Title: Every Ugly Word
Author: Aimee L. Slater
Publisher: Alloy Entertainment
Format: Kindle e-book
No. of pages: 257
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.
#1 Amazon Bestseller: Books for Teens (Oct 2015)
I received a review copy from Netgalley in return for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
I read this book as a part of the Underrated Book Club by Kajree, for May 2019. #underratedreadsbookclub
I am happy I read this book myself. Being a high-schooler is really tough. I sometimes feel lucky that I never had to face it.
The protagonist Ashley is a really dynamic character – we see her facing a lot of issues that have led her to where she is presently, which is to say, when the book starts. In the beginning, we may infer that Ashley is really only wrapped around her own head but as the story progresses, we kind of see her as a victim and really feel bad for her. The themes of bullying, both at home and school, and consequently, mental health; of facing the consequences of one’s decisions etc. the constant bullying is heartbreaking to read about and not at all a pleasure. It really surprises me still, to see how people can be so unkind to others sometimes.
Mom twitched under my glare. “There are plenty of parents who wouldn’t allow you to go tonight, Ashley. And I’m sure they’d all mean well. But if a girl like you wants to keep a guy’s interest – “ “Are you seriously telling me to use sex to keep a guy interested?” Her lips thinned. “I’m telling you I would understand if you did.”
Can you imagine what it would feel like if someone’s mother says that to her? Would it not obviously affect the self-esteem of the person?
And thus, it is no wonder to me when the psychologist says this to Ashely,
“It concerns me, though, that you are willing to accept such a vaguely defined relationship. It says a lot about how you gauge your own value”.
I quite liked Matt although he really pissed me off at times. (Why is it that boys are so blind sometimes?) nonetheless, he is quite a really good friend and towards the end, we actually see that he has stayed true over the years. The author has portrayed him as a real fleshed out character with flaws of his own and that really gives a realistic nature to the narrative.
The element of the fantasy and the magical realism, through the use of the mirror selves, is great and adds another spatial depth to the book. Mostly, this book is hopeful and I love it for that.
Despite all the hate and the pain, Ashley emerges victorious and I don’t know what that can be called except hopeful for the rest of us readers as well as for herself. The author has also made Ashley so real, it is almost as if I can stretch and touch her.
I really loved reading this book and I rate it a 4/5 stars.
About the reviewer:
Nayanika Saikia, is one of the foremost book reviewers from the North-east and Assam, and is also an admin for the official India bookstagram page on Instagram. She publishes her own reviews and recommendations for poetry, fiction, non-fiction etc. on her bookstagram account @pretty_little_bibliophile which won the NorthEast Creator Awards 2018, as well as in daily newspapers, online magazines etc. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org .