REVIEW #132: Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown

Title: Thousand Words
Author: Jennifer Brown
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Pages: 288, Hardcover
Source: Library

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. 

This is another one of those extremely powerful and completely relevant books that moves you whether or not you've been directly impacted by the subject matter. 

I have not been directly impacted but it's a subject I feel passionately about. The extent of the role that social media plays in our lives today is scary. And more and more kids are taking pictures of themselves and sexting and putting all kinds of things on the internet or in print that really shouldn't be. And when your young you don't always understand the fall out of your choices. 

Now while I do agree that this book takes things to the extreme, not all sexting scandals become this big, it is not beyond the scope of what could happen. And even small scandals can really have a negative affect on someone. Kids are cruel. I don't believe anyone makes it through high school completely unscathed. And the more ammo people have, the harder it can be. Something like this can stick with you for a long time. Not to mention, the impact it could have on your future. 

I think what Jennifer Brown does a really good job at is making Ashleigh and Kaleb relatable. This situation could really happen to anyone. Ashleigh was a good student/athlete/daughter, but made one mistake. She was persuaded by her friends. She was nervous about her relationship. She never thought her boyfriend would share the picture.  Ashleigh was extremely hard on Kaleb when their relationship became long distance. She was paranoid about his loyalty and they were constantly fighting, which led to a nasty breakup. Ashleigh is not completely blameless. But in a stupid act of revenge, Kaleb sends the picture to his baseball friends. He never thought it would go past that. Now he's charged with distributing child pornography because he was over 18 and Ashleigh was younger. His future is ruined. 

I really liked how Ashleigh's story was told. The chapters alternate from when Ashleigh was court ordered to attend community service, and from when the picture was first taken until eventually the stories merge. And I was completely absorbed in what was being told. The emotional torment Ashleigh suffers through is unthinkable. I can't even imagine being in her situation. But I think she handled it as best as anyone could and I really enjoyed how she stands up for herself in the end. And Mack's character was well played. Not everyone would look at and distribute a naked picture of a fellow student. Mack shows that there are some who are above that. He was exactly what Ashleigh needed to get through this period in her life. 

I think this book should be mandatory reading in High Schools. It is a lesson that needs to be learned, before it is learned the hard way. Jennifer Brown does an amazing job addressing this issue. 



  1. Excellent review! And you're right, such a timely and important subject matter.

    1. Yes more young people need to read this book!

  2. Great review. Just got this one on Amazon so hopefully I'll like it too :)

    1. I hope you do! i will keep an eye out for your review :D

  3. I like that this book tackles such a relevant issue! While it might seem like a joke to some, or a good idea to others, sexting and other inappropriate behavior through social media isn't at all good. The fact that Brown chooses to highlight this makes me curious about this book! I've read her other book (Perfect Escape) and really liked that, so I definitely want to try reading this one!

    1. I want to read her other books! She handled this issue SO WELL that I am interested to see how she tackles other important issues.

  4. Very well said Nicole. I haven't read this one yet but I plan on it. It seems like it covers a very important issue in our society today from teens to even adults.


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