Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Sunday, September 4, 2016

Plot Summary:
After losing her mother unexpectedly, Jessie's father remarried, sold their home in Chicago, and moved them across country to live with Rachel and Theo, her new family. Although Rachel, her father's new wife, is trying to make things work, Theo, her stepbrother, isn't having any of it and ignores Jessie even on her first day of school. What was a tough day, it gets even stranger when she gets an email from a person named "Somebody Nobody" offering her advice on how to navigate Wood Valley High School and who to avoid. Although Jessie isn't sure why this person would want to help her, she trusts this stranger and they develop a rather peculiar and sweet friendship. Although SN (Somebody Nobody) wants to remain anonymous, Jessie is also creating new friendships of her own and even catches the eye of super popular, Ethan. However, Jessie is also on the radar of Gem and Crystal who are not only the most popular girls in school, but also the meanest. Despite having to start over again, Jessie tries to keep a low profile, and out of Rachel's house, so she decides to look for a part-time job. Ironically, the book store she works in is owned by the parents of another super popular boy named Liam, who will eventually cause Jessie a whole new set of problems. Miles away from Scarlet (her best friend), and distant from her father, the only person Jessie can rely is SN, but who is SN and why do they care so much about her. In this funny and poignant story, Jessie is forced to deal with her grief while trying to start all over again one day at a time. 

Critical Evaluation:
I can honestly say I didn't expect a lot from this book, but WOW was I surprised. Jessie, unfortunately, was hit with way too much stuff that no human being should ever have to face at sixteen years old. What was even more aggravating is that her father thought it was in her best interest to start all over again in a different state without even asking her. Although the same could be said for Rachel, Theo's mom, what readers need to realize is that grief can make people do things that aren't always rational, but, at the same time, Rachel and Jessie's father, needed each other in order to cope with their loss. What this book does so well is teach us how debilitating and ugly grief can be when we lose someone we love, but, at the same time, shows us the beauty of hope, forgiveness, and love. I can honestly say that I thought the SN/Jessie conversations were a little creepy at first, I eventually learned to love them because SN became someone that Jessie could rely on when she needed someone to listen. I think all of us need an SN because we sometimes need someone to help us forget our problems and just talk. Although SN identity was a little on the predictable side, once you get half way through the book, I am glad the author didn't throw us for a loop and I LOVED the last line of " But sometimes a kiss not a kiss is not a kiss. Sometimes it's poetry." 

Information about the Author:
According to the author's website:
Julie Buxbaum is the New York Times best selling author of Tell Me Three Things, her young adult debut, and the critically acclaimed novels The Opposite of Love and After You.  Her work has been translated into twenty-five languages. Julie’s writing has appeared in various publications, including The New York Times. She is a former lawyer and graduate of Harvard Law School and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two young children, and an immortal goldfish. Visit Julie online at and follow @juliebux on Twitter.

Teen Contemporary Fictions, Teen Issues, Teen Romance

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 9 & up

Books Similar to Tell Me Three Things:
  • Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon
  • Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schnieder
  • When We Collided by Emery Lord
Awards & Recognition:

"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, NYT bestselling author of LEAVING TIME and OFF THE PAGE.

"Here are three things about this book: (1) It's sweet and funny and romantic; (2) the mystery at the heart of the story will keep you turning the pages; (3) I have a feeling you'll be very happy you read it."—Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
"The desire to find out whether Jessie's real-life and virtual crushes are one and the same will keep [readers] turning the pages as quickly as possible."--Publishers Weekly, Starred

"A heartfelt, wryly perceptive account of coming to terms with irrevocable loss when life itself means inevitable change."—Kirkus Reviews
"Buxbaum's debut is hard to put down because of its smooth and captivating text. The addition of virtual conversations through email and chatting adds to the exciting plot twist."--SLJ

"Buxbaum adds layered plotlines about grief, family, and the confusion and hardships of growing up, all with a touch of humor and romance. A solid YA debut."--Booklist

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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