Title: Tell Me Three Things
Author: Julie Buxbaum
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: April 5th 2016
Julie Buxbaum’s Tell Me Three Things is a contemporary novel that begs to be read, with a mystery at its center and a girl still trying to recover from her mother’s passing. Moving across the county to L.A. from Chicago is quite the culture shock for Jessie Holmes. She already feels out of place in her new house with her father’s new wife and her son, but at her new school, where friendly faces are almost nonexistent, Jessie begins to feel very much alone. When a mysterious email arrives in her inbox from someone calling themselves Somebody Nobody, she’d like to dismiss the whole thing as some kind of prank, but life isn’t getting an easier and talking to someone like SN, who gets how hard it’s been for her to adjust, feels promising in a year full of disappointments.
A lot of the story focuses on Jessie’s home life. Though it’s been two years since her mother died, Jessie still feels the loss every day. It’s difficult for her to understand her father’s choice in a new wife, one wholly unlike her father and more especially, unlike her mother. There is a lot of tension between Jessie and her father, their relationship strains with this new move and neither realizes the full impact the change has had on the other. Jessie’s new stepmother Rachel and stepbrother Theo are also trying to figure out how all the pieces of this new family fit together. Not all the issues between these four characters are resolved by the end of the novel, but they do take those necessary steps needed on their way to figuring out how to blend two different families together.
There are many characters that Jessie grows close to over the course of the novel. I don’t want to give too much away, as a lot of the fun from reading this novel comes from trying to figure out, along with Jessie, who her mysterious penpal is. I really enjoyed seeing the evolution of this online relationship as well as the friendships she builds with her peers. Aside from a couple of characters, Buxbaum really takes the time to show readers that many of the people Jessie meets are more than her first impression of them. Even her best friend Scarlett has a chance to be more than the cliché best friend who only makes an appearance when the protagonist is in need of a word of advice.
With a number of laugh-out-loud moments, awkward scenes that will have you cringing from secondhand embarrassment, and an ending that feels truly satisfying, Tell Me Three Things is a book you don’t want to miss.