Thousand Words

Thousand Words

4.4 12
by Jennifer Brown

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When Ashleigh texts a naked picture of herself to her college-bound boyfriend, Kaleb, at an end-of-summer party before her junior year, she has no idea what she has unleashed. After an ugly breakup, Kaleb passes the picture around, and it immediately goes viral. Ashleigh is rapidly ridiculed, vilified, suspended, arrested, and sentenced to community service for distributing child pornography. Her father’s job as superintendent hangs in the balance, and her relationship with both parents is in tatters. Chapters move between Ashleigh’s present time in community service, where she creates anti-sexting PSAs and makes a much-needed ally, and the photo scandal as it unfolds in the past, heightening and prolonging the horror as more and more people see the photo, and Ashleigh is relentlessly mocked and harassed. Brown (Bitter End) brings her characteristic raw honesty to this wrenching story, examining the explosive fallout and repercussions of a spontaneous decision without moralizing. Ashleigh’s struggle to accept responsibility and cope with the ways she has been laid bare before her peers is sensitive and genuine. Ages 15–up. Agent: Cori Deyoe, 3 Seas Literary Agency. (May)
From the Publisher
* "Thousand Words is a powerful, timely, and compulsively readable story...This is an excellent choice for book discussions and a must-purchase for all libraries."—VOYA, starred review"

Brown brings her characteristic raw honesty to this wrenching story....Sensitive and genuine."—Publishers Weekly

VOYA - Elizabeth Norton
High school junior Ashleigh never thought she would become a criminal. The daughter of the school superintendent, she is a straight-A student and a cross-country runner, but fears that her boyfriend, Kaleb, might forget about her when he goes away to college. At an end-of-summer party, Ashleigh accepts a dare to take a nude photo of herself and send it to Kaleb as a going-away present. When the photo goes viral, Ashleigh's life is ruined overnight. In addition to being suspended from school, kicked off the cross-country team, and abandoned by her friends, she is sentenced to community service. There, she meets Mack who becomes an unlikely ally in teaching her not to be defined by her mistakes. Thousand Words is a powerful, timely, and compulsively readable story. Heartbreakingly realistic, it addresses the issue of teens and sexting without being didactic, and is, above all, a tale of forgiveness and self-acceptance. Though it clearly shows how one decision can change a life, it is far more than a cautionary tale. Ashleigh is a sympathetic, likeable heroine. Her reasons for taking the photo are clearly defined, as are the consequences. This is an excellent choice for book discussions and a must-purchase for all libraries. Reviewer: Elizabeth Norton
Children's Literature - Sarah Raymond
Ashleigh is a typical teenage girl; she gets good grades in school, runs cross-country, has a boyfriend she adores, and basically stays out of trouble. This all changes when she decides to make one bad choice that changes everything. Ashleigh's boyfriend is getting ready to leave for college and she does not want him to forget her or their relationship. A friend suggests she sends him a photo he will always remember. Ashleigh quickly snaps a fully nude photo of her-self and sends it off. The reaction was what she had anticipated until their relationship went on the rocks and her now not-so-nice ex-boyfriend Kaleb uses the photo to get back at her. The photo quickly goes viral and is sent around the school and all over the web. Brown does a wonderful job of capturing the nastiness and hypocrisy of high school as Ashleigh's "friends" turn their backs on her. Ashleigh is used as an example and she is sentenced to community service where she meets Mack. Mack helps Ashleigh to accept herself and move on with her life putting the entire scandal behind her. This is a great book about the dangers of sexting, but it is about more than just preaching against sexting. It is about finding one's self, looking at friendships, and building relationships in the most unlikely of places. Reviewer: Sarah Raymond
School Library Journal
Gr 9–11—When 10th-grader Ashleigh feels pressured by her friends into texting a full-frontal nude photo of herself to her college-freshman boyfriend, she believes that the picture is for his eyes only. But Kaleb distributes it to his contact list in revenge for her friends' pranks after the two break up. Ashleigh receives a trickle of mocking messages at first, but when the distribution expands and is posted on a website, an outraged community demands retribution. She is sentenced to community service, and Kaleb is faced with the possibility of being charged as a sex offender. Ashleigh's violation is keenly and sensitively rendered. Text messages, which get crueler with time, headline chapters. Chapters smoothly alternate between flashbacks revealing the chain of events and Ashleigh's time in community service. How and why she is sentenced are slowly revealed, adding intrigue to the story. As the teen begins to fight back against her tormentors and regains trust in her friends, there is hope that her situation will improve. The far-reaching consequences of impulsivity and of texting are made clear, but not in a preachy, heavy-handed, or overly dramatic way. Teens will relate to Ashleigh's feelings of humiliation, even if they've never experienced them to the same degree.—Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA

Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Edition description:
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Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.87(d)
Age Range:
15 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Thousand Words

By Jennifer Brown

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Copyright © 2013 Jennifer Brown
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-316-20972-4




The community service I'd been court ordered to complete was held in one of the downstairs classrooms at the Chesterton Public Schools Central Office. Central Office, where my dad worked and where I'd spent many afternoons hanging out after school waiting for a ride home, would now be the place where I'd get a daily reminder that I'd massively messed up.

I walked the mile and a half from school, hoping the fresh October air would relax me, help shake out my nerves. It didn't work. I still had no idea what to expect and could only imagine myself locked in a painted-cinder-block room in the basement, something that looked a lot like the juvenile detention center where I'd learned, back in September, that big trouble was headed my way.

Sixty hours. Sixty impossibly long hours of community service to pay for a crime that I hadn't even known I was committing when I committed it.

Sixty hours of being in the same room with people who were real criminals, who'd probably done things like sell drugs to children on playgrounds or steal money from cash registers; nothing like I'd done. Real criminals who would most likely take one look at me and eat me alive.

I wasn't sure if I had sixty hours in me.

But the court said I had to, so I walked to my fate, sucking in deep breaths until I was dizzy, and shaking my hands out until my fingertips tingled.

Mom had told me that morning to catch a ride home with Dad after community service, and I was nervous about that, too. Dad and I hadn't been alone in a room together, much less in a car together, since the whole mess started. Dad wasn't doing a lot of talking anymore, but he didn't need to do a lot of talking for me to know what he currently thought of me. My face burned with embarrassment every time I had to pass through a room he was occupying.

When I got to Central Office, I snuck back behind the receptionist's desk and into the inner offices where Dad and other personnel worked, wandering through just as I'd done a million times before. I could see Dad in his office, his face bathed by the blue glow of his computer screen, a phone planted against his ear. He was nodding and kept repeating, "Right, right," but if he saw me he made no show of it. I thought about waiting around for him to get off the phone so I could wave to him or say hi or do something to try to break through the barrier that jutted between us, but decided it was probably best not to make a spectacle of myself, especially given why I was there. I made my way back out to the main foyer and headed downstairs.

All the lights had been turned off, so the corridor was dark, but a rectangle of fluorescent light spilled through an open doorway at the end of the hall. I could hear voices coming out of that doorway. Room 104—the room I was supposed to report to. I walked toward it, reminding myself that I had been equally nervous going back to school that morning and I had weathered the day just fine. I paused at the doorway, took another deep breath, and stepped inside.

"... him to get his ass out of bed or he'd be goin' back to jail," a skinny blond girl with a big, pregnant belly and feather earrings was saying. She was bent over a piece of paper, carefully coloring something with a marker and talking to a woman who was standing by her table. The woman was nodding as if to agree with the girl, but when the girl glanced at me, the woman turned in my direction.

She had on black pants and a black jacket with a white dress shirt underneath. Her hair was super-curly and stuck out around her head in pomade-laden chunks. Her lipstick was a deep, dark red and her lips full and pouty.

"Hello," she said, all stiff and businesslike, walking toward me. "You must be Ashleigh Maynard."

I nodded.

She held out her hand. "I'm Mrs. Mosely. I oversee the Teens Talking program. You're here for community service hours, correct?"

I nodded again, putting my backpack down on a desk and digging through it until I found the piece of paper I was supposed to give her. She would have to sign it every day I worked, until I'd satisfied my hours, and then I was to turn it in to Tina, my lawyer, who would make sure it got filed with the court. The paper was all that stood between me and putting everything behind me. And I was more than ready to put everything behind me. Even if sixty hours seemed like such a long time. A lifetime.

The blond girl assessed me quickly, then went back to her coloring, shaking her head as if I'd done something despicable by walking into the room. I ignored her and turned my attention to Mrs. Mosely.

