Book Review | Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Published by Delacorte Press on April 5, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Format: ARC

Pages: 336

Source: Giveaway


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?

Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel filled with characters who will come to feel like friends.


Young adult contemporary novels are definitely one of my favorite genres to read, especially in the summer months. I absolutely loved the synopsis of Tell Me Three Things, and was beyond excited when I won a giveaway for a copy of the book. The story follows teenager Jessie as she starts at a new school. Her father recently remarried, and Jessie has to deal with moving across the country all while she is still coping with the death of her mother. Jessie begins receiving anonymous emails from a Somebody Nobody (SN) with advice on how to navigate her new high school, and she needs to decide whether to trust this mysterious person.

I really enjoyed my read of Tell Me Three Things. The story idea is a lot of fun, especially Jessie’s emails with SN. Unfortunately, I found the story to be extremely predictable. I knew who SN was the first time we meet him in the book, but I was still glad for Jessie to discover who he is. I also felt like Jessie trusted SN much quicker than she should have. At first she is quite hesitant, but then she suddenly begins texting him personal information. I wish we saw SN gain Jessie’s trust a bit more.

Moreover, I think the author does an excellent job of writing the high school experience, as it was done in a very realistic way. Bullying does play a role in the book, and I think it was handled really well. In addition, we see Jessie struggling to keep the relationship with her best friend from home alive all while making friends at her new school. Overall, Buxbaum handles high school culture well, and I think any reader of this book will notice and appreciate that.

My favorite part of Tell Me Three Things is definitely the relationships Jessie has with the people in her life, and how they grow and change over time. Jessie’s familial relationships with her dad, stepmom, and stepbrother all evolve over the course of the novel, and so do Jessie’s friendships. Of course, Jessie gets herself in some romantic situations as well. I loved seeing how she related to all the other characters.

All in all, Tell Me Three Things is a quick and enjoyable read, and one that I recommend if you like contemporary stories. While I do wish it wasn’t as predictable, I think the story is so cute and heartwarming. I will definitely keep my eye on any books that Buxbaum publishes in the future!


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