Monday, May 27, 2013

Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown

Thousand WordsThousand Words by Jennifer Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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.

My thoughts: Excellent message of the utmost importance. The story gives the perspective from the naked girl's perspective but also provides a few peeks into the ex-boyfriend and the felony charge he faces along with possibility of being on a sex offender's list which I have long maintained is too broad and needs an overhaul.

The reason for only 3 stars is that, although the story is convincing and gives a fair portrayal of those in a sexting case, the powerful scenes where Ashleigh or anybody else makes a point that is supposed to stick, lacks punch and conviction. Ashleigh's words to Rachel sounded like a Charlie Brown grown up when they really needed to sing.

What I liked is that it brings to the public forum that the consequences if texting a nudie are far reaching and non controllable. It also aptly illustrates the multitude of victims. In this story, although Ashleigh is the obvious victim, so is Kaleb. He didn't ask for a picture but she sent it. Possession of nude photos of children under the age of 18 is also a felony, which is not pointed out. That would make thousands culpable. Distribution of the picture is also a felony as well as downloading it. Her parents become victims as her dad's job is in jeopardy. Completely believable. There are parents in every community that have pursued educators to ruin, guilty or not.

It is a tough subject to tackle and I admire the author for taking it on. It simply wasn't my favorite book on the subject and sometimes felt more like a lecture.

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