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Suzanne Swank on Jan. 04, 2011 :
This book had a really good moral to it. I would recommend an edited copy for teens, 13-17 or so.

It follows a young girl, 16 years old, from the house that she grew up in to a new house, a new town, and a new school. She was forced to leave behind her two best friends. She tries to make friends at her new school, and ends up falling in with the wrong crowd.

It covers everything from shoplifting to drug use to date rape. It is a cautionary tale for teens to be careful who they choose as friends.

The ending was quite a cliffhanger. I didn't feel that it really brought any closure to the characters.

I was not impressed with the grammar, spelling, or punctuation in the e-book copy. It was very choppy, words were misspelled, and the grammar and punctuation were wrong a lot of the time.

But as far as the storyline goes, it was great. And as soon as my nine year old daughter is a little bit older, since there is a rape scene, I will be having her read it.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Stephanie on Dec. 26, 2010 :
This is a story of a girl who is very sheltered. She moves to a new home and school where is makes friends with a very popular girl, who is into parties and drugs. They decide to play a prank on the girl involving drugs. As the story concludes, you are left wondering if she lives or not, if the other boy lives, and how her parents react to all the happened. There are a lot of questions left unanswered and a lot of other issues, like why they had to move and why her mother is drinking again, left unanswered also. Overall this is a good book to teens to read and think about/discuss but there does need more resolution to the problems at hand.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

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