Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown 272 pages (YA novel) 2015-2016 Gateway Nominee

This book should be required reading for every High School freshman.  Ashleigh is your typical high school girl.  She runs track, tries to keep out of trouble, has a close knit group of friends, and a boyfriend. It is August and boyfriend Kaleb is getting ready to head off to college.  Ashleigh is at a friend's pool party.  She is exhausted from running, has not eaten much and has had a couple of drinks when someone talks her into sexting Kaleb a nude picture of herself so he will not forget her when he goes off to college.  NOT a wise decision!!  Sure enough, a few months later they have a nasty break-up and the picture that was intended for his eyes only goes viral.  Ashleigh is suddenly the town slut.  Her father, who is the school superintendent, could lose his job, Kaleb may have to register as a sex offender for distributing porn and Ashleigh is sentenced to 60 hours of community service. Not to mention the loss of pride, reputation and trust.  While doing her community service, she makes friends with a "loner" Mack, the one person in town who when he received the text of her picture, did not look.  Mack offers a fresh chance at friendship.  Just what Ashleigh needs to weather this storm.  I especially liked the Author's comments at the end of the book.  She reflects on the fact that for people "of a certain age", this was something we never had to deal with.  It wasn't even possible.  There are a lot more chances for teens to make tragic, senseless decisions that can follow them the rest of their lives. 

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