She took the paper and laid it on her desk, then turned and leaned back against the wooden desktop, crossing her arms over her chest.

"So you're to create some literature about texting, is that correct?" she asked.


The blond girl made a low "oooh" sound, but Mrs. Mosely acted like she didn't hear it. I whipped my head around to glare at the girl.

There were two knocks on the doorframe and a guy I recognized from school popped into the room. He was wearing black jeans, way too big for him, and a leather jacket. He had a pair of headphones hanging around his neck like DJs do, and was carrying a comb in one hand.

"Yo, Mrs. Mose," he said. "What's up?" He tossed a paper that looked like mine onto Mrs. Mosely's desk as he walked by.

Another boy followed him in, very large, very quiet. He said nothing. Just headed over to a computer cubby in the back of the room. He dug some earbuds out of his pocket with his big, hammy hands and sat down.

"Hey, Darrell," Mrs. Mosely said. Then louder, "Hey, Mack." But the big kid in the back simply lifted his chin once in response, stuffing the earbuds into his ears and clicking the computer mouse diligently. Another girl walked in, her jeans so tight they cut into her belly, which wobbled behind an equally tight shirt with every step she took. She sat down next to the blonde.

"Hi, Mrs. Mosely," she said. "Wait till you hear what my moms said this morning about that thing we were talking about yesterday."

Mrs. Mosely held her finger up in a "wait" position, then turned back to me. "You'll probably want to start on the computer," she said. "Get some facts. Some statistics. Are you good at doing research?"

I nodded, thinking about how I used to be good at a lot of things. Before. Good at school. Good at cross-country. Good at making friends. Good to Kaleb.

Now what was I good at? Hiding from crowds? Ignoring catcalls? Staring down disgusting-minded jerks? Apologizing?

"Okay, excellent. Read news stories. Read blogs. Everything you can get your hands on. If a website exists that talks about it, I want you to know about that website and read it. That should take you at least a couple of weeks, okay? You will not be done researching in a day, so don't try to convince me that you are. You need to be armed with information. By the end of this, you will be an expert. As you may or may not know, you're going to be creating resources for schools. Posters, booklets, that kind of thing."

Before being assigned to work for Teens Talking, I'd already been familiar with the program. I remembered getting Teens Talking stuff when I was in junior high. Pamphlets about drugs or gangs or bullying or reckless driving or weapons. I never really read them. Just saw them on the guidance office's literature rack or received one in an assembly here or a seminar there. I'd always assumed they were written by people who worked in my dad's office or by the school psychologist. I never knew it was offenders writing them. And I certainly never would have guessed that I would someday be one of those offenders.

Mrs. Mosely continued. "We need these resources to be factual and reliable, so accuracy is important. When you're done gathering facts, you can start writing a rough draft. I'll proofread it. And then when it's all good to go, you can start creating the layout of your pamphlet or poster or PSA or whatever it is you decide to design. You can do some of the artwork yourself, like Kenzie is here, or you can design it all on the computer. After you're done with that, we'll look it all over to make sure it's ready to print. By then you should have your hours. Okay?" She leaned over her desk and signed my paper, then handed it back to me.

"Okay," I said, taking the paper, but my head was swimming and I wanted to go home. I could feel the girls' eyes on me, and even though Darrell never gave me more than a passing glance, I was sure he knew what had happened with me, because he went to school at Chesterton High. He'd probably seen the picture that had landed me in community service, maybe even had it on his phone right now, and that made me really uncomfortable. I'd hoped to at least get away from the constant feeling of humiliation here.

Mrs. Mosely cut into my thoughts. "Everyone in this group is on a different timetable, so it's not a race. Kenzie and Amber have both finished their research and writing and are down to creating artwork now. Darrell is in the writing stage. Mack is busy on the computer. And where's Angel?" she asked the room at large.

"I heard she got arrested," Amber said.

"Nah, man, she's just skippin' out," Darrell said. "I saw her over at Manny's house last night."

"What were you doing over there?" Mrs. Mosely asked, looking stern. Darrell laughed like what she'd said was a big joke. He gazed back down at his paper, shaking his head.

"Yo, Mose, how you get the word 'violence' if there ain't no 'i' in it?" he called out.

"It has an 'i,' stupid," Kenzie said. She and Amber shared a giggle.

