Tuesday, July 29, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Every Ugly Word by Aimee L. Salter

Disclaimer: I received a free review copy from Netgalley. This did not influence my review.

Last November, I reviewed a heart-wrenching contemporary YA novel titled Breakable by Aimee L. Salter. The book focuses on the very real and all-too prevalent issue of bullying and the life-long effect it can have on people whose victimization begins in childhood or teen years.

This wonderful novel has been re-released (with some changes) as Every Ugly Word, published by Alloy Entertainment. It’s available today from Amazon.com!

Every Ugly Word follows seventeen-year-old Ashley, who has been bullied for years by a clique of fellow students who used to be her friends. The daily torment escalates when Ashley’s one remaining friend, a handsome and popular boy named Matt, begins to date one of the worst of the bullies, a nasty scheming girl named Karyn. Karyn is able to hide her true personality from Matt, who is blinded by her pretty face and popularity.

Ashley has been quite desperately in love with Matt for a long while. In addition to a friendship that has lasted since they were children, they also share a passion and talent for art. This skill brings them closer and also offers them an outlet for expression as they go through personal crises. (All is not well with Matt, either.)

Things were difficult enough for Ashley when Matt saw her just as a friend, but when he starts going out with Karyn, it’s more than Ashley can take. Karyn and the rest of the crew are all too aware of Ashley’s feelings and use this as additional ammunition against her.

There is one other person in Ashley’s corner. For years, she has been communicating with her future self, "Older Me," whom she can see in mirrors. Ashley wants "Older Me" to guide her through the impending crisis, but as the bullying spirals out of control, she is less sure her older self is able to help. Meanwhile, the voice we see of the older Ashley is growing more desperate and more determined that the course of younger Ashley’s fate must be different from her own, but how?

Every Ugly Word is a fast-paced read with memorable characters. Salter is able to get inside Ashley’s head to show both the emotional frailty and the resilience of a teenager who has been victimized for years but who retains the capacity for a strong and generous love. It’s a heart-wrenching tale of a girl in crisis and a powerful book about the long-lasting effects of bullying. The re-released version is even more readable than the original and I was just as engrossed the second time around.

To learn more, check out Aimee’s website at: Aimee L. Salter- author.

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