Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown
Publisher: Little Brown (US)
Release: May 21st 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Borrowed from Jasprit @ The Readers Den
"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."
Jennifer Brown is an author whose books have always sounded interesting to me but I’ve never actually took the plunge and read one. So when my blogger friend Jasprit offered to lend me her latest novel Thousand Words I jumped at the chance to finally check this author out.
Thousand Words covers the subject of teen sexting. Ashleigh and Kaleb’s relationship has been rocky all summer with Kaleb making plans to go off to college. With the pressure of Kaleb being away and surrounded by experienced college girls Ashleigh worries that they will grow apart. After being drunkenly encouraged by her friends Ashleigh snaps a naked picture of herself which she sends to Kaleb. For a while the photo seems to bring them closer together but when Kaleb goes to college the cracks in their relationship re-appear and after a nasty break-up Kaleb sends the picture to his friends. As well as being publicly humiliated it seems like everybody has something to say about the picture and have their own ideas on who Ashleigh is as a person. But whilst a picture speaks a thousand words it doesn’t tell the whole story or define who somebody is, and this is Ashleigh’s story behind the picture.
The book is told in a past and present narrative from Ashleigh’s point of view. Before, tells the story of that fateful day when Ashleigh takes the picture and follows how everything so disastrously fell apart. And the present day is Ashleigh serving her community service as she is prosecuted for child pornography for taking the picture of herself. I loved how this story was told and although I preferred the past chapters and seeing how everything went down I also enjoyed reading about Ashleigh picking herself back up again and claiming back her life and dignity in the present.
One of the things I found really refreshing about Thousand Words is the lack of a love story. A Young Adult book without a love story? You say. Yes. I was shocked too. So at the start there is Ashleigh and Kaleb’s relationship but ain’t nothing romantic about that boy! At times I wondered if a romance would blossom between Ashleigh and Mack – a guy she meets at community service who didn’t look at her picture – but Mack is just a friend who helps Ashleigh reclaim her life. I loved the lack of a romantic interest and appreciated this story of standing up for yourself and forgiveness instead, it was certainly something different!
Overall Thousand Words offers up something completely different in the YA Contemporary market and I was captivated by Ashleigh’s unique story and her journey to redemption. Jennifer Brown blurs the lines between victim and offender making Thousand Words a thought provoking novel that I really enjoyed. After reading this book I’m definitely eager to read more from this author!