Every Ugly Word - Aimee L. Salter

There were two things I was looking forward to in this book. No, make that three as I'd read some very positive reviews as well. One, the complete story is set as a conversation between Ashley and her psychiatrist (a setting I find incredibly interesting as it is exactly the kind of thing I've been planning to use for my own story - the one that has been in my head for a couple of years now and doesn't really feel like coming out). Besides, it has a Möbius-strip time paradox, which I always find fascinating. For both things however, it's important it's done right, for it can make or brake the story.


For that was my reason to read the book, it's not the main subject. Ashley is being bullied in the most terrible way, and even though it's clearly visible (even for teachers or the like) nothing gets done about it. Her mother is, to say the least, unsupportive, blaming Ashley for the awkward feeling she has when hanging out with the parents of the kids that bully Ashley. O, how I wanted to slap her in the face. Things get even worse when Matt, her best friend and secret crush, befriends her torturers making her feel even more abandoned. And all the while, Ashley's talking to her older self in the mirror, who's say she's trying to save her from the same fate but isn't willing to give her enough information to do so. 


It was a real pageturner. I was really curious to find out what the terrible thing that happened (and that they refer to right at the beginning, she's not seeing a shrink for nothing of course) was, especially since I also believed that it was the thing that Older Ashley was trying to save Ashley from. When I was reading I was always thinking: this is the last chapter, than I'll go to sleep. But I kept thinking it for the next 6 chapters or so. The setting working very well and made it very hard for me to put the book away.


I was wondering about the mirror paradox though. Ashley's conversations with her older self I'm willing to buy without as much as a second time. Nothing weird about that. But at first it's suggested that she's some several years older that Ashley's now. While near the end, it feels like

she's actually only a couple of months older, as it doesn't feel like Ashley's been in the institution for years. This depends of course on how long Ashley's already having these conversations, for I don't think the Young Ashley that's eventually saved by Ashley is already preparing her younger self since the Terrible Things hasn't happened yet. However, Ashley sees Older Matt in the mirror once. When did that happen, because I clearly didn't get the idea that he'd been to visit her in the institution or had any idea of her talking to mirrors at all. So, were there two different Older Ashleys talking to Ashley? How did she not notice? How does that even work? I'm confused

(show spoiler)

This however did not spoil the story for me. I wanted to say I enjoyed reading it a lot, but that feels wrong with a subject this serious like bullying. The story was very interesting though and the setting and (although not perfect) the paradox didn't let me down. I would definitely read another book by this author.


Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!