Jun 21, 2013

Review: Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown

Title: Thousand Words
Author: Jennifer Brown
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 5.21.2013
Pages: 288
Genre: Contemporary
Series: No
Source: eARC from publisher

Rating: C

Summary (from Goodreads):
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 who isn’t afraid to confront issues making headlines around the country in her books. Her most recent addition, Thousand Words, is no exception. Unfortunately for me, it just felt dry and lackluster.

Ashleigh and I were never meant to be friends. As the story progressed I grew more and more frustrated with her. I felt, frequently, that she blamed Kaleb for everything that had gone wrong. Did Kaleb screw up? Absolutely. But Ashleigh took that picture and sent it to him. I’m sure this will be an unpopular opinion, but had she never sent the picture, it never would have been circulated. I think all-too-frequently kids want to play the blame game when things go to hell and Ashleigh was no different.

Again, I’m not saying she asked for this. Not at all. But even if she and Kaleb had lived happily ever after and he lost his phone and the pictures got out? There wouldn’t have been a picture to leak if she hadn’t taken it and sent it. Grow up and stop acting like a total victim, Ashleigh.

The other thing I disliked was the way it alternated chapters from the past to the present. I think the story lost a lot of the emotional punch and impact because of this. I felt like I was constantly being pushed back and forth just when things started to get going. Had this been told linearly, I think I would have connected more to it. As it was, I felt like I was reading two different stories that got mashed together.

I can see the appeal to this book, and I think Brown is extremely awesome for taking on an issue like sexting. I think it’s a very relevant topic that needed to be addressed. I just wish it had been formatted a bit better with a more likeable character.

Buy: Amazon 


  1. Already follow this wonderful blog via email -

  2. I agree Hannah! While of course she didn't ask for the epic fallout and backlash sending that picture caused, she did send the picture in the first place. And in this day and age with social media and the power of all things digital, I don't think anyone can expect anything to stay completely private. Kaleb is a complete a-hole for sending that picture, but he's not responsible alone.

  3. I agree with both you and Jenny. I would like to see Ashleigh take some responsibility for her actions. That she doesn't and passes the blame just annoys me. The blame game is definitely something that people play all too often these days. I mean, you did it, suck it up and deal with the consequences. Sheesh. (Of course, Kaleb's a jerk for what he did but she provided the fodder!)

  4. I enjoyed Brown's Hate List, but I may have to skip this book. On one hand, I think this book has an important message that young people need to hear, but it baffles me that anyone would ever think it's a good idea to take a nude pic of themselves and send it to anyone. And the fact that the character doesn't take at least some responsibility for her asinine action doesn't sit well with me.

  5. Too bad about this one. As I tell my kids often, what's send of a text, email or is otherwise posted in the internet, has repercussions and stays there FOREVER!

  6. Even though I haven't read it, I agree that it's easy to blame someone else, yet sending out this picture was definitely wrong in the first place. It's easy to blame the boy but she should at least reflect what she did!


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