Title: Every Ugly Word
Author: Aimee L. Salter
Format/Length: eBook/257 pages
Publisher/Date Published: July 29th 2014/Alloy Entertainment
Category/Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary? Fantasy? I don’t know…
Description: When seventeen-year-old Ashley Watson walks through the halls of her high school bullies taunt and shove her. She can’t go a day without fighting with her mother. And no matter how hard she tries, she can’t make her best friend, Matt, fall in love with her. But Ashley also has something no one else does: a literal glimpse into the future. When Ashley looks into the mirror, she can see her twenty-three-year-old self.
Her older self has been through it all already—she endured the bullying, survived the heartbreak, and heard every ugly word her classmates threw at her. But her older self is also keeping a dark secret: Something terrible is about to happen to Ashley. Something that will change her life forever. Something even her older self is powerless to stop.
3/5 stars —
I requested this one on Netgalley knowing vaguely it was about bullying, but not much else about it.
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised, though this was not all what I was expecting. Well-written, engaging, and with realistically flawed characters, Every Ugly Word is a book I’d recommend if you want to read something about bullying… with a twist. I usually never read blurbs, so for me, the whole seeing-future-self-in-the-mirror was a bit of a surprise. Not in a completely bad way though; it added some intrigue and depth into the story.
If you’re slightly put off by the fantasy-ish element, don’t be.
Yes, the older version of Ashley in the mirror played a large role in Every Ugly Word, but it wasn’t the centre of the story, either. Depending on your view of things, this can either be seen as a good or bad thing. The novel was primarily about school bullying, and one central moment in Ashley’s life that changed everything. Switching between the past (the younger version of Ashley) and the present (Ashley in a a therapist’s room, recounting the events that lead to the incident), we’re given a look at how Ashley perceived things before that pivotal moment, and after, which I thought was well-written and engaging.
Another positive: The characters.
These are characters you are going to care about. What I think I loved most about them was that they were all flawed. Each had their own issues that needed to sort through, and I personally was relieved that the love interest — her best friend, Matt — wasn’t a perfect guy. Because really, who is? The characters was what made this story feel real and honest, opposed to novels I’ve read that contain perfect characters you just want to shake.
This pretty much sums up Ashley, I think.
So why haven’t I rated this more than three stars?
I didn’t really get the whole fantasy element of the novel. I’m not even sure you could call it “fantasy”, exactly; in fact, I don’t know how to define it. I realize that the fantasy element wasn’t the focus of the story, and it was a nice inclusion, but I still had so many questions about how and why she saw her older self in the mirror. It was never explained, and I like all my loose ends to be tied up neatly.
All together, though, this was a good read.
If you’re looking for good book that will stay with you for hours after you’ve read it, I recommend Every Ugly Word.