Thousand Words is a book about sexting, and all the things that can happen in case you do it. This is not my first Jennifer Brown’s book, I picked up a while ago The Hate List, and I really enjoyed it. It seems like this author is always dealing with real issues (well, from the two books I read, this one included), and that’s something I appreciate, a lot. It was a pleasant read, but I didn’t fell in love with it, sadly.
“”It was one sentence. A sentence I would never forget, no matter how long I lived. “Hey Nate said he saw a pic of you naked yesterday””
Ashleigh is a teenager, and, like every other teen in the world, and any human, for that matters, she makes mistakes. So, when at a party, missing her boyfriend Kaleb who’s been MIA all summer, her friends suggest she takes a picture of herself naked to send it to him, she thinks, why not. One single action. The picture gets out, and everyone sees it. And a million consequences. I really enjoyed the way the story unfolded : we’re travelling between present time, where the main character has to do community service because of this sexting ; and past time, where we see how it all happened and every piece of the domino effect that came with it. I thought, at first, that the pace was a little slow. I wanted to see, right away, everything, but maybe that’s just because I was impatient. I’m glad it happened this way: we get the surroundings, the peer pressure Ashleigh gets, her life before it happens. Jennifer Brown perfectly describes high school life, and friendships. Moreover, I loved right from the start that this story explored an interesting theme, sexting.
“People talked. Let them talk. Nothing I could do to stop them. They knew the thousand words, but they didn’t know the rest of the story.”
I have to say, despite all of this, I had a hard time relating to Ashleigh’s character. At first, I found it difficult to connect with her, in between flashbacks and present time, I was still trying to decide who she was, and if she was still that person or not, whether I liked her, or not. I found out after a few pages only that I didn’t really like past Ashleigh. Don’t get me wrong: it’s not because she made a mistake, and sent that picture. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s just the way she kept being self-centered, and asking about her fate, but not caring about how it affects others around her, too. I could not stand her especially in the bits we get to see of her relationship with Kaleb. However, as the story unfolded, Ashleigh’s character grew on me. I didn’t love her, or connect with her as much as I would have liked. But I understand this is hard to do, especially given the situation she’s in. I liked her development, her change thorough the story.
There is something I have to point out, though : the relationship between Mack and Ashleigh. Mack, he’s the guy she meets at community service. A nice, mysterious guy. Expecting a love story to blossom here? You’re wrong. I love being able to say that. This is a young adult book without a love story. And this was good. And yes, I’m happy to say it exists. However, I have to say that the relationship wasn’t as developped as I would’ve liked it to be. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want a love story. I expected it, and was prepared to sigh. But it didn’t happen. They share a few parts of their lives, along with some candies. I thought this could’ve gone a little farther, in terms of spending time together. I loved the moments when they were outside of the community service, and I think this could have happened a little more. I don’t know how, or why. But we didn’t get to know Mack very much. I would have liked to. But I understand that this was the point of the book: focusing of Ashleigh. Her story, her character, her development thorough all of this drama. I have to say, this was well-crafted.
Overall, A Thousand Words was a relevant story about an original theme that isn’t explored much. It shows the evolution of a simple text, and how it can go viral, and ruin a lot of lives. Not only the ones who sent, and received the texts, but everyone around, too. Friends, family. It affects everyone. I liked these moments when it wasn’t too focused on Ashleigh, and we could see how their parents were affected by this, and her friends. I liked the story, the writing, alternating between past and present, and making me keep reading to see how it happened. I especially liked how this book shows what peer pressure can do. If I could have gotten a little bit more attached to the main character, maybe it would have earned a fourth star out of five. However, I’m still looking forward to read other books by Jennifer Brown. She’s a great author, writing with interesting themes, and I’m curious to see what subject I can read about next.
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.