Review Detail

 
Young Adult Fiction
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0

Review: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

It all began with an email from SN offering guidance to our heroine Jessie Holmes in navigating the jungle that is Wood Valley High School. SN claims that for Jessie this place and these people are all new, but since he has spent all his life there, he is an expert. Jessie is the new kid in town who brought with her some baggage. Her baggage is that she lost her mother to cancer and her father remarried and moved them to a strange new place without even consulting her feelings about it. So Jessie is grief-stricken, angry, lost and alone all at the same time. She is an easy target but the girl is also sensible. At first, Jessie brushed off SN’s offer because she is aware that SN might be someone who is not what he is telling himself to be. What if SN is a mean girl playing a practical joke on her? Or an old pervy man pretending to be a teenage boy? But life in WVHS is proving to be a real challenge and exchanging funny witty emails with a stranger is a good distraction, so Jessie reluctantly accepted SN’s help.

Jessie’s loneliness on losing her mom is palpable in her thoughts. She counts the days it has been since her mother passed. She sees something and that something will always find a way to remind Jessie of her dead mom. The book is generous in dishing out Jessie’s grief and pain but she is not altogether a bleak character. People around Jessie sees her as someone strong because of the way she carries herself but the truth is (we know this because we are the privileged readers) she just tries so hard not to show any signs of giving up. She said it herself: she refuses to be “the sad girl”. I think a lot of readers will love Jessie’s character. I know I love her. She also loves books. She is a feminist. She is nice and fiercely loyal to people she cares about: her mom and her friends.

At the heart of the book is the connection formed between Jessie and SN. Soon Jessie and SN switched to IM-ing and started this tell-me-three-things game where they tell each other three things about themselves daily. Jessie starts to fall for SN and wants to see him in person but SN thinks it’s not a good idea. One of the book’s main storyline is Jessie deducing who SN is, a la Sherlock. I love the fun and fluff style element of mystery here. Jessie is a smart girl so it has been a wild ride following her around in her quest for SN’s identity. She suspects everybody, even her slightly evil stepbrother Theo or her new Wood Valley friend, Adrianna. Eventually there were three gorgeous boys left in the suspects’ line up and you guys--THE CHASE, THE ROMANCE--I JUST CAN’T WITH SWOON. I deliberately threw away all my bad personal experiences with virtual relationships and got carried away with the feels this book gives. Aaah, I cannot contain myself! I want to spill everything I know about SN! My feet is doing these little kicks in the air right now!

And it’s so,so much more than just swoon and romance. Because I can relate on this too well, I like how the book explores a lot on the absurdity of virtual relationships: how your personality on screen is the filtered and edited version of yourself in person, how it’s sometimes easier to type and say things behind the screen, how sometimes you continue texting with a distant friend without knowing that your relationship is starting to fall apart. It also touched on our human need to be actually seen, especially teenagers. It’s great that not only did the book made Jessie acknowledge that she wants and deserves attention from her peers or from her dad, the other characters are also shown in this light, too: Theo, Adrianna, her bestfriend in Chicago Scarlett, even SN.

Good Points
- tackles grief of losing a parent with realness
- absorbing teen romance with a dash of detective mystery
- explores virtual relationship which is timely with this day and age
Was this review helpful to you? 

Comments

 
 
Ordering 
 
Already have an account? or Create an account
 
 
 
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Summer Bird Blue
A mixed race teen struggles to find her way back...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Starfish
A William C. Morris Award Finalist A New...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Truth Lies Here
In small town Michigan, Penny, an aspiring journalist, teams...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Looking Glass
GIRLS IN TROUBLE. That’s what Sylvie Blake’s older sister...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Something of Substance
Seventeen-year-old Grace Michaels is determined to be thin, even...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Death by the River
SOME TRUTHS ARE BETTER KEPT SECRET. SOME SECRETS...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Soraya: A Wielders of Arantha Prequel
On the planet Elystra, the all-female Ixtrayu tribe have...
 
