Review: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

 Genre: YA Contemporary

Pages: 336 (US Hardcover)

Publication Date: 5 April 2016

My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Perfect days are for people with small realisable 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.”

Goodreads synopsis

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?


You know that feeling when a book makes you laugh, feel all warm and fuzzy inside and nearly drive you to tears all at once? Well, I was consumed with those emotions the entirety of my read of this adorable novel. Tell Me Three Things centres around Jessie Holmes, a 16-year-old girl trying to navigate her new life after an abrupt move from Chicago to Los Angeles following the death of her mother. Her father’s new marriage forces Jessie into unknown territory; into a new school that is the polar opposite of the one she attended back home and without her faithful best friend Scarlett by her side. You immediately empathise with Jessie’s struggles in her new life and her loneliness throughout the first half of the book is almost palpable.

Jessie’s grief over her mother’s death mingled with the ostracism she experiences at school make for a tumultuous and unpleasant beginning to Jessie’s school year. That is, until she starts receiving anonymous emails from a person who goes by Somebody Nobody (SN). The friendship that develops between Jessie and SN is not unlike the one between Simon and Blue in of my favourite contemporary novels Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I loved reading the messages between Jessie and SN and throughout the book; I had my suspicions as to who it was (turns out, I was right) though they wavered from time to time, much like Jessie’s did.

Many of the characters in this novel definitely fall under the category of “more than meets the eye.” There’s a hidden depth to some who appear to be aloof and cold in the beginning; the indifference they show just a facade to mask the pain and grief that they too are feeling. I admire the way the author addressed the loss of a parent through the eyes of a teenager. Being a teenager is hard enough, but losing a parent in the midst of trying to find yourself can feel virtually impossible. Jessie’s character is one that is humourous in its self-deprecation and wit but also quite self-aware. She doesn’t realise quite how amazing she is and that makes her all the more appealing.

I practically inhaled this book because it was just so enjoyable to read. The writing style flowed so easily and the story was one that made want to know what was going to happen next. My only complaint, albeit, a small one, is that I would’ve liked more of a complete ending. I won’t go into detail to avoid spoilers, but the end wrapped up so quickly that I would’ve enjoyed a few more pages to flesh the ending out a bit more. But the last few sentences were absolutely adorable, so I’ll forgive this slight transgression! I’d definitely recommend this book to any fans of Simon vs or Love & Gelato, or any reader of cute and heartwarming YA contemporary novels.


Have you had the pleasure of reading this book yet? Do you have any YA contemporary recommendations for me (I’m always looking for more!)?

Until next time readers!

-K

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