Mrs. Mosely pretended she hadn't heard Kenzie's comment, or their laughs, and walked over to Darrell's desk. She pointed to the paper. "It has an 'i.' See? Right here before the 'o.' "

I took that as my cue and went over to the bank of computers in the back corner. I sat at the one next to the big guy Mrs. Mosely had called Mack. His finger was clicking the mouse rapidly. I wanted to get done so I could go home and curl up under my blankets and sleep. Today had been so tiring, and tomorrow promised to be just as emotionally wrenching. Every day would be, until all this—the name-calling and teasing, the catching up on schoolwork I'd missed, the community service, the wondering if I was still friends with Vonnie, the worrying about the board meeting that could be the end of my dad's career—blew over.

I logged on to the computer and got online, feeling a little more in my comfort zone than I'd expected. I'd done a ton of research papers for my AP English class, so in a way, community service didn't seem all that different from school. The very thought brought tears to my eyes. I had gone from researching English papers to writing community service warning pamphlets alongside a guy who couldn't spell "violence," even though I was pretty sure violence was exactly why Darrell was in here.

Before I became the subject of all the gossip at Chesterton High School, there was a rumor that Darrell had beat up his stepdad pretty badly; the guy had supposedly spent a week in the hospital with his jaw wired shut and a collapsed lung, and Darrell was lucky that all he got was some time in juvie followed by community service. If his stepdad had died, it could have been a lot worse. But anything Darrell had done was nowhere near as juicy as what I had done.

I bit my lip and tried not to think about it as I typed in the words "sexting and teens" and hit "search." Articles popped up, one after another, and I groaned inwardly.

Most of them were about me.


Message 1

OMG Ash what are you thinking?!

Vonnie's annual end-of-summer parties were legendary. The kind people were still talking about in December. The kind where someone spends three hours on hands and knees in the grass looking for lost car keys, the diving board gets broken, and somehow—though nobody will admit to doing it—the pool water is pranked with a grocery bag full of blue Jell-O powder.

I never missed Vonnie's parties. Even if she hadn't been my best friend since sixth grade, I still wouldn't have missed them. Her parties were where all the best stories were born, and where everybody who was anybody hung out.

But when I got there this year I wasn't exactly in the partying mood, partly because Coach Igo had decided summer break was officially over for cross-country athletes and had practically killed us doing hill runs in what felt like an oven pushed up to a thousand degrees. But I had other reasons for not really feeling like partying.

"You're late," Rachel Wellby said as soon as I walked through the front door. Rachel was Vonnie's friend from the volleyball team, and while I knew her from hanging out with Vonnie, there was something about Rachel I didn't really like all that much. She had an underlying air of bitchy competitiveness, especially when it came to my relationship with Vonnie. I always felt like Rachel didn't care for me, either, even though I never exactly knew why, and like she'd be thrilled if Vonnie decided to one day dump me. Honestly, I didn't get why Vonnie was such good friends with her, but it didn't matter. Vonnie was friends with a lot of people. I didn't own her.

Rachel was swaying in front of me, her wet swimsuit dripping in the entryway, a chlorinated puddle forming on the very expensive-looking throw rug. I could practically hear Vonnie's mom shouting all the way from their Cancún timeshare that the rug had been handwoven by an elderly craftsman they'd stumbled across in a little village in some foreign country I couldn't pronounce and that he'd died exactly nineteen minutes after weaving it and she could never get her memories of that amazing trip replaced, so get your wet clothes off it. "We're practically already sunburned," Rachel slurred. "And you missed the pizza. I don't think there's any left."

"Trust me, I know I'm late," I mumbled. My skin felt so hot I thought if I looked down I might see steam rising from my legs. The scent of the pool on Rachel made me all the more antsy to get into the water. I kicked off my shoes and rooted around in my gym bag for my bikini. "And I'm already sunburned, thanks to Coach Igo's love of torture."

"Whoa, somebody's crabby," Rachel said, then singsonged, "Don't worry. Kaleb will make you smile again."

"I don't think so," I said. "He's got a game."

This was the real reason I was cranky. Not because of an exhausting run, but because instead of dancing or drinking or floating lazily on a raft with my boyfriend, I was going to be doing those things alone. And this definitely wasn't the first time. It seemed like I'd been doing everything alone all summer.

