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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 this book. The only thing I didn't like was that it had to end and, in fact, I forced myself to stop reading several times because I didn't want to finish. Jessie was so unbelievably real and likeable and I felt every emotion right along with her - humiliation at being bullied, grief over losing her mom, awkwardness over just being, well, awkward, and infatuated/falling for the boys in her life. I thought the language and subject matter was appropriate for the age group - not too sophisticated but not at all dumbed down. And I knew that the author had to have experienced loss because some things you just can't describe that well if you've never been there. I thought Jessie was reading my mind sometimes when she talked about mourning someone she loved.
At this point, I am convinced that I would one-click dinosaur porn if Julie Buxbaum wrote it.
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.
Not worth it in my opinion.