Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
Publisher: Delacorte Press (5th Apr 2016)
Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago—the closest place she has to something like home—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?
The thing is, Jessie does need 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 in LA 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?
Right from the start, I fell in love with the cover of Tell Me Three Things because it just screams contemporary YA! That, and the fact that the premise of the novel sounds like Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda with substance. And guess what? I was right. Bookish people, I definitely recommend Tell Me Three Things if you’re in the mood for something funny and humorous with a swoony romance.
Tell Me Three Things follows the story of Jessie whose life has been uprooted when her Mum died. Not only that, things get from bad to worse when her Dad remarries and Jessie finds herself in LA, living in the her new stepmother’s house and going to a school attended by the rich and snobbish. But it isn’t all bad when SN, an anonymous person who present him/herself as a confidant(e) to Jessie. So who on earth is SN and how does he/she know so much about Jessie?
“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.”
I had really high hopes for Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda but unfortunately, it wasn’t for me. However, I was pleasantly surprised that I really enjoyed every page of Tell Me Three Things because I was gripped by the drama Jessie found herself in from the word go. Finding out who SN was was quite a thrill because I had all these notions in my head, pinging back and forth, wondering who SN was.
The highlight of the entire book was definitely the relationship between Jessie and SN, no doubt. But let’s not ignore the fact that this book heavily delves into the life and times of a person’s high school experience. Moreover, there were quite a number of issues that presented themselves as important elements to the story, for example, Jessie and her Dad’s coping mechanisms after the loss of her mother and his wife.
Tell Me Three Things also focuses on friendship and I love a good story that includes friends who are there for you, through and through. It also touched a bit on bullying and how its toxicity could affect people. Jessie was the target of high school bullying and what really lacked for me in the end of the book was the poetic justice that the bully didn’t get the comeuppance she truly deserved. Or maybe that’s just me.
“His two front teeth are slightly crooked, veer just a tiny bit to the right, as if they’ve decided perfection is overrated. His smile is like unlocking a riddle. How does an imperfection make him seem more perfect?”
The introduction of two male characters that could possibly be SN was quite a hoo-hah because a) no one loves a love triangle like I do. That is one trope that I will never get bored of, seriously – I have endured love squares/pentagons/hexagons in Sarah J. Maas’s books and I can’t stop loving them – and b) who doesn’t like to fangirl/fanboy over charming male characters? I could continue gushing, but that would spoil the fun, so let’s give you a chance to read it and decide for yourself!
“I hate the word “bitch.” I do. Using the B-word makes me feel like a bad feminist, but sometimes there is no other word.”
Tell Me Three Things undoubtedly has a cute romance that was swoon-worthy, a sassy and likeable protagonist that is strong, determined and a little bit flawed, but aren’t we all? The email and text exchanges between Jessie and SN were hilarious, witty and I couldn’t get enough of them. If you’ve enjoyed Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, I strongly urge you to give this one a try because to me, I felt like it beat the former with its depth and realistic tropes. Bursting with laugh-out-loud humour, I would say that Tell Me Three Things is a triumph!
I’d like to thank MPH Distributors for a copy of Tell Me Three Things for review.