5 min read ⌚
Let us tell you three things about “Tell Me Three Things”:
#1. The debut YA novel by Julie Buxbaum, the book was a critically acclaimed “New York Times” bestseller;
#2. The novel is a “perfect mix of comedy and tragedy, love and loss, and pain and elation”;
#3. It has one of the cutest and most adorable endings of a YA novel ever!
So, let’s go!
Who Should Read “Tell Me Three Things”? And Why?
Have you ever watched “You’ve Got Mail,” one of those adorable Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan romantic comedies?
Or, in case (somewhat like us) you enjoy your old Hollywood icons better, “The Shop Around the Corner” starring James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan?
Well, “Tell Me Three Things” is, more or less, built around the same premise – in a YA Californian version.
If you are a fan of authors such as Jennifer Niven, Rainbow Rowell, and E. Lockhart, or Stephanie Perkins, Nicola Yoon, and Jenny Han – you should definitely give this book a try.
Julie Buxbaum Biography
Julie Buxbaum is an LA-based “New York Times” bestselling author.
She has written four books so far, the critically acclaimed “The Opposite of Love” and “After You,” and the ultra-popular YA novels, “Tell Me Three Things” and “What to Say Next.”
Find out more at http://www.juliebuxbaum.com/
Jessie Holmes is 16 years old, and she has just moved from Chicago to California with her father.
To be more precise – since Jessie kind of is – it has been exactly 30 days since the relocation.
Which only happened because 15 days before that her father decided to elope with a woman he had met on the Internet.
And that happened about 688 days after his wife – and Jessie’s mother – died from cancer!
So, in a nutshell, too many traumas for anyone to bear – let alone a 16-year-old girl, who, on top of this all, doesn’t even have someone – anyone – to share her pain and anger with!
She did have someone until recently: Scarlett, her half Jewish, half Korean “all-time best friend for life” with whom she shared a lot more than a million get-togethers at DeLucci’s Pizza and a mutual hatred for a certain Deena back in Chicago.
But, somehow, even this relationship doesn’t work that well at a distance.
You know what else doesn’t work well?
Not only is Jessie now living with a recently widowed woman her father wants to replace her beloved mother with, but she is obliged to call this Rachel her “stepmother”!
And this “step-monster” – Jessie’s word, not ours – has a gay son called Theo who misses his father as much as Jessie misses her mother; so, Jessie doesn’t get along that well with him too.
But, wait… there’s more:
Her stepmother enrolls Jessie at a fancy hotshot school called Wood Valley High School (WVHS), which is way out of Jessie’s league – something she recognizes on her very first day there.
But then – something happens.
Jessie receives an anonymous email from a certain person who calls himself Somebody Nobody who offers himself to be her virtual “Wood Valley H.S. spirit guide”:
I have been watching you at school. not in a creepy way. though I wonder if even using the word “creepy” by definition makes me creepy? anyhow, it’s just . . . you intrigue me. you must have noticed already that our school is a wasteland of mostly blond, vacant-eyed Barbies and Kens, and something about you—not just your newness… — but something about the way you move and talk and actually don’t talk but watch all of us like we are part of some bizarre National Geographic documentary makes me think that you might be different from all the other idiots at school.
Against her gut – out of both desperation and hope – Jessie replies, and, soon enough, she starts regularly exchanging emails with this shy and obviously fairly smart SN.
The MO is always the same: SN and J start their correspondence by telling each other three things. In time, Jessie learns that SN can understand her better than many because he has experienced a loss as well – 196 days ago.
SN recommends Jessie that she befriend Adrianna Sanchez (or “Dri” for short) because he feels like Dri and Jessie can become good friends. This SN seems a great judge of character since Dri and Jessie do become good friends.
However, most of the Barbies at WVHS are the total opposites of Dri and the reason why movies like “Mean Girls” seem too real-life to be considered a parody. One of them, Gem, is evil personified and she becomes Jessie’s bully and tormentor.
Fortunately for Jennie, even though the Barbies don’t like her, the Kens seem to share SN’s interest in her.
Which, strangely enough, in time becomes a great problem, since Jessie really likes (messaging with) SN but has no idea who he is in real life.
There are three possible candidates:
Ethan, a smart and handsome Batman-shirt-wearing blue-eyed dark-haired nerd who goes to some of her classes and with whom she is paired up for a poetry project (ironically, T. S. Eliot’s “Waste Land”);
Liam, the lead vocalist of the band Oville where Ethan plays the guitar; also, the son of the owner of “Book Out Below” where Jessie gets a part-time job;
Finally, Caleb, the first boy Jessie meets after arriving at WVHS and someone who, coincidentally, seems to be texting every time Jessie receives a message from SN.
It can be either one of these three, but, as time goes by, Jessie sets her mind more and more upon only one of them.
Tell Me Three Things Epilogue
Jessie has a hard time combining school with work and after some time decides to take a break, and she goes back to Chicago to see Scarlett once again.
To her surprise, Adam, Jessie’s ex-boyfriend, is now Scarlett’s partner and, to her absolute amazement, Deena has become Scarlett’s best friend!
They settle things out, but somehow Jessie is not that unwilling to leave Chicago this time.
She gets the best possible inspiration she can ever get: a message from SN telling her that he wants to meet her at IHOP!
Is it Ethan?
Well, this is how things unfold at the very end:
“I want to kiss you, like, very much, please,” the secretive guy says to Jessie.
“You do?”, Jessie asks.
“I do,” he answers and soon everything falls away.
It is just him and me, Ethan is Ethan is Ethan and Jessie is Jessie is Jessie, and his lips touch mine.
But sometimes a kiss is not a kiss is not a kiss. Sometimes it’s poetry.
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“Tell Me Three Things PDF Quotes”
Our Critical Review
Jodi Picoult has three things to tell you 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.
And we have just one thing to add: we would have written the same had we been as eloquent and as creative as Jodi!