Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Review: Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown

Title: Thousand Words
Author: Jennifer Brown
Published: May 21st 2013
Add It: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

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.

I actually don’t know why this book has such a low rating on Goodreads since it voiced an important issue that my generation most definitely has: everything is pictured and filmed and instantly published without no shame or thoughts about the consequences. In my opinion, Thousand Words is a great novel for teenagers to read and offers thoughts to grown-ups as well.

“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.” 

The story. Ashleigh is one of the popular kids and has a ton of friends. She’s in the school’s track team, has a very respected family and a great boyfriend. However.. her boyfriend Kaleb is leaving for college soon and all he cares about is spending time with his boys from his baseball team. With a little encouragement from her friends, Ashleigh sends a compromising picture of herself to her boyfriend. This could only make things better. There’s no way that this is the turning point to something horrible, is there?

My thoughts. I found Ashleigh a little hard to connect with but once I did, I was totally rooting for her to get everything worked out in this awful situation. I knew this book was about sexting, but I had no idea how the whole picture would come together. I don’t think Ashleigh was innocent and she provoked the situation a little with her attitude and doubts in some situations, but I think the one who forwarded the picture, was a total d-bag! I’m aware of teenagers showcasing their body very freely, but I had no idea it would ruin a person’s life to this extent. I found this solution to be very realistic though and actually liked that it wasn’t all flowers and candy for Ashleigh, but she, therefore us, had to suffer for acting irrationally and the one who forwarded the message, got what one deserved! It’s never okay to publicly humiliate someone, no matter how angry you are.

What I liked best were the parts where Ashleigh spent time doing her community service. They were educational and showed us different teens with different problems which I found interesting and captivating. Also, Mack—the sort-of-love-interest-slash-friend—was a great change since he was hard to crack. That nut had a tough shell around him and Ashleigh had to twist and shake him to get him to open up a little. Moreover, he wasn’t one of the good-looking swoon-worthy guys. No—he had his secrets and definitely falls into the mysterious category, but he was a total opposite from Kaleb who was a very handsome guy. Point: good looks don’t make for a good personality. Oh, and the way this harmed Ashleigh’s family and friendship with her best friend—it was hard to read about, but by the end made me smile. Trust is hard to earn back and Ashleigh had to earn it as well as give it.

At the end of the day, it was my first ever Jennifer Brown book and I read the interview with her at the end of my e-copy. I love how she said that she wants to basically educate teenagers and give them something to think about and write unconventional stories rather than follow the formula. That is exactly what she did! She most certainly doesn’t follow any trends, but speaks the truth and paints a very painful, realistic picture in front of us. I definitely want to explore some more!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Meet the author

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


  1. I was really curious about this book mostly because sexting is let's say a huge problem nowadays. I mean it teaches teens wrong lesson. Anyhow I have no idea why I never read it though. What the hell happened? Still I'm glad to hear that even though this books has maybe typical characters still it was different. It's always a bonus. Glad you enjoyed this one :)

    1. I know right! I would have loved this book as the contemporary read in my lit class. Even if it's not in Estonian and I wouldn't have gotten to read it back then, I'd have loved to just read it back when I was 16-17 since it's so.. refreshing and real. I hope you give it a try someday, Tanja :)

  2. Brown has such a nice way of writing books with important messages for teens, without being preachy. So glad you enjoyed this one, Siiri. Nice review!

  3. This books looks fantastic. Jennifer Brown is not afraid to tackle some of the big issues and I've noticed that sadly, this is one of them now a days. I started reading her book Hate List and man do they suck you in and make you bite your nails to bits. They tackle some harsh realities but things that should be told. Great review, I can't wait to check this one out for myself.

    -Mari @ The Sirenic Codex

  4. I'm sort of afraid of sexting books and there seem to be a lot of them right now. However, I think it is a big issue with teens, and I'm glad that this author felt compelled to write this story, and that she was able to write it in an unconventional way. It's sad how hard that is to find in this genre! I'm glad that you really liked this one! You definitely made me take notice.

  5. I'm also glad that Jennifer decided to write about a really important issues in Thousand Words and decided to not follow the trend. I'm sure this situation is a situation that many readers could associate with! And Kaleb still makes me mad thinking about him! Great review lovely! :)

  6. OH GOD KALEB. (Sorry, I'm reading the summary.) Wait, wait, wait he's the one person who didn't look though he received the photo? I don't know that I buy that premise on principle. There's got to be more people who didn't look or didn't care or mah.

    I agree with you that this is addressing an important issue in our generation about pictures and films and texts and whatnot. Sometimes I think about that right as I write comments on other blogs - there is no erasable content on the internet or by phone or anything really, nowadays. Also Ashleigh would have to deal with those consequences. Boys ask that stuff; ya don't give into them 'cause they'll do douchey things as proven by Kaleb.

    "I’m aware of teenagers showcasing their body very freely, but I had no idea it would ruin a person’s life to this extent." If you ever read This Song Will Save Your Life, you'll see that sometimes it doesn't even have to be a sext. Teenagers can just be so cruel for no reason. Sometimes it also seems like pack mentality.

    Interesting that Ashleigh's the one who had to get him to open up -- there's some gender flipping there; rarely is the dude the shy one in these novels.

    "I love how she said that she wants to basically educate teenagers and give them something to think about and write unconventional stories rather than follow the formula." I can agree with her on principle... I don't know that I've read anything of hers or have anything of hers on my list soon though. Which of hers will you read next?

    1. I'm thinking about reading Hate List next. It's about a HS couple and they create this list of people they hate and then one day that guy goes in the school with a gun and starts shooting people. This topic is horrible, but the plot is so intriguing and I think it seems like another book that makes you think. Also, Perfect Escape could be good, too. I think there's a road trip and you know how I love those ;) Heh.

  7. I'm glad you thought this was realistically written. Even better that it didn't follow any formulaic trends. I have to admit, it doesn't really sound like my sort of story (AT ALL!), but I have heard mostly great things about this author, so I'm glad this book worked for you. :) Brilliant review as always, Siiri!

  8. I've been wanting to read this one Siiri, it sounds like a really powerful read. I already feel awful for Ashleigh even if her actions led to what happened, no on deserves to be put on display like that without their permission. I haven't read anything by Jennifer Brown yet, and I think this book might be the perfect place to start! Lovely review as always:):)

  9. Excellent review, Siiri! I've wanted to pick this up, but just haven't got to it yet. It's a shame this girl was so humiliated. I know my blood would boil reading this! It's amazing how you can get into trouble even if you aren't the one sharing the photo to everyone! I think some of our laws are utter crap!

  10. haven't read this book jet, but I really love Jennifer Brown - Hate List is one of my favorite reads.
    Great review, Siiri.

    Glass @ Way Too Hot Books

  11. I think you're right, Siiri, this sounds like an important book for teenagers to read. I haven't read a Jennifer Brown book, but I tried to read Hate List and the writing seems like it'll take some getting used to. I like that this one was slightly unconventional and that Brown handled the subject so well and she still managed to make the end satisfying while being realistic. I feel like that's pretty hard for the subject. Love the review :D