When Ashleigh thinks about her boyfriend Kaleb going off to college, she's filled with anxiety. What if he forgets all about her? So one drunken night she decides to send him a picture that's sure to keep her in his mind... a picture of herself: naked.
But Kaleb has always been a little inattentive and distracted and when he goes to college it only gets worse, leading to a bad breakup. When Kaleb forwards the text to some friends as a way of revenge, it completely spirals out of control. Soon everyone has seen the picture, even Ashleigh's dad, the superintendent of her school.
The photo becomes a huge scandal in Ashleigh's town and everyone is trying to distance themselves from it, and from her. Ashleigh feels completely humiliated and alone and now has to attend court-ordered community service. She doesn't know what to think about being betrayed so badly and doesn't know why everyone is blaming her. It's not like she wanted the whole world to see her naked. She's so busy apologizing and hiding from the nasty comments that she loses sight of who she even really is.
I am a big Jennifer Brown fan... so when I won a book of my choice from Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl, I immediately thought about preordering this book. Now that I've read the book, I'm happy to say it lived up to my Jennifer Brown expectations!! It's definitely an "issues book" but it's not one that's been done to death. Sexting is a really big issue that some people don't realize the full consequences of. Once something is digital it can live forever. That drunken picture you take with your friends: yeah wait until you are trying to get a job and your prospective employer gets a face full of that. Yeah you are no longer in the running for that job. You take naked pics or videos with the love of your life? Well what happens when he's suddenly not "the one" you thought he was. What happens when 5 years down the road you are married and have kids and one of those videos pops up somewhere? Total humiliation and hurt feelings all around.
This book dives right into the issue of the unintended consequences that sexting can have. I kept thinking that the consequences for Ashleigh seemed a little too severe, but then I remember that it has happened. I've heard numerous cases of girls who have made national news for their pics getting out.
The best part of this book was when Ashleigh was going through the fallout and realized that she was all alone. The feeling that was in this part of the book hurt my heart. Like her parents really weren't being supportive, her friends dropped her, and the guy she trusted for the last year had ruined her life. Everyone was just coming down on her so hard and they wouldn't let up. The school, her coach, her peers, their parents, her parents: everyone was out to blame her for something she never wanted to happen. Yes she took the picture, but it was for her boyfriend! He's the douche here... not her. And yes he had consequences too, but at least he deserved them. I just felt and felt and felt for this girl.
One thing that bugged me was the maturity level. The conversations between Kaleb and Ashleigh were kind of hard to read at times because they were so immature. Having said that though, I sort of loved that it was like that because it made it feel real. At that age I totally had fights with my boyfriend that made me look dumb. I can remember fighting with an ex-boyfriend and bringing up old fights in the middle of new fights all the time. It's like the #1 immature thing that you can do in a relationship. But it is the reality of teen relationships. And I love that Jennifer Brown captures the teen voice so authentically.
I really enjoyed reading about this topic because it reminds me how much easier I had it growing up in the 90's. We had to call someones landline and actually ask their parents if they were home and could talk. It made it a lot more difficult to communicate with boys. But I think it was a good thing. Texting and Facebooking makes it so easy to have the balls to put yourself out there. Without those things we really got to know people before communicating with them. I think that is a lot safer... and better on your heart. So yeah, i found it super interesting to see this girl get bullied via text and Internet knowing that half of those people wouldn't be saying anything if they had to do it face to face.
The only thing I really wanted was more! It definitely could've been 50 pages longer.
Overall: I LOVE Jennifer Brown! You should definitely pick up this issues book about a really relevant topic. It's a book about friendship and finding yourself through really hard times. It's deep, but it's kind of fun at the same time.
This Book Contains:
- Summer parties
- Cute nicknames
- Friendship, loss of friendship, and the meaning of friendship
- Loss of a sense of privacy and security
- Feelings, feelings, feelings
- Shaving cream penises
- Parents that are actually around...a lot
How I got this book: Thanks to Jana I own it :)
Date Published: 5/21/2013