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Tell Me Three Things Hardcover – April 5, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—A contemporary YA novel about grieving, growing up, and learning how to have confidence in yourself. Saying Jessie's new life is weird would be an understatement—after she loses her mother to cancer, her dad sells their house, moves them across the country to live with the woman he eloped with during a business trip, and enrolls her in an elite private school where everyone makes her feel even more like an outsider. Back home Jessie was comfortable: she had both her parents, a house she loved, and friends. Here she feels lost in a sea of designer clothing, expensive cars, and people who spend their summer vacations in faraway countries. When the teen gets an anonymous email from Somebody/Nobody offering to teach her to navigate this new school's territory, she registers how strange the situation may be but replies anyway. Who is this mysterious Somebody/Nobody (SN for short)? Will trusting SN lead to success—or make her even more of a target for bullies? Readers will find themselves growing with Jessie as she tries to deal with the passing of her mother and become comfortable in her own skin miles away from everything she thought of as home. 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 an exciting plot twist. Casual talk of drinking, drugs, and sex makes this novel more appealing to mature teens. VERDICT A definite purchase for collections where readers enjoy character-driven fiction.—DeHanza Kwong, Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte, NC
"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
"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
"Buxbaum adds layered plotlines about grief, family, and the confusion and hardships of growing up, all with a touch of humor and romance. A solid YA debut."--Booklist
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Top customer reviews
I loved Jessie's relationship and non-relationship with her step family. She is so wonderfully teen-ager-y. I love that she is bullied and we get to watch her deal with it. She gets mad at her dad and acts exactly like a teenager would. She just has so much going for her as a character.
SN is just the cutest. The helpful hints provided at the beginning of their relationship becomes compliments and emotional support. I loved how the author kept us guessing SN's identity until the end. Even though the reader has favorites and so does Jessie, SN could reasonably be one of three people and still make a great story.
Again, this story was just so fantastic.
So this is actually the first contemporary novel that I listened to as an audiobook because I’m not built for audiobooks but I really really enjoyed listening. And then just a few days earlier, this book went on sale on Amazon so I had to buy it and reread. I’m sure when the time comes, I’ll be buying a hard copy to reread it over again because it’s definitely one of my favorite contemporaries to date.
Jessie is the new girl in school. She transferred from Chicago to California with her father to live with her stepmom, Rachel, and stepbrother, Theo. And then, during her first week at school, she received an email from Somebody Nobody (or SN) offering help in navigating Wood Valley High.
I really love Jessie’s character because she’s so genuine. She’s frustrating at times and naive but at the same time, adorable and smart which made her character arc stand out. She loves books too!
I also enjoyed the other characters like Theo, I just wish we had more Theo in the book. Agnes and Dri too! They’re Jessie’s friends in her new school. Scarlett was Jessie’s best friend back from Chicago and I really loved their funny banter and sweet conversations from time to time. Especially during that time when Jessie went back to Chicago to visit and they had this conflict resolved, it was such a step-up.
Of course, the contenders as to whom SN might be. Liam, Caleb, or Ethan. I quite enjoyed all three of them, each to their own personalities. Liam and Ethan are both musicians and from the same band. Caleb and Liam are close friends, so it was sort of implied that there might be a geometry with love here somewhere but actually there wasn’t. And I’m glad that SN turned out to be who I wanted it to be, although at first, I wasn’t really sure if it was going to be him. The mystery of SN’s true identity was really exciting, especially when it all went down to the moment of truth, where Jessie found out who SN really was. It was super fun to read, and more fun to hear because the emotions were really genuine! Mad props to Jorjeana Marie for her wonderful narration!
Another thing I enjoyed about this book was not only it celebrated love, it also dealt with friendships, families, and of course grief. Moving on is such an easy concept but it’s definitely hard to do. This concept made the whole book so damn relatable.
This book just hit the homerun with me. It’s utterly impossible not to feel and just explode with emotions with this book. It’s just so real and genuine and the author didn’t even really try. Julie Buxbaum just managed to capture it perfectly. With that said, I’m really looking forward to her future books!
5 ⭐️! This book was adorable, sad, funny, and sweet. I loved Jessie and her nerddom, and totally would've been friends with her (and Scar, Dri, and Agnes) at 16 - and I could've used a Somebody Nobody a time or two in my life.
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.