Book Review: Tell Me Three Things (YA)

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Goodreads Summary:
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.

My Review:
This book was cute, but it didn’t really stand out as anything too spectacular for me. It reminded me a little of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda because it has an anonymous email correspondence element to it. Jessie has recently moved to California to live with her father’s new wife and her son. Jessie’s mom died two years ago, and since then, she and her father haven’t talked much. Moving is rough for Jessie, so a random person, “Somebody/Nobody” or “SN” for short, starts emailing her, offering to be her spirit guide to Wood Valley High School.

As the book progresses, there are three guys that could potentially be SN, but I guessed who it was right away. That made the middle of the book rather painful to read. Jessie was kind of clueless. The boys were fine, one was super cute, but it was a little annoying that without meaning too, Jessie very quickly had three guys falling all over her. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so annoyed if I hadn’t know who it was all along.

The book is written in first person, and I enjoyed being inside Jessie’s head even though she was a little too sarcastic and insecure for my taste. The constant commentary was humorous.

The best part of the book for me were the friendships. Jessie had an amazing best friend back in Chicago, and the text conversations and other interactions between Jessie and Scarlet were honest and real. Jessie also makes two great girl friends in L.A. Agnes and Dri were great confidants and sidekicks for Jessie. I enjoyed their banter and boy drama.

There were some minor nerdy elements which also made this book fun. Jessie works in a bookstore – amazing! And some books and TV shows I like are mentioned. Also, Jessie and one of the boys are paired up for an English assignment – analyzing The Wasteland.

I enjoyed the grief part of the plot, but some of the other aspects just didn’t work for me. The book was slow in the beginning, and even though the second half of the book picked up, it didn’t bring my rating back up.

My Rating: 3 Stars
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On the blog last year…

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    1. We discussed this book at book club on Wednesday, and Sarah and Annie both loved it (4 and 5 stars respectively), so it's worth reading. I know most people have loved it. I think I'm in another contemporary slump. I'm listening to The Unexpected Everything now, and I'm just not loving it, and I LOVE Morgan Matson. 🙁

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