Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown ~ Review

Available today! 

Source:  Received from publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Book Description:

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.

 My Thoughts:


4 stars - This story, this picture is so much more than a thousand words

This is not my normal read, not even close.  I wanted to read this book because I teach middle school students a unit on Internet Safety and it includes sexting.  I wish I could have them read this book.  That would be enough to convince them to never do it.  It would be enough to convince them it's possible to pick up the pieces after everything has fallen apart.  This story, this picture is so much more than a thousand words.

I liked Ashleigh.  She was your typical good student/athlete kind of girl.  Great boyfriend and great friends with no real issues.  The only problem was that her boyfriend was leaving for college and she was afraid of losing him.  Her choice to take and then send him a nude picture to keep his interest dramatically effected her life.  It effected Kaleb's life so much too.  You see, he was eighteen when he decided to pass that picture on in a fit of rage.  Now he's facing adult charges of child pornography.  Neither of these two meant to cause the problems that they did, they didn't think.  That's what I really want my students to understand.  The moment you hit send, you lose all control over what you sent.  Anything can and does happen to it once it hits cyberspace.  I explain this.  I show videos of people this happened to.  We look at real life case studies.  We make presentations about them.  But it just doesn't seem to hit home.  How do I know it doesn't hit home?  All you have to do is visit You tube to know they are not listening to me.  I think they would listen to Ashleigh.

This book is split between before and after the incident.  We see the events unfolding in one chapter and the consequences  in the next.  Knitting both sides together, this book is a powerful story of just how painful this kind of mistake can be.  It can show just how much you might have to pay for a moments mistake.  But it also shows how it's possible to survive such an event and move on with your life.

I shall not speak of Kaleb.  He made me so angry that I struggled to have sympathy for him, though I know he got much more than he deserved.   I will, however, speak of Ashleigh and Mack.  Ashleigh is strong but not enough to survive this when even her friends abandon her.  What I loved was that the quiet boy from community service had so much to teach her.  She learned without him speaking a lot.  He was her strength and stood by her.  His life and his pain was bitter but he stood by Ashleigh.  This isn't a new love interest for her, no this is a great friend.  Mack helps her discover the strength that was in her all along.  He is the friend she needs to over come the pain that others thoughtless dump on her for a moments mistake.  I loved Mack.

This is must read for any teen.  I wish I had the power to assign it as required reading at every middle school and high school in the nation, in the world.  I would.  Teens need to understand this.  This story does a powerful job of teaching.

If you are a teen, or know one, then pick this one up and check it out.



  1. Wow, fantastic review Val!! This book sounds really amazing. I wanted to read it before, but now I really want to read it!

  2. I love Brown's writing, and wish I'd had time to take this for review. The subject matter is one of the most I portably ones for kids these days to read.
    Great review, Pal!

  3. Good point. I am gonna read it and I may pass it on to my own daughter!

  4. This one sounds good. Heavy and intense, but good. Glad you liked it.

  5. Wow...I totally agree that something like this (haven't read this one, so I can't honestly swear by it) should DEFINITELY be required reading for young teens. It's a mistake that can't EVER be undone and could follow you for the rest of your life. Of course it's mostly the victim's own fault (jeez I hate saying that, but it's true) for putting it out there, but sometimes it's an intense betrayal by someone they trusted too. Telling people, especially teens, about it just doesn't really have the impact this situation deserves. Maybe reading the story from the victim's POV would mean more to them.

  6. This is a new and serious problem among teens. Sending pictures can lead to a lot of horrible consequences. I think in the heat of the moment, wanting to keep your boyfriend interested or wanting to get back at your ex-girlfriend, people do things they don't think through.

  7. Great review. The book shows some realistic problems a teen can go through.

  8. Kaleb made me angry too, but I almost felt sympathy when he talked about being a teacher.

    1. Yes I agree. I think his price to pay was too high even if he made me mad.