Title: Thousand Words
Author: Jennifer Brown
Expected publication: May 21st 2013 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: eARC courtesy of the publisher for an honest review
"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."
First line: "The community service I'd been court ordered to complete was held in one of the downstairs classrooms at the Chesterton Publics School Central Office."
Thoughts: THOUSAND WORDS is probably one of the hardest books I have ever read. The pain is so raw and on top of that, the events are so realistic that I could practically feel it happening to me. Though this wasn't an easy read, the message was incredibly powerful and thought-provoking. Touching and honest, THOUSAND WORDS is a book every girl, no matter your age, should read.
First off, Ashleigh was one of the good girls. She got good grades, got along with her parents, and has never done anything wrong. That is, until her friends convince her to take a picture of herself naked and send it to her distant and distracted boyfriend, Kaleb. I don't know whether it was the alcohol or the feelings of neglect because the once high school sweetheart decides to turn into a vixen. The clothes are off, the picture is sent and poof, done. Who knew that this one moment, this one mistake would completely alter her life forever.
The reason I said all girls should read this book is because with today's generation, girls are taking pictures of themselves naked, half naked, partially naked or just even seductively posed. Girls carelessly send these pictures to their boyfriends or post them online without thinking of the consequences. As a girl who has been friends with mainly boys her entire life, I can tell you right now that those personal pictures are hardly ever kept private. Boys like to show off. Even if you think you can trust him, that doesn't mean he'll be the only one who ever sees these picture. Did you know people go through other people's phones just for fun? And really, who's to say your relationship will work out? I'm not saying it won't, but a lot of relationships don't work out and since you can't delete a picture you've already sent, that leaves you in a bit of a predicament. I actually have a guy friend who has an album in his phone with dirty pictures of girls, and it's not like he downloaded them from the world wide web. No, they're his keepsakes from past relationships or just girls who tried to seduce him. Is what he does right? Absolutely not. He's a pervert for doing it, but as the saying goes, boys will be boys, and you can't take those pictures back.
As for Ashleigh, her case is to the extreme. When her relationship with Kaleb takes an ugly turn, not only is her picture shared with the entire school, it's also posted on the web. Parents are upset (as they should be), but even though Ashleigh is the victim, they want someone to take the blame. Since she's a minor, her picture is considered child pornography. It doesn't matter that she's not the one who spread it around the school and that she's hurt by it, too. She took the picture and sent it to Kaleb and now her family is paying the price. Her friends turn their backs on her, and people text her, calling her a slut and other nasty things. These people don't care that Ashleigh never meant to hurt anyone nor her intentions behind the picture. They want blood and sadly, it's her life they want to destroy.
As for Kaleb, you're going to have to read the novel to find out what happens to him and whether or not Ashleigh ever gets to confront him. Half the intensity in this book is reading the whole story. The background, the aftermath, etc and frankly, I wouldn't want to take that away from you. It's well worth the read and though the subject matter is difficult to read, it doesn't change the fact that you should give it a go. THOUSAND WORDS is about telling your story, even if no one wants to hear it and finding inner strength you didn't know you had. It's also about friendships and how people you hardly know can surprise you. I'm not sure if I will be able to reread this book anytime soon, but I do know that I'm grateful Jennifer Brown had the guts to write it and even more grateful that I read it. Trust me, you will be too.