By: Julie Buxbaum
Narrator: Jorjeana Marie
Publisher: Listening Library
Publication Date: 4/5/2016
My Rating: 5 Stars
Best 2016 YA Fiction
Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel whose characters will come to feel like friends. Tell Me Three Things will appeal to fans of Rainbow Rowell, Jennifer Niven, and E. Lockhart.
“Three Things about this novel: (1) I loved it. (2) No, really, I LOVED it. (3) I wish I could tell every teen to read it. Buxbaum’s book sounds, reads, breathes, worries, and soars like real adolescents do.” —Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Leaving Time and Off the Page
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 delves into the inner feelings and life of a teen girl TELL ME THREE THINGS —grief stricken by the loss of her mother, thrown into a new stepfamily, and a move to a new city and school, knowing no one.
With wit, lots of heart, and soul ---and a little help from her new anonymous virtual spirit guide, “Somebody Nobody”--they chart their own course, through daily life’s storms and messiness.
• 733 days after mother died (Cancer)
• 45 days after her dad eloped with a stranger on the internet (wealthy)
• 30 days after they move from Chicago to Los Angeles (New stepmom & stepbrother)
• 7 days after starting as a junior at a new prep school (Public to private-knows no one)
To: Jessie A. Holmes (email@example.com)
From: Somebody Nobody (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Your Wood Valley H.S. Spirit Guide
Tell Me Three Things
An email arrives. An anonymous letter pops up in Julie’s inbox with a bizzare alias. Julie is sixteen and her world has just been uprooted like overnight. Someone appears to be there to help her survive Wood Valley High. A guardian angel. For real?
The mom she loved dearly, and her special waffles, is no longer there. Their intimate talks, her support, guidance, and friend. Her dad is distracted, centered on his new wife, and she has an annoying stepbrother, Theo to contend with.
With a cast of supporting characters, Jessie continues to communicate with SN, attempting to guess his identity. She is loving the supportive, funny, and online friend, and comes to depend on him. When she begins making friends, she is still always wondering. Talking with fingertips. It is safe. When will they meet? What is he really like?
A job at the bookstore. Power through the grief. Emotional truths. Naked and unprotected, face to face with life’s fears, battles, and steep mountains to climb. Learning, accepting,desperately trying to fit in.
Juggling guy and girlfriends, crushes, relationships, school, peer pressure, work, family, loves, pain, loss and the ongoing fear and excitement of meeting SN—add in dealing with the normal other teen emotional highs, lows, and frustrations. First times. Trials and failures. Wins and Losses. A desperate need to be accepted and loved. Starting over.
Who does Jessie want SN to be? She continues to analyze everyone she meets to determine if there is a connection to SN – the mystery man. Ethan, Liam, Caleb, or someone else? She will not let go of the crush. The talking, the sharing. The unveiling . . . Possibly, romance, a kiss. poetry, a relationship?
Buxbaum skillfully maneuvers the daily thoughts of Jessie, in her banter with precision, using contemporary subjects, and dialogue, in an entertaining format. Authentic, relatable teen characters, with a nice usage of social media- without being overbearing. Keeping readers glued to the pages to learn SN's identity.
A fantastic and innovative story for young adults, teens, and even parents and grandparents. (hey, we all have to keep up). We forget too quickly what is was like being a teen. Most of us despised our own teen years; not a time we wish to relive. Junior high and high school are difficult times even for the average teen. A constant state of confusion.
I liked Jessie in so many ways. She was never whinny, selfish, or a drama queen. She took everything in, sometimes without reaction. After all, she did have her faithful SN to confide in.
On a serious note: I loved the commentary from the author at the end. Her heartfelt personal story of the loss of her own mom, at age fourteen. Painful times, delving into those feelings with a powerful story to tell. The beauty of first love, and she tells it with compassion and raw human emotion! The author's first YA debut--Highly relatable, to teens in such a way to balance the loss, grief, with wit and humor.
I listened to the audiobook version (highly recommend) narrated by Jorjeana Marie—a perfect voice for Julie. Priceless. What a great tribute to a mom…Someone is smiling. For fans of YA Contemporary Rainbow Rowell, Veronica Roth, John Green, Jodi Picoult, and Sarah Dessen. Highly recommend!
My three favorite things: (the cover, a given)
> The Author
> The Characters (SN & Jessie)
> The Narrator
I had to laugh at the blended family with teens. I remarried, when my two sons were 12 and 13. His sons were 8, 12, 15. All five boys lived with us full time. A new school, stepbrothers, rules, sharing their parents, stepparents, other parent (s) remarrying and having their own second families…Madness. The book makes you appreciate what goes on inside a teen’s mind, what they may be going through - lives are being uprooted—maybe they need to be given some slack. Can I have a do over?
April Must Reads
Buy the Book
"Three Things about this novel: 1. I loved it. 2. No, really, I LOVED it. 3. I wish I could tell every teen to read it. Buxbaum's book sounds, reads, breathes, worries, and soars like real adolescents do." - Jodi Picoult, NYT bestselling author of LEAVING TIME and OFF THE PAGE.
"Here are three things about this book: (1) It's sweet and funny and romantic; (2) the mystery at the heart of the story will keep you turning the pages; (3) I have a feeling you'll be very happy you read it."—Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
"The desire to find out whether Jessie's real-life and virtual crushes are one and the same will keep [readers] turning the pages as quickly as possible."--Publishers Weekly, Starred
"A heartfelt, wryly perceptive account of coming to terms with irrevocable loss when life itself means inevitable change."—Kirkus Reviews
"This is by far the best YA book I've read all year . . . Seriously, SUCH a great read."—Reviewer, Teen Vogue
"Buxbaum's debut is hard to put down because of its smooth and captivating text. The addition of virtual conversations through email and chatting adds to the exciting plot twist."--SLJ
What To Say Next
Coming July 7, 2017
From the New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things comes a charming and poignant story about two struggling teenagers who find an unexpected connection just when they need it most. For fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Niven, and Rainbow Rowell.
About the Author
Julie Buxbaum is the author of the critically acclaimed The Opposite of Love and After You, and her work has been translated into twenty-five languages. Tell Me Three Things is her first young adult novel.
Her writing has appeared in various publications, including The New York Times. She is a former lawyer and graduate of Harvard Law School and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two young children, and an immortal goldfish. Visit Julie online at www.juliebuxbaum.com and follow @juliebux on Twitter. Read More