Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown
"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."-summary from Goodreads
I absolutely loved Brown's debut and have been meaning to continue reading her, but so many books, so little time! I'm glad I was able to squeeze this one in though. It's a fantastic novel about a current hot topic and Brown handles it deftly (just like with Hate List).
The book goes back and forth between before/during the scandal and after the scandal, creating a wonderful page-turner that's hard to put down. Ashleigh's voice is spot-on and I really got invested in her life and these events. It was nice to see the whole story- how Kaleb and Ashleigh met, their dating, the long-distance relationship, the breakup, the scandal, and how things turn out after the ordeal. It provided for some great characterization and emotional arcs, and really getting into the history of these two.
The interactions between Mack and Ashleigh were written very well, and watching their friendship grow over the course of the novel was refreshing to see. Too much of YA is so focused on the romance and insta-love (not that I mind romance, but it can get a bit much at times) that it was a pleasure to read about two people who strike up a friendship slowly and gradually. It felt very realistic.
Overall, a stunning, poignant novel and one that makes me want to go back and read the two books I missed, and you can be sure I'll be keeping an eye out for any future books from Brown.
FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.
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