This book is the book you should read if you want to feel lighthearted or if you want to be cheered up. This book can also be a cure for reading slump or a book hang-over from your previous read.
TITLE: Tell Me Three Things
AUTHOR: Julie Buxbaum
GENRE: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press
DATE READ: July 12, 2016
Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel whose characters will come to feel like friends. Tell Me Three Things will appeal to fans of Rainbow Rowell, Jennifer Niven, and E. Lockhart.
“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, New York Times bestselling author of Leaving Time and Off the Page
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?
A fresh and authentic YA Contemporary that will leave you a giddy feeling.
Tell Me Three Things is a book that made me smile. It’s a very light read and it left me with a lighthearted feeling that I haven’t felt for a long time. After finishing it I already miss the characters. I want to see how they’re doing right now because the end doesn’t conclude their story, you know that their lives would go on. It moved me and I see myself in Jessie’s head. This is the kind of book I wished I have read when I was sixteen when I’m out there trying to fit in the new environment I was plunged into.
Three things I love from this book:
1. The narration, I like how genuine and it didn’t feel pretentious at all. When you read this book, you could actually feel like you are Jessie or you could be Jessie’s best friend. I like how Julie Buxbaum wrote the story with a perfect balance. It didn’t feel rushed. It felt natural and authentic.
2. The characters, are all well written that you could resonate with all of them. And they didn’t feel fictional at all. It felt like they’re real people.
3. The message of the story, time heals everything. Wherever you are in this world or whatever you’re experiencing, it will end. And one day you’ll look back and pat yourself for not giving up.
The story revolves around Jessie Holmes, she just moved to L.A with her dad after her mom died. His dad remarried with a woman who also has a son and suddenly she needs to do all the adjusting. New school, new people to deal with and new family. She’s enrolled in a prestigious school in L.A. called Wood Valley High. One day, she receives an anonymous email from a boy/girl who also happens to study in her school. He/she offered to help her adjust in the new school and be a guide to everything she needs to know there. He/she is called Somebody Nobody or SN. With the whole high school drama, Jessie finds herself confiding to SN and vice versa. They tell everything to each other and feel comfortable with it. Basically the whole book is about how Jessie adjusts on her new life, the desire to meet SN, and also finding herself.
I like how this is one of the mysteries we try to solve with Jessie; who is SN? But I also like that it doesn’t just focus on that, the book deals with a whole lot of other things such as discovering your voice in this world, developing “real” friendship as a foundation of everything, and acceptance, that everything happens for a reason and we have to deal with it.
The premise looks typical but once you started reading, the story will echo in your mind.
I could actually relate with Jessie which made me like this book so much. In real life, we tend to limit to whom we would share the dose of our real selves. But once we’re online, we’re a whole new different persona, we are ourselves. We are more confident because the anonymity gives us freedom to show the real us. Maybe that’s what Jessie and SN thought when they’re talking each other online. They feel connected.
“Perfect days are for people with small, realizable 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.”
This book seemed like a typical one but once you get to it, you appreciate it more because everything felt real. I can really feel Jessie’s situation because we all have that moment in which we feel like we don’t belong anywhere. But there are times in which we feel like home is not just a place, it can also be a person. 🙂 Moving in L.A. when you got your whole life settled down in your old home in Chicago was really difficult. It’s not easy to adjust and gain friends. I want to make an in depth review about it but since this is a contemporary one and a light read, I’ll just discuss the things that I really liked and disliked on this book.
- Jessie and her relationship with her family.
I find this a real relevant issue. Not all families are perfect especially if you’re suddenly plunged in a new family. Jessie’s dad married Rachel, after her mom died. And what I liked about it is that they tried to mend the relationship even it’s slow. Especially Jessie’s dad, he is not a perfect father because he’s used to having his wife around to do things for him and Jessie, and guys, it’s really like in reality. We don’t always have perfect parents but that doesn’t mean that they will stay like that. I’m glad that toward the end of the book, he really tried to catch up with Jessie and tried to put himself on her shoes and be a real father. Jessie did that as well, she started to forgive her dad. I also liked that Jessie and Theo started to get along. I do not know when it started but it was really a good thing to see that Theo is starting to stand up for Jessie and Jessie doing the same. And also they opened up with each other and share stories they never thought they could actually say because even they aren’t blood related, they are now a family. As with Rachel, I’m glad that she’s trying too and I’m pretty sure they will really get along later on.
- The Friendship
One of the beauty this book has is the friendship. Jessie’s relationship with Scarlet is really a “friendship goal.” They tell everything to each other and care for each other more than anything else. When Jessie went to have a vacation in Chicago, I was afraid that Scar won’t be the same anymore. It’s really heart warming to see that they talked heart to heart about their issues and tried to resolved the awkwardness between them. Yes, it’s not just Jessie who has to deal with having no friends in her new town. It’s not just Jessie who has some problems, Scar also was left alone to deal with her own stuff. I’m glad that they remained as bff’s and that the world doesn’t just revolve around the two of them because they are also hanging out with new people. As for Ari and Agnes, I liked them too. I thought that when Liam confesses to Jessie, Adri would be freakin’ mad like the typical teenage angst. But no, she still supported Jessie all the way and told her that whatever happens, if ever Liam and Jessie would be in love, she’s fine with it because Jessie is her friend.