Kaleb had been playing on a baseball team in a neighborhood league for something like twelve years. The guys on the team were like brothers. They did everything together. And this was their last summer on the field. Josh was going off to the marines in two weeks. Carlos was heading to some private college in Illinois. Daniel had started his new job a month earlier, and he never had time for anything anymore. And Jake, in a total surprise move, had shown up one day with a one-way ticket to Amsterdam and a plan to stay over there until he'd hooked up with enough sexy European girls to make him forget Katie, who'd broken up with him the last day of senior year.

I need to hang with my boys, Ash, Kaleb had told me when I suggested he blow them off for the most epic pool party of the summer. I only have a few more weeks with them.

But you only have a few more weeks with me, too, I'd argued.

No way. I have you forever.

Kaleb was exactly the kind of guy I'd want to have forever with. And I really wished I could believe him when he said stuff like that. I used to. At one time it really felt like forever might happen for us. But somehow we didn't feel so foreverish anymore. We felt temporary and dramatic and like we were always away from each other.

What seemed like forever was how long he'd been choosing his "boys" over me. All summer I'd practically had to beg for alone time with him before he went to college. In a few days he would be living four hours away. I'd be stuck at Chesterton High to finish up what were likely going to be the slowest two years of my life, and he would be partying with God-knew-how-many girls. College girls. Girls who would be impressed by his athletic build and his academic scholarship. Girls who were more ready for forever than any high school junior could ever be.

Excerpted from Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown. Copyright © 2013 Jennifer Brown. Excerpted by permission of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Jennifer Brown writes and lives in the Kansas City, Missouri, area with her husband and three children. She is the author of Perfect Escape; Bitter End, which received two starred reviews and was named an ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults title; and Hate List, which received three starred reviews and was selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a VOYA Perfect Ten, and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year.

