Thousand Words

Thousand Words
Age Range
13+
Release Date
May 21, 2013
ISBN
0316209724
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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.

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Thousand Words review
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3.7
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Thousand Words was a solid read. I was never bored and Brown really made me feel for Ashleigh.

I couldn't believe some of the things Ashleigh went through. I mean, I suppose I can believe since I've heard news stories and such on the matter, but I'd rather not believe it. How can parents stand up and demand justice from a girl who never wanted a picture of her naked body floating around in the first place? In what way did it "damage" your child to see it? I just wanted to stand up and yell at these people on Ashleigh's behalf.

The parents from the community, the name calling, the distancing from her best friend: all terrible things to go through, but the thing I felt for Ashleigh the most was what her relationship with her parents suffered. I can relate to the type of relationship with her parents she had. They were close and didn't believe Ashleigh was capable of doing anything that would disappoint them worse than a bad grade. So when her parents finally do find out and they react how Ashleigh thought they would, it really hurts. Her dad freezes her out and her mom can barely look at her through the disappointment. That's the worst rejection.
In the end, though, I really appreciate the way her parents dealt with their own feelings and stood behind Ashleigh.

I liked Ashleigh's growth throughout the story. When it starts out, she's naive and kind of whiny. I mean, Kaleb was being a sucky boyfriend, but she wasn't helping matters by accusing him of cheating almost every time they talked. But by the end, she starts to realize who she is and that she doesn't actually need anyone else to validate it.

I loved Ashleigh's relationship with Mack. It's so slow going I was starting to wonder if the synopsis had just exaggerated their relationship. It felt more natural that way, though, and it meant more since Mack is so closed off. And I loved even more that their relationship wasn't anything more than friends. It wouldn't have felt right any other way.

The Nutshell: Thousand Words was a solid, quick read. It's not the most powerful "issue" book I've read, but it was good in a different way. I liked watching the way Ashleigh handled everything and how she grew throughout the ordeal.

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Hard-hitting look at tough issues
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In my opinion, Jennifer Brown is one of the strongest writers of realistic fiction the YA world has. She tackles tough issues straight-on, remains objective throughout her portrayal of real life, yet manages to remain compassionate and gently honest. Her books are always excellent, and Thousand Words, her latest, is very good.

Sexting, though not something I’ve personally had experience with, is something very relevant to teenagers today. I’ve never read a book about it before, or really heard anything about it aside from an article I read in Seventeen (I think that’s where it was, anyway). But yeah. One of my favorite things about Brown is that she tends to write about real-life problems that haven’t been explored so much in fiction (school shootings, living with OCD, sexting), and then taking those issues and applying them to authentic characters in situations. I can honestly say that there’s not another YA author out there, that I’ve found, who’s able to deliver the same punch in the emotional gut. Jennifer Brown’s words and her honesty are extremely powerful.

Thousand Words is about Ashleigh, who sends a naked picture of herself to her boyfriend, and then her boyfriend sends it around his college campus and Ashleigh’s high school campus. In the end, both are charged with distributing child pornography, which for Ashleigh, is a really tough blow. Though the book deals a little with the lead-up to her conviction, most of Thousand Words is about the consequences of that naked picture, not only for Ashley, but for her parents and friends and community.

This book attempts to have a really wide scope, covering different aspects of the sexting issue and showing all sides of the issue. Unfortunately, the book is very short (especially compared to Brown’s previous novels), so I think that this only scratched the surface of its potential. Thousand Words offers a very basic overhead view of Ashleigh’s problems, but I think it lacked some of the depth I tend to associate with this author. In the end I was left wanting more.

On the other hand, the material Brown did provide was very excellent. Ashleigh’s parents weren’t perfect people, but they reacted in realistic ways to the embarrassment their daughter caused them, all while trying to give her the support she needed. Ashleigh’s best friend, Vonnie, abandoned her when things got tough, not because she was a bad person, but because she didn’t know how to handle the attention she was getting. This book does an excellent job in showing the varying responses from community members to the sexting issue. Though, again, I felt like this book didn’t delve as deep into the characters as it could have, which was certainly a disappointment.

Though it’s not my favorite Jennifer Brown novel, Thousand Words is still a great look at a serious, devastating experience. I think my biggest complaint is that this book wasn’t longer and more fleshed out, which in the long run isn’t a very major issue. I definitely recommend this to fans of the genre, or those interested in books on sexting.
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Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown
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In this day and age, EVERYONE is plugged in. From me, to my mom, to even my grandmother. Everything in the world is done on computers and everyone I know has some type of a cell phone. And this story proves that that is not always a good thing.
In this story, we meet Ashleigh, a girl who is sitting in community service due to a situation that spiraled out of her control. She took a picture of herself in the nude and sent it to her then boyfriend. After a nasty break up, he sent it to one person and naturally, the entire school sent it out, seen it, or told someone else about it. Although she feels that no one understands her and that no one will ever speak to her again, she meets one person who turns her world upside down.
With this being my first Brown novel, I was excited to begin it. I had heard so many great things about it, but none of the comments I got could actually compare to the greatness that is this book. I loved absolutely everything about this book. What I loved most was the emotional roller-coaster of this book. Brown took me way past the normal feels of happy and sad, and took me to bigger things like scared, in love, and upset.
Another thing I really loved about this was how relevant it was. This story couldn't have come at a better time. With so much of the world being "plugged in," this is happening way more than it should. Brown completes the difficult task of showing what happens to everyone involved in the sending of the text.
This story reminded me of a Lifetime movie I watched once, but with a much better result. Ashleigh was able to meet the one person who ignored the text. Not because they didn't get it, but because it was the right thing to do. He reminds Ashleigh that even though things are so bad, other people out in the world sometimes have it worse than you do. And also that no matter where you go and what happens to you, everywhere you go, you will always find a friend.
In this story Brown has written a brilliant realistic fiction novel that should be used as required reading in schools. To show the children all about "sexting" and the pain it causes everyone in a non-teachy way.
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Good story about an important issue of be careful what you put in a text or online.
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enjoyed this emotional book by Jennifer Brown. Thousand Words deals with a touchy subject, and the consequences of a decision, that led to criminal charges, a reputation ruined, and bullying.
I especially enjoyed the friendship that developed between Ashleigh and Mack. He was surrounded by mystery and I liked that. I also appreciated that he wasn't smokin hot, but that he actually had a personality and stood up for what it right. I just couldn't imagine what had put him in the community service program because he didn't seem the type.
The book slowed a bit for me because of the jumps in time. I was easily able to tell what time frame we were in because of the chapter headings, and even the demeanor of Ashleigh. She grew and changed so much in this one that you can pretty much automatically tell by her emotional state and her thoughts.

Bottom Line: Good story about an important issue of be careful what you put in a text or online.
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