Title: Tell Me Three Things
Author: Julie Buxbaum
Publication: April 5th 2016 by Delacorte Press
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 336 pages
Format: Library book
Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?
It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.
In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?
Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel filled with characters who will come to feel like friends.
Shelf it on Goodreads
So here’s the alphabetical run down:
I really like Jessie’s character. I moved halfway through high school as well so I felt like I could relate to her. She also had some really great quirks that I could really relate to: feeling like crying at the most inopportune moments, being braver when she’s writing and hitting send before she’s able to think too hard about the consequences. I loved how witty she and SNs written conversations were; they added a lot to her overall personality. I was frustrated that I didn’t feel like Buxbaum gave her much a physical description. By default I assumed that she did not look like the blonde “Barbies” she describes her classmates as, but I really like to picture my characters and she wasn’t given enough of a description for me besides her clothing.
Ethan is serious and mysterious and I loved getting to know him right along with Jessie. He would definitely be the boy I would want to get to know at Wood Valley High School. And Theo, Jessie’s new step-brother, started out a nightmare but turns into an ally.
Although SN’s identity was concealed for the majority of the book, we get to know his character very well. I did, however, guess who SN was correctly in less than 50 pages, so there’s that.
I really like this cover after reading the book and understanding the significance of the waffle and all of the “three things” written in gray as the background, but before reading it, I honestly wasn’t drawn to the cover at all. I do like that the waffles are textured, nice detail.
Before reading this book I read a review that criticized the generalizations made of LA and the people who live there. Although I could see what they were talking about (the grass is not always green and everyone isn’t “mostly blond, vacant-eyed Barbies and Kens”), I’ve never lived in LA, so I didn’t take the generalizations personally, nor did they detract from the story.
I don’t feel like this is praised enough in good books, but Tell Me Three Things had really good pacing. The story was easy to read, easy to follow, didn’t feel rushed or like it dragged, I just got to enjoy the story without thinking too much about the book itself.
“Perfect days are for people with small, realizable dreams. Or maybe for all of us, they just happen in retrospect; they’re only now perfect because they contain something irrevocably and irretrievably lost.”
“I am not alone. Not really. Just geographically isolated.”
“When the worst thing you could possibly imagine happens to you, you think maybe other previously inconceivably bad things can happen too.”
Another good contemporary that I would recommend picking up!