5.0 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
Scream All Night
A darkly hilarious contemporary realistic young adult novel about...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A Touch of Gold
King Midas once had the ability to turn all...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Meet the Sky
From award-winning author McCall Hoyle comes a new young adult...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
A Dog in King Arthur’s Court (Cavall in Camelot #1)
In Camelot, King Arthur’s dog encounters a world of danger...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Fray
She's been trained for battle but is she ready for...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Emergence (Kindred Ties: Book Two)
The fight for order has only just begun… Fletcher, Ariana...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
All Summer Long.jpg
A coming-of-age middle-grade graphic novel about summer and friendships, written...
 
0.0
 
4.0 (1)
They Say Blue
Caldecott and Printz Honor-winning illustrator Jillian Tamaki brings us a...
 
0.0
 
4.0 (1)
Lady Knight (Crystal Journals) Book 3
Shortlisted 2018-19 "Chocolate Lily Book Award"... ...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

The Truth Lies Here
 
4.0
"THE TRUTH LIES HERE by Lindsey Klingele is a young adult, sci-fi novel set in Bone Lake, Michigan. This little..."
Scream All Night
 
5.0
"I am NOT a Horror fan. I am a big scaredy cat when it comes to the genre, be it..."
Meet the Sky
 
4.3
"Meet the Sky is an ably-written, well-paced contemporary YA—one which is perhaps best described as a pleasantly stormy beach read...."
A Touch of Gold
 
4.0
"When I read the synopsis for this book I was immediately intrigued. I love retellings and this book seemed right..."
Pretty Dead Girls
 
3.0
""Pretty Dead Girls" was an interesting YA thriller following Penelope (Pen/Penny) in the aftermath of a death of a frenemy,..."
Relic
 
4.0
" “Relic” is a historical paranormal novel about Maggie, a teenaged girl who lives with her brother, sister and parents..."
All Summer Long
 
4.0
" Austin and Bina have been inseparable friends since they were in diapers. The summer going into the eighth..."
The Darkest Legacy
 
4.3
"Five years have passed since the 'rehabilitation' camps have been shut down. Suzume 'Zu' is now seventeen years old and..."
The Turnaway Girls
 
3.7
"Delphernia lives in a cloister of turnaway girls on the island of Blightsend, and she's unable to do the one..."
The Looking Glass
 
4.0
"THE LOOKING GLASS by Janet McNally is a young adult novel set in the highly competitive world of aspiring New..."
Brightly Burning
 
3.3
"An ambitious work of YA speculative fiction—a post-apocalyptic premise fused with the plot of a beloved classic. I’d like..."
Give Me Some Truth
 
4.3
"Carson Mastick and Magpie "Maggi" Bokoni are two Native American high school students living on a reservation outside of Niagara..."
House of Ash
 
5.0
"I’m just going to go ahead and say it. I LOVED THIS BOOK. I absolutely devoured it from start to..."
Airports, Exes, and Other Things I'm Over
 
4.7
"'Airports, Exes, and Other Things I'm Over' by Shani Petroff captures the angst of romantic hardships and misunderstandings. When eighteen-year-old..."
The Opposite of Innocent
 
5.0
"'The Opposite of Innocent' is yet another fantastic novel-in-verse by the illustrious Sonya Sones. The story will draw readers in..."
Echo's Sister
 
5.0
"'Echo's Sister' by Paul Mosier is a realistic and heartwarming story that truly gets to the heart of the matter...."
Storm-Wake
 
3.3
"Moss has grown up on a magical island with Pa, his stories, and their dogs. The island is filled with..."
A Kiss in the Dark
 
3.3
"WHAT I LOVED: Macy is a likable, layered character and her narration flows easily. Even when my frustration mounted..."
Poe: Stories and Poems
 
5.0
"The perfect gift for any Poe fan, Gareth Hinds breathes life—and gory death—into some of the greatest works of Edgar..."
Who's That Girl
 
4.0
"I was drawn to this book because of the musical theme and it wasn’t disappointing. Who’s that girl is a..."