Book Review: TELL ME THREE THINGS by Julie Buxbaum

TELL ME THREE THINGS Is A Mystery That Will Leave You Smiling!

1) We have never read a Julie Buxbaum novel before Tell Me Three Things and now we’re going to need to read all of them.
2) Fans of contemporary YA romance are going to fall head over heels for the realistic characters, hilarious dialogue, and unexpected depth behind this novel.
3) There’s a story behind the adorable heart-shaped waffles on the cover and you absolutely need to know it.

Just in time for spring, author Julie Buxbaum is giving us a dose of hope, wonder, and surprise in her new novel, Tell Me Three Things!

Jessie is just learning how to get by following her mother’s death when her world is turned upside-down: Her father marries a new girlfriend Jessie didn’t even know about, a widow to his widower, and moves her from Chicago to Los Angeles. Now she has a stepmother she can’t talk to, a stepbrother who ignores her existence, and she’s been thrown into an intimidating LA private school called Wood Valley High School where she clearly doesn’t fit in and nobody cares about her.

That is, until Somebody/Nobody (SN for short,) an anonymous fellow student offering up advice and insider wisdom on Wood Valley, comes along.

Soon enough, SN and Jessie are chatting everyday. Though things aren’t magically perfect at school or at home, Jessie has a strong connection nearby that’s helping her through; an anonymous best friend. SN insists on keeping his or her identity secret, but Jessie can’t help wondering who it could be. Adri, the shy girl SN suggests Jessie befriend? Ethan, her popular and reluctant English class partner? Liam, the charismatic, guitar-playing co-worker? Theo, her blunt and angry new stepbrother? Or is it someone else completely, someone that Jessie hasn’t even taken the time to notice?

What Jessie doesn’t consider is that SN has secrets and truly, they may need a friend without any added judgment just as much as she does.

We’re not typically fans of books featuring lots of text messaging or other electronic communications, but it absolutely worked mixed in with the narration here. Jessie and SN typically chat through Google messaging but their conversations are so engaging that we never once blinked at it. More than their conversations, Jessie’s narration brought the story to another level. This is not an ungrateful, whiny character. Jessie’s plight feels genuine and understandable, her fears and reactions to her surroundings feel stunningly authentic. Despite the narration coming from her, Tell Me Three Things introduces us to a number of well-rounded characters with doubts and dreams who are affected by Jessie’s huge upheaval just as much as she is, so the story is never just all about her.

While there’s plenty of humanity in there, this story also bring teh cute! This novel is just stuffed with adorable and sometimes (understandably) awkward moments that fans of Stephanie Perkins and Jenny Han will love.

There were some minor quibbles in there– Particularly that the mystery of SN was pretty easy to solve and there were heavy hints that Jessie repeatedly missed (though the journey to Jessie’s discovery is still wonderful). Also, mean girl antagonists Gem and Crystal were a little too cookie-cutter in their “I’m practically a Barbie doll and I hate you because you’re new and different” ways. Still, those elements weren’t nearly enough to disengage us from a charming, honest story about change, coping, and rediscovery!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Tell Me Three Things hits shelves on April 5, 2016.

tell me three things julie buxbaum

By Molly

Molly is a proud Canadian who is currently attending university in Scotland. She loves to read, write, watch films, and talk about Sarah J. Maas books. If not snuggled up with a book, Molly can usually be found tapping at the dance studio, or writing yet another essay.

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