Buy from: Fully Booked
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Release Date: April 5, 2016
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?
Okay. Wow. I literally just stopped reading Tell Me Three Things about ten minutes ago and I still have this ridiculously huge grin on my face! (And I really don't think that it will be disappearing any time soon...) There were actually parts wherein I had to stop and pause because FEELINGS and I needed a squealing break! I've come into this book expecting A LOT - I've yet to encounter someone who didn't like it, after all - and boy, oh boy... my expectations were exceeded BIG TIME. Yes folks, Tell Me Three Things is THAT GOOD. I've been stuck in a reading slump for maybe one to two weeks now and for a book to make me feel so much is just the best feeling IN THE WORLD.
So many all caps. Sorry for that. But let me back up a bit...
The premise of Tell Me Three Things is relatively simple - Jessie and her father move to LA to live with her new stepmother (whom her father eloped with with no prior notice whatsoever) and stepbrother, and after a few days at her new school, Jessie receives an email from someone called Somebody Nobody - SN - who offers to help her navigate the murky waters of high school. Jessie is initially unsure if she should accept help from someone she doesn't even know, but a after a particularly tough day, she gives in, emails SN back, and they start to forge a friendship that quickly becomes a constant in Jessie's new life.
Most contemporaries these days tend to be more on the heavy side, but what immediately drew me to Tell Me Three Things is that while it tackles serious issues, it didn't lose this freshness and lightness that made it a quick read that is so easy to lose yourself into. Let me elaborate - Tell Me Three Things is not just about Jessie dealing with her mother's death, her father's sudden marriage, or her moving to a completely different city - it also explores how she finds herself in this new city, both her old and new friendships, and the mystery of who SN really is. Tell Me Three Things has plot points that have either light or heavy undertones, but instead of overpowering each other, they complemented each other perfectly. Buxbaum was able to brilliantly juggle the different aspects of the novel brilliantly; she was able to form a coherent story that is engaging from start to finish.
At the heart of it all, Tell Me Three Things is largely about Jessie picking up the pieces of her own life, and learning how to move forward. The death of her mother is something that she can't completely wrap her mind around, and her father, consumed by his own grief - hasn't been able to support and comfort her when she needed him the most. You can't help but empathize with Jessie for all that she has gone through, and all that she is going through. Her relationship with her father is practically non-existent, and she's not entirely comfortable with her stepmother either. As if all that is not bad enough, some classmates at school have also made it their mission to make life terrible for Jessie. But you know what? She may not see it or believe it, but Jessie is one heck of a strong girl. Her tenacity - her will and determination - allow her to keep on getting up even when life hasn't exactly been easy, and to say that I rooted for her is one massive understatement. Jessie has fast become one of my favorite YA heroines simply because she is both so relateable and unique!
Another selling point of Tell Me Three Things is how Buxbaum took great care in exploring the different relationships that she introduced. There's Jessie's relationship with her father and her stepmother, as well as her relationship with her stepbrother, Theo, which personally quickly became one of my favorites from the novel, and her friendship slash romance with SN. Another laurel in Buxbaum's cap is how she was able to depict healthy (complete with unwavering support and unavoidable misunderstandings) and realistic friendships between young girls (which I find has been missing in contemporary YA lately). I loved reading through Jessie's IMs with Scar, her best friend, and her budding friendships with Dri and Agnes.
Ah, but of course, how can we not talk about the romance? Because that was also one of the best things about Tell Me Three Things! There's the thing between Jessie and SN that I mentioned a while back, and Jessie also has tell-tale interactions with Ethan, her partner in English, and Liam, the son of the owner of the book shop she works at. And then there's also Caleb! I wasn't only hooked with the story and Jessie's character growth - at the back of my mind, I feel like I was also doing my damned hardest in trying to figure out who SN is (and I enjoyed every minute of it!)
All in all, I LOVED Tell Me Three Things. It has all the components I look for in my contemporary reads - it has both lightness and depth, and its main character is someone whom I adored from start to finish. The characters all feel authentic and genuine, and the writing just flows. I already know that this is a book that I will read again, just like I know that Tell Me Three Things is on my list of my favorite contemporaries of ALL TIME.
Rating: 5 Stars