Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
288 pages (Hardcover)
Ashleigh's boyfriend, Kaleb, is about to leave for college, and Ashleigh is worried that he'll forget about her while he's away. So at a legendary end-of-summer pool party, Ashleigh's friends suggest she text him a picture of herself -- sans swimsuit -- to take with him. Before she can talk herself out of it, Ashleigh strides off to the bathroom, snaps a photo in the full-length mirror, and hits "send."
But when Kaleb and Ashleigh go through a bad breakup, Kaleb takes revenge by forwarding the text to his baseball team. Soon the photo has gone viral, attracting the attention of the school board, the local police, and the media. As her friends and family try to distance themselves from the scandal, Ashleigh feels completely alone -- until she meets Mack while serving her court-ordered community service. Not only does Mack offer a fresh chance at friendship, but he's the one person in town who received the text of Ashleigh's photo -- and didn't look. Acclaimed author Jennifer Brown brings readers a gripping novel about honesty and betrayal, redemption and friendship, attraction and integrity, as Ashleigh finds that while a picture may be worth a thousand words . . . it doesn't always tell the whole story. (From Goodreads)
Thousand Words is a book with a powerful message about the dangers of sexting, and while I respect that message, the story itself did nothing for me.
The whole story revolves around the move of a douchebag boy, who decides to send a naked photo of his girlfriend out to his contacts, and the aftermath that she has to deal with. Ashleigh ends up going through the ringer for this, and there are child pornography charges and other assorted legal troubles that really emphasize the risks of sending nude texts. It's kind of scary to think about, and that is the power this book has. It shows the extended effects of bullying and the implications on other family members. I respect how Jennifer Brown brings forward a side of sexting that I had never even really considered.
That being said, this quote from the book pretty much sums up how I felt about it.
There was nothing about the book that really drew me in and made me want to keep reading. I almost DNFed it a couple times, but kept going with the hopes of a big turnaround that never came. The message was powerful, but the story didn't match that.
Throughout the book I found myself wishing the story would change directions. What was going on with the douchbag? What is going on with Mack? The book brought up this whole story about Mack and the left it there and did nothing with it. I don't want to give anything away, but a semi-predictable bomb is dropped and then nothing is done with the that. I don't even think it was mentioned again. There was so little of anything, and a lot of whining by Ashley about how no one understands how she feels, meanwhile she refuses to accept the implications her actions had on others. It just didn't keep me engaged in the story.
Ultimately, Thousand Words had a powerful message but a dull story. Regardless, I respect Jennifer Brown for bringing up the topic and would suggest this book for a lot of high schoolers.