Tell Me Three Things – Julie Buxbaum

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?

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.

Review

I liked this one! Jessie was a likeable and relatable protagonist — even though she’s stricken by grief and put in a very odd “new girl” situation. Her transition reminded me a lot of what it’s like to move to university. You get from that point of homesickness at your new place, but you don’t quite fit in back home, either. Old friends move on, because they have to. It’s a weird state of limbo and adjustment that a lot of people can recognize.

The somebody/nobody experience could have gone seriously wrong. Like it could’ve gone Catfish-to-serial killer-level wrong. But somehow, it all worked out! I mean, their conversations were cute, but that possibility of “creepy dude on the internet” didn’t make me swoon.

I found myself wondering if each “suspect” was the real “SN,” but never at the same time as Jessie. This was a good thing — I constantly thought I’d figured it out, only for Julie Buxbaum to address that exact person (thereby making me think it WASN’T that person). I think it’s clear early on who you want SN to be, and the author definitely delivers. 🙂

This book is sweet, and it depicts realistic conversations. In our generation, sometimes it is easier to type and text than it is to talk. And sometimes it takes those online chats to have real, meaningful conversations; to find someone who understands you at a deeper level. Every character is at a different “important” stage of development — from Scarlett, to Theo, to Dri, to Jessie, to Gem… it was great to read about such well-rounded characters.

Related Reading

  • Life by Committee – Corey Ann Haydu
  • 4 to 16 Characters – Kelly Hourihan
  • Tonight the Streets are Ours – Leila Sales
  • The Geography of You and Me – Jennifer E. Smith

Rating: 4/5 

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