Book Review: Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown

This November, West Bloomfield High School's Book Club read Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown.

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Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown is a novel that should be required reading for all middle and high-school students, along with Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, and Don’t Ask Alice by Anonymous. What these books have in common is that they all are stories of realistic issues that could happen to students in today’s world. Thousand Words tells the story of a girl named Ashleigh, who sexts a risque picture to her boyfriend, and the chaos that follows after pressing ‘send’.

 

One summer night at a booze fueled party, Ashleigh is peer pressured into taking a picture of herself nude, and sending it to her boyfriend Kaleb. All Ashleigh wanted was to give her boyfriend something to take to college with him, so he would not forget all about his high school girlfriend when he is surrounded by other college girls. It is a terrible idea, but she was a little tipsy at the time, and all her friends were egging her on. Flash forward a couple weeks, and Kaleb and Ashleigh split. Ashleigh is heartbroken, so her friends decide to prank Kaleb’s house for revenge. Instead of him being mad at her friends, whom Ashleigh cannot control, Kaleb decides to take his anger out on Ashleigh alone. He still had that racy picture from weeks past, so he sent it to his buddies on his baseball team. Soon, the picture gets around, school starts, and Ashleigh’s world turns upside-down.

 

In fact, that is another thing all these realistic fiction books have in common. All the character’s situations could have been avoided if they had the chance to speak openly and honestly to someone they trust. If only Ashleigh could have sat down and expressed her feelings of distrust and jealousy towards her boyfriend  to an adult she trusted, maybe the whole sexting fiasco could have been avoided. Even if an adult had a real conversation after the blunder, maybe everyone involved could have learned something, instead of just Ashleigh.

 

Though the topic is important, Thousand Words is just an okay read. There are no plot twists that keep you on the edge of your seat, and the climax is confusing.  Also, the characters are rather mellow, and nothing really stands out for me.

However, this novel is important for teens to be exposed to because sexting really is an epidemic, it has plagued the youth of today through text messages, emails and social media. Most teens today have not sent around pictures themselves, but more than a few  know people who have. This novel shows that even those sending the inappropriate photos around are in their teens, child pornography punishments still apply to them, and those consequences are dire.

 

I give this novel ***/***** (⅗ stars)

 

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