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.
Thousand Words is a book dealing with tough issues that can happen to teenagers in today's world because of all the technology used. The topic, sexting, isn't one that I've read about in other YA books before. The characterization and storyline are well written and interesting.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD
Ashleigh is a great main character who has become very shaped by what she did at one pool party before school started. That was the day that her friends convinced her to take a picture of herself naked and send it to her boyfriend so he wouldn't forget her when he went to college. Little did she know how much this mistake was going to come back and bite her. Through the book, the readers get to learn more about her and see that that picture doesn't define who she is. People made many untrue assumptions about her when the picture was forwarded to them. As said in the book, "A picture is worth a thousand words, but it doesn't tell the entire story."
Mack was a good character that Ashleigh meets in community service. He never talks at first, and then they become friends. By the end of the book, he tells her that he got the text with her photo, but he didn't look at it. He helps her realize that she is more than that text. He wants her to know that it doesn't define who she is, though it may seem like it does now. He knows she can move past this experience in the future. Mack is not a love interest for Ashleigh. Their relationship remains a friendship.
This book does a great job of showing how, in a situation like this, it is impossible to assign the blame to a single person. Ashleigh tries to blame her friends for telling her to send the picture in the first place, but she could have said no to taking and sending it. Kaleb shouldn't have sent the picture around after he and Ashleigh broke up, so he obviously gets blame for that. But if Ashleigh hadn't sent him the picture in the first place, he wouldn't have had anything to send, so she deserves blame. She doesn't always realize that, since she sees herself as a victim more than a perpetrator. The book also shows the long-term implications of this situation especially for Kaleb. He's an adult, and if he is charged as a sex offender, he can't be a teacher like he wanted to.
If you like YA contemporary, read this book.