I'm a bookworm of the highest caliber! If you see me, I'll probably be reading. There's nothing I love more than finding a good book, and then sharing it with the world!
I'm not even sure where to start. There are only a few times in my life that I've wanted to literally scream with rage while reading, and this was one of them. Every Ugly Word was an intense, and heart shattering read. It took every drop of empathy I had inside of me and left me empty. This isn't an easy book to read, my friends. Be warned, you'll be living life through the eyes of a girl who is intensely bullied. A girl who is told that the world would be a better place if she just died, almost daily. A girl who is alone. It's awful, but I know it's the truth. That this really happens. So I settled in, and I let Ashley's life wash over me. At the very least, I could be there to live her story.
What's interesting about this book is that it's told in past/present narration. As Ashley recounts the hell that was her high school years, it's like she's living them all over again. See, high school Ashley was able to talk to her older self. How, you ask? Through the mirror. This creates an amazing way to see both into the past, and the present, at the exact same time. We get the information from high school Ashley, and then see that same information through older Ashley's eyes. Seriously, I know it sounds odd, but it's an amazing experience. I found myself hanging on every word that was said. Waiting for the next time her older self would give her some sort of hint as to what she should do. It was such a unique way to tell this story, and I loved it.
Oh, there's just so much to touch on that I'm frustrated that I can't fit it all in here. The fact that Matt, her best friend and only confidant, wasn't perfect. Honestly, whose best friend ever is? Or that every person Ashley tries to turn to chooses to smooth over the problem instead of handling it. It hurt, but I know this is what happens. Her "friends" letting things slide in order to stay under the bullying radar, her teachers spouting words like "oh it will get better" and "you're almost done with high school anyway", and her mother, who I will get to in just a second, because she deserves her own paragraph for sure.
Ashley's mother is a horrible human being. She was the character that I loathed more than anyone else, because she had no excuse to be as callous and as demeaning as she was. The thing that hit hardest about this story was that Ashley's mother was truly her first bully. Constantly telling her she was fat, that she should try harder to fit in, that it was perfectly acceptable to use sex as a means to an end. If the person who birthed you sees you as less, why wouldn't you start to see yourself that way too? I wanted to murder this woman. I know that seems harsh, but I did. Every time she set foot on the page, I wanted to burn this book to ashes. The problem was, it was really good. I wanted to see how it all ended.
There were little pieces of this story that didn't sit quite right with me, but I let them slide. I was too intensely wrapped up in Ashley's life to really care all that much. What ended up making Every Ugly Word a four star, rather than a five star, read for me was the ending. It wasn't a bad ending. It was actually rather unexpected. I just felt like it pushed the envelope a little more than I was willing to follow. Still, it doesn't change the fact that this is an amazing book. I'd say every single high school student out there, especially the ones like Ashley, need to read this. To know that there are others like them who are lost. To know that it's possible to be strong and fight back. This isn't an easy read, by any means, but it's an important one. I am blown away. Bravo Aimee L. Salter. Bravo, and thank you.