[633]: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum


Tell Me Three Things

by Julie Buxbaum

I love and hate this book in equal measure. It is a dangerous book to read because it has the ability to put you in a deep reading rut. I feel like I should apologize to The Raven King because I can barely get through its first hundred pages; which is a damn shame because I’ve been waiting forever and a day to read it. Needless to say, I haven’t been able to finish a single book since finishing this one. And for the life of me, I just can’t move on. Depending on the type of reader you are, Tell Me Three Things can be hazardous to the health of your TBR pile. It’s either going to reaffirm your love for the written word or as in my case, it will stunt your reading groove.

Truthfully, I’m envious of those who haven’t discovered the sweetness of Tell Me Three Things. The romance, the characters, the storyline, and the dialogues – everything about it is a reminder of why I can never stop reading YA. Some books with a high school setting typically have the opposite effect on me. Most of the time, I can barely tolerate it. But this book exemplifies the type of contemporary YA I will keep coming back to.

It features a couple of characters who are adorably awkward in their own ways; the loss of their loved ones contributed to them being socially stunted – introverts, in their own respects. Somebody Nobody, for one, was living a double life. His other persona, though gregarious on the surface, was a reluctant participant in the social hierarchy in which he occupies a closer to the top wrung. He shies away from it which makes him a novelty and irresistible to girls and boys alike.

In contrast, Jesse stumbled on pretty much every facet of her new life. Having recently lost her mother and her dad consequently marrying almost soon after, her new life in Los Angeles is a far cry from the comfort of Chicago. She lives in a mansion. She goes to a prestigious school where everyone is practically a typical Californian. To top it off, she has a stepbrother who would rather forget that they ever existed. The only saving grace that stopped  her from running back to Chicago was the correspondence from an online good Samaritan who felt the need to befriend her, albeit, anonymously. Somebody Nobody gave her guidance and tutelage with regards to the working annals of her new school.

Though the author did her best to give us viable suspects on the identity of SN, I half-expected, half-hoped who he was. The contenders gave me pause, made me think of the possibility at least.  There’s Liam who was responsible for her part-time job at the bookstore his family owns; Caleb – the all around goofball and friend to Liam. Then there’s Ethan – a loner, aloof, an enigma with a predilection to Batman t-shirts. I loved “trying” to solve the identity of SN. Let me tell you that it’s not going to take you long before you catch on. But the mystery is just gravy, in my opinion.

Indeed, this book is a mine of story niches. It’s lovely and touching; funny and smart. I love watching Jess figure out how to navigate her new life despite grieving for her mother and dealing with abandonment issues from her father. I love watching her slowly accept the reality of having a step family. I eventually loved her step brother whom, when push came to shove, would protect her from the token Mean Girls of the school. Characters, even secondary ones, grew on me. They made me laugh and made me grin like a fool at inopportune moments. I especially adore Jesse’s interactions with “my suspect”.

Once in a while, I find a book like this that becomes an instant favorite within a couple of chapters into reading it. It’s in the way the story is constructed; the characters imagined. It’s in the ease in which I fall helplessly in love with everything that’s unfolding before me. And once in a while, there’s a book like this that makes me lose my appetite for everything else on my shelves. For that reason, I almost wish I never read the book in the first place. Almost, but not quite.

  • I hadn’t heard of this one before, but it definitely sounds like you really found a contemporary YA that resonated with you! I sometimes feel the same as well with high school drama and a setting that I can no longer relate to, but it sounds like the characters here are done really well. I like the sound of the mystery as well. Lovely review Joy!

  • This was a really great review, Joy! And I’m glad that you’ve found a book that reminds why why you love YA. I know it can sometimes feel like you’re reading the same of everything, and you can get into a run of bad books and that can just make *me* really dispassionate, but then you read books that show you just how amazing and perfectly marvellous books can be. And whilst book hangovers and slumps aren’t the best thing, especially for book lovers like us, I think they might just be worth it, when you’ve been able to read a true gem that has made you feel like this one has. And of course that’s not to say they’re always without fault, and sometimes they put you back on track with other books, rather than leave you unable to read anything else, but sometimes I think it just works like this. And for a week or two nothing else compares.

    I hope you don’t have a slump for too long, though! Here’s to more brilliant books! Lovely review, Joy. I hope you feel like this slump was truly worth it. Maybe you could do a reread, if it lingers for too long. x

  • So, I really think I need to read this. Sounds so good. I swear my Kindles are going to cry “Uncle” one of these days! Thanks for the recommendation:)

  • Well hell, I guess another YA contemporary is getting a spot on my TBR.

  • Jazmen

    I heard the same thing from another blogger. I have to check this one out, soon!

  • Woop! I’m so glad you enjoyed this book, despite the reading slump you’re now in. Maybe go for something light and trashy, or crime thriller, to help get you out the book hangover? I just loved the personality of SN as shown in his emails – it was delightful. And Theo growing into a caring stepbrother was also one of my favourite parts. <3

  • Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this, Joy! It was such a pleasant surprise and truly deserves more attention because it’s a wonderful book. I can’t wait to see what this author writes next and I’m thrilled to see that you loved this just as much as I did, if not more. 🙂

  • TRK will understand. I felt this with with Down With The Shine. It’s a good thing to be so affected, we read so much and probably have read every trope, theme, story there is that when we encounter a super moving book it’s gold.

