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.
First sentence: “The community service I’d been court ordered to complete was held in one of the downstairs classrooms at the Chesteron Public Schools Central Office. “
You know the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” but what Ashleigh Maynard, the main character of Thousand Words, learns is that it’s not exactly the full picture, nor the whole story.
Thousand Word is about Ashleigh Maynard who texts her boyfriend a nude picture of herself, and it gets leaked out to the entire school body and goes viral. She is faced with the consequences of the leaked picture—she is called horrible names, she is ostracized by friends and family, and she is ordered to do community service. The story moves back and forth from the present day when Ashleigh is doing her community service to the sexting incident when it happened, showing how the incident grows out of control.
Oh boy, Jennifer Brown has done it again. This was such a well-written book about what happens when sexting goes wrong. It’s not condemning people who do it, but creates awareness that there are consequences. When I read this book, I was filled with a bit of anxiety because this is something that can happen to anybody.
Why You Should Read Thousand Words
The issues that are addressed are very realistic and relatable.
Taking and sending nude pictures is very common in today’s society. I’m sure that many of you have taken one and sent it to a boyfriend or a girlfriend, or know of someone who has done it. It’s not strange, and it’s not something that should be condemned. Personal pictures’ leaking is a real concern that all people, including celebrities, worry about. It’s humiliating, and also an invasion of privacy. It has very real consequences if the pictures are shared publicly.
Romance is barely present in the plot.
That’s right. Just barely. And it is perfect. You can see a bit of romance in the flashbacks, but I wouldn’t call it anything since it occurred in the flashback when Ashleigh and her now ex-boyfriend were an established couple. In the present day, you won’t even find a budding romance between Ashleigh and Mack, a friend she made while doing her community service. That is refreshing!
- Speaking of no romance, a girl and a boy can be friends!
Case in point, Ashleigh and Mack. Their friendship stemmed from being part of the same community service program. Although Mack doesn’t really talk that much, Ashleigh relies on him because he was a source of strength for her. He was there for her when her friends did not want to be seen with her. She can hang with him, knowing she wouldn’t be judged.
- You get to see the consequences of sexting.
You see Ashleigh facing the consequences of her nude picture being released to her school and eventually the internet. Her privacy is invaded; she’s ostracized from her friends and family. Fellow classmates and schoolmates call and text her hurtful names. She is charged with spreading child pornography. But what happened doesn’t only affect Ashleigh; it affects the people around her like her family and all parties involved in the sexting incident. You have her parents being questioned about the way they raised their daughter; the perpetrator who spread the picture being arrested; her friends avoiding Ashleigh due to their fears of being associated with her. It’s just horrible for everybody involved.
Despite the problems she faced, Ashleigh learns from her actions, and learns to deal with the unwanted attention and name calling. She’s not a slut or anything other people have called her. It was a mistake that tore her life apart, but she grew stronger as a result.
Thousand Words is a thought-provoking book that addresses what could happen when sexting goes wrong. I think it’s important to point out that Thousand Words isn’t telling readers that they shouldn’t sext or anything like that. It’s quite understanding. In a society that is heavily reliant on cellphones and technology, people need to be careful of who they’re sending risqué pictures of themselves to, their reasons for sending it, and the fallout that may happen if the picture is in the wrong hands. I just wish I felt emotionally connected to Ashleigh, but alas, I didn’t. If you want a book that portrays sexting in an understanding way, Thousand Words is for you!