Thousand Words, by Jennifer Brown
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Tough Subjects, Chick-lit, Romance
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Goodreads Summary: 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.
*shrugs* This, in my opinion, was probably Jennifer Brown's worst book so far. But being the worst doesn't mean that it was utterly horrible. it just was the worst out of the four by her that I've read, and that have been so far released, that's all.
Every book this lady writes deals with a tough subject that is expanding onto and into the world today, and is having young people and adults struggle with. In this case, this book deals with sexting and a mixed case of child pornography, and it was written finely.
Fifteen year old Ashleigh is a star athlete, an academic student, and is living a good life. She is tired of having her eighteen year old boyfriend, Kaleb, always being out with his baseball friends and hardly leaves any time out for her. When two of her friends suggest that she sends Kaleb a naked photo of herself that he can take to college, she thinks about it for a second, and goes into the washroom and clicks send. A few months later, Kaleb and Ashleigh break up, and Ashleigh is depressed and feels that she has gone through a large loss. Kaleb takes revenge by sending the photo to his baseball team, and before she knows it, the photo has gone viral, hitting the internet and being sent to her whole school including her friends. Kaleb and Ashleigh eventually go to court and Ashleigh is released with needing to complete 60 hours of community service by writing a brochure about the crime she has gone through. When she meets Mack, her whole world is turned upside down, and he's the only person who the photo was sent to- and who didn't look.
This is a very special story, I have to say it. It was written in two points of time- the present and the past when Ashleigh was about to send the photo and what had happened soon after she did. It was captivating, and Jennifer Brown's thoughts just push you to want more from her. You'll probably be screaming for more from this brilliant YA author, and I guarantee that you'll tear up and feel some sympathy for Ashleigh, the protagonist, during one point or another.
Contemporary novels are supposed to have a different plot and pace than books of other genres, such as thrillers. Here everything is short and sweet. You expect some sort of buildup in the book, when finding out the truth behind everything in the middle or the end, and feeling some beautiful towards the characters in the end. Jennifer Brown just mastered this so easily, and her writing is so captivating and moving that you just can't help not crying or fangirling because of the moving romance or quotes. Jennifer Brown's books are like no other.
The characters were acceptable, but not as good as I wanted them to be in a book that deals with this sort of situation. I have to say that both Ashleigh and Kaleb were too stupid for their bodies. What the heck was Ashleigh thinking when she was about to do it? She wasn't drunk, so it's not like her mind was somewhere else when she was taking a photo of herself, nude. I just feel that there's no reasonable explanation for her behaviour and this just frustrates me because she's blaming this all on Kaleb (and her parents are too when they should just beat her with a stick) when it's her fault for taking a picture of herself naked and being a slut. Hasn't she ever heard of what could happen if she does this? What are the risks that she's taking? I'm not a risk-taker, but even if I had to take a risk, I would be smart enough (most of us would be) to know what are the possibilities of something to happen. It's just that she didn't have any common sense in herself at all. She wasn't with Kaleb for that long and she's already sending him pictures of herself. That's just wrong and disturbing.
Kaleb was stupid for sending the photos around. He knew that he could get in so much trouble, and it isn't that difficult for the police to track where the photo came from and for the truth to come out, but he still did it when Ashleigh didn't even do anything wrong- she was curious and not trusting Kaleb. That's all, it was all about trust issues. Maybe if he was with Ashleigh more often and maybe if he spent more time talking with her, then this wouldn't have happened at all and they never would've broken up and Ashleigh wouldn't have ended up in community service. There, problem solved, just like that.
I really didn't like any characters from this book at all. Everyone made stupid decisions and the wrong decisions, and others, like Ashleigh's parents, were too easy-going about this whole thing. I feel that Ashleigh deserved a spank.
And then there's Mack, who was absolutely hilarious and probably the only bright side coming out of the characters. He was charming, and so cute at the same time! I would never see Ashleigh and him together as a couple, but only as true best friends who stuck by each other when troubles came to them, that's all.
Do I recommend? Absolutely, but not for a story with great characters.