Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Title: Tell Me Three Things
Author: Julie Buxbaum
Series: stand-alone
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: April 15, 2016
Source: ARC received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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What if the person you need the most is someone you’ve never met?

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.

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago—the closest place she has to something like home—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?

The thing is, Jessie does need 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 in LA 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?

There is seriously so much I loved about this novel, but here's the requisite three: 1) It's snarky and funny and kept me laughing throughout; 2) You'll want to read it straight through to see if your guess about Somebody/Nobody is correct (mine was, btw :D); 3) It was huge cheesy grin on my face the whole time I was reading adorable and I'm so glad I gave it a chance. Need another list? Okay, fine. Three things you're going to want after reading this book: waffles, coffee, and a secret pen pal of your own. =)

I absolutely adored Jessie and her self-deprecating humor. She had such a great narrative voice, sarcastic but raw with grief at losing her mother and having her whole world turned upside-down. As much fun as this novel was to read, it was also an emotional journey for the characters.

Here's the thing: I really thought this was supposed to be about the step siblings falling for each other. I thought I read that somewhere (?), so I expected it, but I promise you, that weirdness doesn't happen, though I have enjoyed that premise in other books. Her stepbrother is actually gay and kind of a douche to her at first, but by the end, I really wanted there to have been more of Theo in the book. He ended up really stepping up to his role, and I like the bond that formed between him and Jessie.

Honestly, I enjoyed all of the relationships that developed in this novel…and those that were mended. Jessie has a lot going on in her life, and she sometimes forgets that others have their own issues, but they don't let her forget. But I also thought it was awesome that in the process of repairing some of her relationships, she allows herself to be angry and feel all the things she's kept bottled up for months.

Her "conversations" with Somebody/Nobody were the one bright spot in an otherwise difficult existence for Jessie, at least in the beginning. I have to admit, I had to stay my hand several times to keep from going straight to the end to find out if I was right about SN's identity. It was obvious that they had a lot in common, that there was an almost immediate connection there, and I was really rooting for a romance with whomever this super nice, super funny and completely intriguing guy was, especially since I was pretty sure I knew who he was from the get-go.

But then there were two other guys who posed a threat as potential love interests: one I was feeling the lurve for and one not so much. Things get a little confusing toward the end with all of the feelings going around, and I have to admit I wanted to shake some sense into Jessie as she tried to figure out just who SN was, especially since as the story progressed, it seemed increasingly obvious who he was. But knowing never kept me from enjoying the story for what it was. In fact, as frustrating as it was at times, it was still more fun to read as Jessie made her guesses.

This is Julie Buxbaum's YA debut novel, so it's the first I've read of her work, but it definitely won't be the last. It's made me want to check out her adult novels, too. When I finished this book, I felt much like I did after The Anatomical Shape of a Heart, like I'd read a legitimate young adult novel that encompassed everything I remember from those difficult teenage years -- otherwise known as high school -- without being cliché. It's quirky, it's funny, and it's real…and I absolutely recommend it.

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

I was born in 1977, and spent my childhood in Rockland County, New York, where there were some happy years, more awkward ones, and multiple forays into the regrettable world of perms and spray up bangs. After high school, I attended the University of Pennsylvania, where I studied Political Science, Philosophy, and Economics. To this day, I am not sure why I picked PPE, other than the fact that I have always been a sucker for a good deal, and it sounded a lot like three for the price of one. As a result, I know very little about a lot, which tends to come in handy only at cocktail parties, and even then, maybe once every two years.

During college, I worked as a technician for a sleep deprivation study, which until becoming a writer, was the best gig I ever had. Basically, I got paid to attach electrodes to people’s heads and then to keep them awake for an absurd number of hours with the well-practiced art of inane babbling. My time was well spent though: the study ultimately proved that when people don’t sleep for long periods of time they get—wait for it—very, very tired.

Directly after college, I attended Harvard Law School. After my first Boston winter, though, in a quest for warmer weather, I spent the summer interning at the US Attorney’s Office in Honolulu. There, I did research to help bust a fake I.D. ring, an assignment that let’s just say still makes me feel a little hypocritical and guilty.

After graduation, I moved to New York to work as a litigator at a large law firm, where I spent two long winters, and many, many hours working in the MetLife building. When I realized I had not seen sunlight in almost seven hundred and thirty days, I asked to be transferred to their Los Angeles office, which upon seeing my pale and desperate face, they kindly obliged. I eventually moved to a much smaller firm, but shortly thereafter realized that maybe I wasn’t cut out for the whole lawyer thing. As part of a New Year’s resolution, I quit my job, downsized my life, and went to work immediately on The Opposite of Love.

I have not looked back since. Well, except to write this bio.

Find Julie:

WebsiteTwitter | FacebookGoodreads


  1. OH gosh. You are waaay ahead of the game with this book. I don't blame you though. :D

  2. Oh I was just looking at this book earlier (again)! I am a complete sucker for penpals/secret penpals/mystery letter writing people, etc.

    The fact that you mentioned having similar feelings towards it as you did An Atomical Shape of A HEart makes me completely die for this book. I've been really interested in reading that book as well (like, really).

    I'm so glad you loved this so much! I love seeing relationships unfold through writing or the internet. <3 And I love books that are real and make me laugh.

    Great review!


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