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Thousand Words 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book completely surprised me. I was not expecting much from it because lately the books I have been reading have been falling flat. Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown caught my attention by its name and when I started to read it I was hooked. Ashleigh is the person you would never expect to sext someone. She is the star athlete and all around good person. She is pressured into sending it and she never expects it to blow up in her face as big as it did. This book completely changed the way I think about the subject of sexting. To be honest I always thought it was the girl's fault because she took the picture: that she was promiscuous by sending the text message. After reading this book I am much more sympathetic. Usually it isn't the girl sending it around. I would recommend everyone to read this book: a teenager, a parent to educate their children, anyone and everyone. It is worth your time and it is a book you will never forget.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Jennifer Brown! Her books are very thought provoking. Thousand Words is a must read for teens and adults. I also recommend her book Hate List...I couldn't put it down!
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
I honestly believe that this generation has it harder than everyone else when it comes to media. Social media that is. The amount of selfies taken, with young girls and guys, barely there clothing…it shocking. When I was little, there was nooo way that I would ever pose the way youth pose today. So reading this book, gave a great insight on what pressures youth go through today. Plot: This is about a girl, who takes a nude frontal (chest picture) and sends it to her then boyfriend. They fight, breakup and for revenge, he sends to everyone on his phone list. At the time he just started college and she is a senior in high school. And the consequences are brutal. There are the students, name calling her every name in the book. Parents in a uproar over a nudity pic being passed around. Her parents, who are not only embarrassed but face serious problems with their jobs. And the ex-boyfriend. Who’s life is completely turned around and ruined all because he passed on a picture. I think this plot raising a lot of questions when it comes to self-worth and trust. Why do you take a picture like that in the first place? Do you trust that, that photo is safe? Friendship: When a nude photo is being passed around the internet who is your real friend? Ashleigh faces some hard times all alone. Her friend left her, calling her names and even given out her number to guys who think she is easy. It’s horrible with the amount of bullying she goes through. Criminal Charges: This raises a issue. I understand that what Ashleigh did is wrong. What her boyfriend did is wrong. But should they face Child Pornography charges? As teens, we all do dumb stuff. And I think having that charge on your file for the REST of your life is hard. I think what they go through is enough but still. I don’t think they should have to live with this for the rest of their life. There are jobs at stake, and people would think your some kind of pervert just because you took a stupid selfie of yourself during your teens. Personally I think the charges are too harsh. Teens still don’t fully understand what they did despite being 18 yrs old. Yes, they should be charged just not that to that extent. What do you think? This is a great book that raises hard, real life issues that is going on with teens today. Teens face so much issues with self-worth, that they have to degrade themselves just to get the attention they want. Sometimes, I’m happy that I didn’t have this technology when I was a teen. It was hard as it is growing up with pretty girls around me, I can only imagine what teens face seeing all their “friends” risque photos on their Face Book feed. Thousand Words is an awesome book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Allison9516 More than 1 year ago
Very powerful. It makes you think how people tend to victim blame instead of looking at the bigger issue.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although this is a good book i feel bad for my generation due to technology these days . See i am smart i dont have facebook or a cell phone i dont have any of tgat stupid technology. Which i think is smart on my end. -<3gabrielle walker 16 <3-
majibookshelf More than 1 year ago
I started this book without really knowing what I was getting myself into. Thousand Words talks about love, betrayal, and friendship. Ashleigh, the main protagonist, has an amazing boyfriend. As her boyfriend, Kaleb, is ready to go to college, Ashleigh is worried that he'll forget about her. When Ashleigh tells her friend about how she feels about this, they convince her to send a picture of herself naked to him so he really won't forget her. After Kaleb goes to college, and comes back to visit just to break up with Ashleigh, things get nasty. Kaleb decides to take revenge by sending her naked photo to his contact list. Thousand Words also transitions from the past to the present, where Ashleigh does her community service for the &quot;crime&quot; she committed. What I really liked about this book is that it talks about a sensitive subject, and kind of teaches you the consequences of doing something as rash as this. Ashleigh was a very interesting character to read about. She really beats herself for what she did, and she really doesn't seem like a character who would ever think of doing something like that. She's an athletic student who never got in trouble. I guess she was just in the wrong time and wrong place. I actually blamed her friends for convincing her to do something as stupid as this. In the end, Ashleigh had to pay for what she did. It was sad seeing students calling her names at school, the story getting as serious as child pornography, and so on. I really liked Kaleb at first, because he really did genuinely care about her. I just really hated him for sending the photo, because really, who does that as revenge? Especially to a person who used to &quot;love&quot;. Ashleigh really went through a lot of hardships, and it really is sad to see how one text about ruined her life. Overall, Thousand Words was a great book. Very sad at times, but very realistic. I really do think that teenage girls should read this, especially those who might think doing something like sending a naked picture of yourself to your boyfriend is okay. I'm definitely going to give Jennifer Brown's other books a try! The writing was also great, and I don't think there was ever a part where I was remotely bored. If you like reading realistic fiction or contemporary books, this one's for you!
ImaginaryReads More than 1 year ago
