By Aimee L. Salter
'My physical scars aren't the reason I'm here. He can't fix those. But he can help me by letting me out.
(...) He will let me out today. He must. If I can get home in time, I can fix...everything.'
What if you gazed into the mirror...and someone else was staring back at you.
When seventeen-year-old Ashley Watson looks in the mirror, she sees her twenty-three-year-old self.
Older Ashley lives on the other side of the mirror. She's Ashley's lone confidant...the only person who knows the truth behind the lies that make up Ashley's life.
Always enduring. Always alone.
With bullies for classmates and a callous mother, Ashley escapes through her art. Pictures come to life on the page - haunting images that speak volumes about the ugliness Ashley endures day to day.
However, her art doesn't only reflect the bad. It reflects the longing, too. In particular, her longing for her best friend Matt to finally fall in love with her. To see her, as she truly is.
But as the bullying reaches new levels, will Matt stand by Ashley's side? Will she find the courage to confide in him - not only about the bullies her hurt her, but about her biggest secret...Older Ashley?
'She knew. She knew this was coming and she didn't tell me.'
Older Ashley has been through it all already—she endured the bullying, too, and survived the heartbreak. Yet, little by little, Ashley begins to question Older Ashley's advice and her true motives.
What isn't Older Ashley telling her?
As events tumble out of control, Ashley may be forced to confront her biggest fear: that neither Ashley has the answers. And that she's going to have to face whatever is coming alone.
You can't go back. You can't wish it away.
A rollercoaster filled with unforeseeable twists and turns, Every Ugly Word is a raw, emotional tale that will have you hanging on to every perfectly written word.
Exploring what it means to be broken, and what it means to be truly brave, Aimee L. Salter provides readers with a story and characters that will live in your heart long after the final page.
My thoughts on the book:
I cried bucket-loads.
For those who know me well, this will not come as a surprise! I'm the kind of person who only needs to be given the slightest incentive in order to start bawling - whether I'm re-watching Tuck Everlasting, or I'm flicking through family photo albums.
And Every Ugly Word gives you hundreds of reasons to tear up. From the beautifully conveyed emotions, to the heartbreaking character of Ashley. Poor Ashley - I just wanted to hug her so bad! She goes through situations no person should have to go through.
And yet, she shows such strength.
True, it's not your typical 'strength'. But it's a quieter type of bravery. One that is perfectly described in the book itself:
"What makes a decision brave, Doc?"
(...) "I suppose I would define someone - or a decision they made - as brave when they choose a path that could have either serious gains or extreme consequences. When they're choosing that path not out of recklessness, but out of hope. For something better."The true stand out feature of this book are the concepts.
Everything about this book's concepts intrigued me. Especially the use of 'Older Me' (Older Ashley) and the mirror.
It added an edge to the story - moments where you questioned the main protagonist, where you questioned the reality that was being told to you.
Apart from the 'edge' it added, the mirror and Older Ashley caused me to tear up the most. Because it spoke to me on so many levels to read about this lost, hurting girl who found solace in her reflection. In an older, wiser version of her whom she believes will give her the answers she needs, and the love no one else can give her.
It reminded of the lyrics to Justin Timberlake's Mirror (to listen to Madilyn Bailey's cover version of this song that I listened to whilst typing up this review, see here!)
'Cause I don't wanna lose you nowThis book deserves more than five stars.
I'm lookin' right at the other half of me
The vacancy that sat in my heart
Is a space that now you hold
Show me how to fight for now
And I'll tell you, baby, it was easy
Comin' back here to you once I figured it out
You were right here all along...'
Words don't really give it justice. I could type and type about its merits but there's no way I could convey to you all how amazing this book is. It's unique - a book that you walk away from changed, with a different perspective on life. A book that touches you.
I highly recommend picking up a copy today. I want to give a big thanks to Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book - and to Aimee L. Salter for writing it! :)