REVIEW: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

by - 12:00 PM

“I am as lost and confused and alone as I have ever been.”

Back of the book blurb:

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.

A message in a bottle:

Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 336
ISBN: 9780553535648

Available for Purchase:

My rating:

            Tell Me Three Things is Julie Buxbaum’s first YA novel and my oh my it’s a good one! And it’s perfect for the generation that grew up on the internet just because internet friends always seem so much more real and understanding than friends in real life. It’s easier to talk online rather than face-to-face. There’s much less pressure to say the right thing because you have time to think about it. I relate so much because when I was growing up, I felt more at home on the internet than anywhere else.

“Clearly, the only viable option is to Sherlock the shit out of this.”

            So, basically, Jessie just moved to a new school across the country because her dad married some new rich lady. And she’s feeling lost and alone, but soon, someone e-mails her under the guise of Somebody/Nobody. They are her unofficial guide to kicking her new school’s ass. And surprisingly, they’re very helpful. And soon enough, there seems to be feelings there. Hmm… Jessie’s need to find out who SN is increases tenfold.

            Again, I love the idea of this and Ms. Buxbaum executes it wonderfully. She reminds us all how it felt to have internet crushes, even though Jessie’s is a bit different because they actually go to the same school. There’s the thrill of being whoever you want, of your crush being whoever you want. This book is just exciting in that way—a mystery wrapped in a romance.

“Why should I always operate on his timetable? Be available when it’s suddenly convenient for him? Be the good daughter who makes things easy and simple? Be the one who plays along, tries to make him feel better about his bad choices? What about when I need him? Where is he then?”

            Along with the book being exciting because you’re vigorously trying to find out who SN is, it deals with some very real issues that come with a passing of a parent: the living parent moving on and finding someone else. And also, the living parent having to find their footing as a single parent. This doesn’t excuse Jessie’s dad’s bad actions; it just gives you perspective. He’s trying and he thinks he’s doing what’s best, even if it actually isn’t. I like that Jessie stays angry and really shows her dad how his actions are affecting her, rather than her just automatically forgiving him.

“…all I can think about his how much I want to kiss them: his eyes, his hands too. All of him. His damaged parts. All of him.”

            Okay, I’m pretty sure we all fell in love with Ethan. I mean, come on, we all like the damaged ones—it’s just in us as humans; we think we have to fix everything, even if it’s not broken. Ethan’s story is a sad one, and I love that Jessie finally gets under his skin and makes him smile.

            I also really love how Ms. Buxbaum shows the difference between Jessie’s feelings for Ethan and Jessie’s feelings for SN. How sometimes they intertwine and sometimes they’re totally different. It shows that feelings can be strange and complex and just so real.

            And honestly, without giving too much away, the ending was perfect. I was so happy with how it ended. It gave me chills. Trust me, you’ll be happy, too.

“But sometimes a kiss is not a kiss is not a kiss. Sometimes it’s poetry.”

Happy reading!
The Wandereader

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