Thursday, January 2, 2014

Review of Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown

Thousand Words
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.

(Summary from GoodReads)


Brown’s books are nothing if not timely.  Thousand Words tackles sexting from an understandable perspective.  I found this book quick yet preachy and forgettable.

By the time I had a cell phone, it was common knowledge that you shouldn’t share private content via text, and I wonder how much that prevented me from connecting with the story.  Given the copyright date of this book, you’d think Ashleigh would have also known this.  I realize that she was drunk, but since I rarely have more than three drinks in a night, I just didn't buy it, and teenaged Liz wouldn't have either.  I also found there were points of the story where she was a little accusatory towards her ex, but I won’t say where due to spoilers.  Otherwise, I didn't care for her much.  I appreciated the fact that she was a runner, but she was fairly meh for me.

Brown did a nice job of addressing the scope of Ashleigh’s crime.  While she’s in community service, Ashleigh finds herself drawing a lot of comparisons between herself and others in the room. She becomes interested in a boy she meets there, Mack, and I was intrigued by him right away.

Ashleigh copes with family drama as well as a lot of involvement from the community.  The family drama felt true to real life, and I applaud Brown for that.  When it came to the issue of sexting, it felt like Brown only put in the bare minimum regarding that story. We hear much more extreme cases in real life, and it felt like she was afraid to really go into the issue.

Thousand Words isn’t a bad book, but it’s not one I’m going to remember. Brown’s novel feels like it’s aimed at adults who want to see this issue addressed from a teen perspective.  I guess I just don’t know a lot of teens who’d want to read this particular story, unless they already love Brown’s work.

Disclosure: I received a digital galley of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Other reviews:
Little Pieces of Imagination
Rather Be Reading 
Steph the Bookworm

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