Every Ugly Word
By Aimee L. Salter
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.
My rating: 4.75 / 5
Such a sad, thought-provoking read about bullying and the horribleness of it all. Unfortunately, bullying occurs in almost every high school and in this case Ashley is the victim. Bullies don’t realise that their actions can have severe psychological effects on the victim, which can last for the rest of their life. We see the damage the bullies do to Ashley when she talks to her future self in the mirror, and how the future self is suffering too from the lasting effects of bullying.
In Ashley’s case, there was very little of a support system. Other students knew she was being bullied and were too afraid to side with her, which left her with one friend, Matt. And as we learned through the story, even he isn’t perfect. Matt is Ashley’s best friend but she’s in love with him, which made things a whole lot more difficult. Especially when he starts to date the girl that made her life hell. Even Matt can’t fix it all, and Ashley can’t tell him all the ‘incidents’ either, because she’s afraid he won’t believe her anyway. Instead of trying to help, Ashley’s mother is embarrassed of her daughter and accuses Ash for not making enough of an effort to fit in. And when you think that Ash only has Matt and her mother, there’s no wonder she feels like giving up and having almost suicidal thoughts.
Bullying is not something to be taken lightly and until I read this book, even I brushed the topic off as something that is part of human nature and will not change. Ashley’s story tells us to be strong and to believe in ourselves and each other. Sometimes it is only having that one person to support you that makes all the difference between fighting and giving up. You may not be the victim and I certainly hope you’re not the bully, but if you do come across any sort of bullying, then you shouldn’t turn a blind eye. If you can’t confront and stop the bully, then support the victim and just let them know that they’re not alone. It takes a lot of courage because there’s always the fear that the bully might change its prey, but you could be saving someone’s life.
“People you love should always be more important than people who judge you.”
But I didn’t have any answers. I had to be alone. And maybe I did need to kill myself, because if it could get worse than this, I didn’t have it in me to survive anyway.
It isn’t what happens to you in your life that destroys you. It’s what you do about it.
As long as I had hope, the good things would stay good. So no, I’d never be a kick-ass movie star heroine. But I was real. And loveable. And for now, that was enough.