The story alters between the past when Ashleigh gets herself into the sexting scandal and the present when Ashleigh is serving time doing community service by creating a pamphlet on sexting. Through the alternating storylines, we get a better feel for who Ashleigh is and how the sexting scandal impacts her life. It was hard to relate to Ashleigh. If I hadn't met her during community service first... if I hadn't met her after the sexting scandal changed her life... I doubt I'd have given her a chance. As it is, I have a love-hate relationship with Ashleigh. I think the biggest problem is that we come from such different areas of life. Though Ashleigh was an honors student, she is a party girl. She drinks, she makes out a lot with Kaleb, and she's clingy. She causes the breakup because of her inability to trust Kaleb, and I think she realizes this later on. And both she and Kaleb hold partial responsibility for the sexting scandal, another fact that she acknowledges. At the same time, I do sympathize with her. The whole point of this novel is how situations can fall out of our control so easily. Ashleigh is a normal girl. And as much as I disprove of what she did, she did text the nude photo of herself out of love, though later events prove how fragile her love was. She never had sex with her boyfriend, but people begin calling her a slut, both in person and online where people have posted her picture. She's afraid to go out because she doesn't know who has seen her photo and what they'll say to her. And she has to live with the guilt at home with an angry father and disappointed mother on top of her own shame and embarrassment. All because she was desperate to keep her boyfriend's affections. Looking at her story from this light, it's really sad what happens to her. At the center where Ashleigh puts in her community service hours, she finds healing--through research on sexting and also her meeting with Mack, a large boy who offers solid friendship and a unique, albeit brutally honest, perspective on life. Mack is a quiet guy who doesn't say much about himself; because of that, everything he says and does has significance. He doesn't rush into things. I think this is important to Ashleigh because she needs someone who doesn't judge her based off a rash decision she made while intoxicated. I also like the friendship that forms between them. It's nice to see a novel where the romance is in the past, where a guy and girl can meet without sparks flying between them. Thousand Words is about how while a picture is said to be worth a thousand words, it still can't tell the full story. It is a story about healing, forgiveness (of both yourself and others), and the reality of life. Ashleigh and Kaleb can't undo their actions, and they have to live with what they did for the rest of their lives. What they can do, what Ashleigh chooses to do, is move forward. I like how the story ends on a note of hope before the full conclusions of all the effects of Ashleigh's actions because this is what she needed, what we need to see from her story. I recommend this for those looking for a realistic novel portraying teen issues.
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
    I 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. 
chapterxchapter More than 1 year ago
Technology is a beautiful thing, and yet with technology comes many a dangerous thing *Insert Yoda voice here*.  It&rsquo;s only too real how exploitation via email is happening everywhere.  It&rsquo;s all over the news and newspapers.  How one little mistake with a cellphone and its camera can cause so much pain and havoc.  Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown explores how one little mistake has dire consequences and not only affects the victim, but to those around them. Ashleigh Maynard was happy.  And why shouldn&rsquo;t she be?  She had an amazing boyfriend, a most awesome best friend, and a wonderful relationship with her parents.  But once the summer winds down, her boyfriend, Kaleb, will be off to college, and she&rsquo;ll be left behind to continue a couple more years of high school.  Ashleigh was hoping to spend more time with Kaleb since their time together is slowly slipping away.  But it seems Kaleb wants to spend more time with his buds, rather than with Ashleigh&hellip;and she&rsquo;s not exactly very happy about that. After a night of drinking at her best friend, Vonnie&rsquo;s house, Ash&rsquo;s friends convince her to take a nude picture of herself and send it off to Kaleb&hellip;to remind him of what he&rsquo;s missing.  More acting less thinking, Ashleigh does just that.  And it seems to do the trick&hellip;that is&hellip;until things go sour between her and Kaleb.  And what started out as a way of &ldquo;payback&rdquo;, turned out to be something that changes lives&hellip;not only Ash and Kaleb&rsquo;s, but Ash&rsquo;s parents, and the lives of other students in the school. Ash goes through much bullying at school and online.  Everywhere she turns, she see&rsquo;s judgment in everyone&rsquo;s eyes.  People saying things that are far from true and are out to make Ash&rsquo;s life a living hell.  All because of One.Small.Mistake.  After being forced by the courts to serve 60 hours of community service, Ash finds friendship in someone she didn&rsquo;t expect to&hellip;in a quiet loner named Mack.  But everyone serving community service is there for a reason&hellip;and some reasons really make you think of just how bad your situation is compared to theirs. I read this book in one sitting.  I could not put this one down, no matter how hard I tried.  The topic of &ldquo;sexting&rdquo; is one that is huge in our technologically advanced world.  We&rsquo;ve seen how similar incidents such as the one in Thousand Words have happened all over the world.  We&rsquo;ve also seen just how terrible the end result can be for the victim of such a thing.  Seeing just how cruel people can be&hellip;with the words they use, and the phrases they tag.  By not listening to the other side of the story, but rather just accepting what is seen in their texts or emails.  Many have ended tragically, and Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown brings this subject to such a reality. This book shows us what the victim, Ashleigh Maynard, goes through after her nude picture goes viral.  It shows the reader the thoughts that are going through her constantly&hellip;the paranoia she has when out in public.  Author, Jennifer Brown does a fantastic job bringing the voice of Ashleigh to life.  There was so much raw emotion throughout this entire read, which is probably why I couldn&rsquo;t put it down.  My heart went out to this poor girl who had to endure all the bullying and loss of friends.  To witness everything to be taken away from her.  To see her at her lowest, and to watch and see how she can find the light at the end of the tunnel. I encourage readers everywhere to read this book, and to listen to the powerful message which can be found in these pages.  I would love to see this book in libraries everywhere, even for a piece of literature that individuals can read should they find themselves in a similar situation.  I recommend this book to fans of contemporary reads, and for anyone who wants to experience a book that will completely open your eyes to world of sexting and cyberbullying and to witness the strength that a teenage girl can have after one life changing mistake.