- The Mystery
Who is Somebody Nobody? That’s what’s driving me nuts the whole time. I like how Julie Buxbaum played with it well. She didn’t give a hint of foreshadowing because to be honest SN could be anybody else. Of course I never trusted that he’s Caleb. I thought he could be Liam, but like Jessie, I wished it was Ethan. I never knew it was Ethan not until that moment when Ari told Jessie that Ethan lost a brother before and that that night he told Jessie that he lied about one thing to her but the rest is pure honesty. Ethan told Jessie before that he lost a sister. That’s when I suspected he’s SN. But toward the end, when they’re about to meet, Liam showed up in the place LOL. I had this thought that okay maybe SN is really Liam, and since Jessie likes Ethan, she and SN would just remain friends. But then ETHAN SHOWED UP! I was like babababam! I like how Julie played this mystery around the book so well without sounding too obvious and dull. It’s really stirring!
JESSIE: She’s a very complicated and conflicted girl. And she has all the right to do because her situation made her like that. What I admire about Jessie is that she thinks for herself. She never tried to act heroic or tried to fit in the school she’s in, she continued wearing her Vans, her GAP clothes because why not. And I found her very real because come on, if we’re being bullied by a powerful kid in school, we don’t always find the courage to fight back right? Jessie did that, she never allowed Gem to have the privileged of seeing Jessie affected by what she does. But I just wished when Jessie was thrown in the floor by Gem, I wish at that moment she punched her. But that would make her a rebel kid and be a cause for her dad to worry more. I also liked that Jessie understood Scarlet’s plea that she also has a problem too and Jessie never asks about it. She reflected and admit her mistake. She contemplates alot in her mind and there are times in which she really speak up especially to Theo, maybe that’s what brought them closer. Jessie is the represntation of person with raw real human emotion and comical teenage girl.
SN/ETHAN: Ethan is Ethan is Ethan I loved Ethan. I both love him as SN or Ethan himself. At first, I thought he was really into memorizing poetry, but then we found out that he memorized it to impress Jessie (lol). He is not the common nerd at school because he is a guitarist in a band. And you know right, when you’re part of a band, you’re quite famous. I like that he’s also smart and he’s not like the other kids that’s famous and arrogant. He always listens to Jessie, always wanting to know what’s going on with her and he genuinely care about her. He sees right through her. He also played it well of not allowing Jessie to have a hint that he’s SN. It’s like both of them has two personalities. SN is open and bubbly, while Ethan is serious like a bitter coffee. I kind of miss him now. I really enjoyed their after school discussion of The Waste Land. And when Jessie told him that Liam might ask her out he said…
“I think you should say no.”
Simple response but straight to the point. Jealous much? ❤
LIAM: He’s the boy next door slash happy go lucky guy you would meet. He is kind and good and he never boasts. I just don’t know why he’s together with Gem. And maybe, he was also smitten by Jessie’s uniqueness which made him fall for her. I didn’t actually expect he would fall for her but he just did all of a sudden. I wish that he and Ari would find time to hang out and be together.
SCARLET, ARI, AND AGNES: The girl friends of Jessie that I really liked. Ari, is understanding and forgiving and she will literally tell you everything. Scarlet is like a mother figure and you will surely feel comfortable with her. Agnes is the straight to the point-frank girl but you’ll surely know that she’s honest and a true friend.
THEO: Theo is one of those kids that doesn’t give a f*ck to everything unless he really cares about something. At first, I thought he’s gonna be annoying ’til the end. He’s gay and I love how his dad accepted that and told him that whomever he choose to love, girl or boy, they would still love him. I like it when he started to stood up for Jessie and scolded Gem for being such an arse. And also when he picked up Jessie at the airport to update her with everything that had happened when she was in Chicago. I really want him as a brother too. He’s cool.
“Sometimes a kiss is not a kiss is not a kiss. Sometimes its poetry.” ❤
Romance wasn’t the strongest point of this book because I think friendship between our leads was greater. And I loved that, friendship being the foundation of everything. Toward the end of the book, we saw that they already liked each other more than friends, and we know that they’re slowly getting there. I like how none of it felt forced and how Ethan never forced himself to Jessie. It’e beautiful to see a friendship blossoming into love. I wish we could see it more but Julie ended the story with an open one so we could imagine the rest.
Julie Buxbaum’s style of writing is very refreshing. It felt natural and not too lyrical to the point that it would felt unreal. She wrote about the things that actually has the possibility to happen in real life. This book is written in Jessie’s perspective and I wish we get to know more about Ethan’s perspective. But that’s really okay because it really felt comfortable being in Jessie’s head. She’s not an annoying narrator and I really felt and resonate with her. Julie has this ability to make you feel like you are her character. Throughout reading the book, I felt like I was Jessie and what she says would be the echo of my own mind. It’s an amazing experience. I’ll be anticipating Julie’s future works and I wish I could meet her one day.
I really recommend it to anyone who wanted to feel relaxed because this book is very light read that will bring you smile. I rate it 4/5 anchors because it was a great read and it didn’t really had a heavy plot that will blow my mind but it was interesting overall. I enjoyed every bits of it.
What’s your all time favorite contemporary read? Let me know in the comments below!
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xoxo, Cheena Louisse