    Enjoy your book hangover, I hope you find your “hair of the dog” soon

  • shootingstarsmag

    Wonderful review! I do really like YA, but some books are a bit too “high school” for me. I’m really glad to hear you loved this one! It sounds quite good. 🙂


  • I haven’t read a great high-school novel in a very long time, and this one sounds very similar to Gossip Girl, just without the gossip and girl drama. It kind of oddly reminds me of ‘A Cinderella Story’, which was my favourite film when I was younger. Very fond memories 🙂 I think I might give this a go, I been avoiding YA high-school stories lately as they tend to stick to a theme of bullying and depression, and my heart can only taken so much of these books 🙁

  • I do not like YA (the high school years were not fun, and I have no desire to revisit!), but everyone is raving about this book. I may need to give it a try! Sounds like one hell of a read!

  • This book sounds perfect for me. I definitely needs to get my hands on it!

  • I’ve added it even before I started replying. This is the book I’ve been waiting for Joy. A witty and smart contemporary with real heart and substance. i typically love these types of books anyway. I think even as unrealistic as the dialogue between characters can be, having that online support can also be empowering and considering teens today live so much of their lives online, complately relevant as well. I’m so excited to grab a copy, but sorry to hear it’s put you in a bit of a funk. Incredible reads have the tendancy to ruin us for all other books afterwards Lovely review Joy, really enjoyed it <3

  • Ahhh 😀 So happy that you loved this book so much sweet girl. <3 Your review of it is gorgeous. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts 🙂 I mostly have bad experiences with this genre, lol, so I'm not ready to try this one just yet. But one day, I hope 😀 Especially since you loved it so much. <3 But gosh. It gave you a huge book hangover. HOW MEAN. I hope it will get better 🙂

  • I don’t know why, but I had not even heard about this one before now. I had to go to Goodreads and there are so many rave reviews. I do trust yours as well, so I will have to add this one to my ever growing TBR. Ugh, I really need to stop reading your reviews. It’s murder on the TBR! 🙂

  • I tried this with such high hopes but have never been a fan of stories told in emails, etc. Also, I just didn’t think a teenage boy would write these elaborate emails. It’s really the epistolary thing, though. I am always the black sheep on books like this. But glad you loved it and thanks for encouraging me to give it a try.
    Jen @ YA Romantics

  • kindlemom1

    I’ve seen some mixed reviews for this and wasn’t sure if I wanted to take a chance on it but after reading this, I think I will. Wonderful review Joy!

  • Awesome review Joy! You make me super interested in picking up a copy. I love the sound of SN and need to see the cute interactions!
    I hope you get out of your rut soon 😉

  • Jenny @ Supernatural Snark

    YAY!!!! I got this one as part of a tour and I had absolutely zero expectations for it, but I was so impressed when I cracked the spine! It pulled me out of a massive reading rut and actually made me stay up late to finish it – something I hadn’t done in months. So glad it was that kind of read for you as well Joy!!!!!

  • I keep on telling myself that I need to read this. It sounds like a lovely read and possibly my type of contemporary story. I’d still need to get my hands on a copy though. Great review, Joy! 🙂

  • Great review. I’m really glad that you enjoyed it. It does suck when you read a book so good that nothing can compare and it takes you a while to get into another book. I hope it doesn’t last too long.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

  • Wonderful review!! I agree, this book was perfect in so many ways. I don’t normally read YA, but I’m so glad I read this one. I’m sorry it put you in a book slump, but I’m not sorry you read it!

  • Melliane

    It’s great when you find a book like that that makes yo remember why you love the genre so much

  • I’m glad you had such luck with this one. I had already read many books with the same themes and that were better portrayed. I also struggled with it because it was so hyped. Every review I saw was a 5 stars review and I built it up as this amazing book and it let me down.
    Anyways, I’m sorry this put you in a book slump, but I’m glad you liked it so much! 🙂

  • I would wonder too and trying to figure it out 😀

  • Oh wow Joy! This sounds like a fabulous read! For you to like it so much you don’t want to read anything else right now. Beautiful review!

  • And there you have it. The review that has me putting this book on my TBR list. It sounds like one which can break you and build you up at the same time. Beautifully written with the characters each hurting in their own way, dealing with haphazard lives and trying to find comfort in anonymity (which leads to the guessing game)… all of this combined has me hooked. Brilliant review, Joy.

  • This is the 3rd glowing review I’ve read of this book by trusted blogger friends. I think I must read it even if I don’t gravitate to YA hardly ever anymore. I think it will be pretty hard for me to forgive her dad, though. He sounds very selfish. I already have a suspect in mind from your descriptions of potentials. 🙂 I have this on hold for an audio copy from the library. Lovely review, Joy! 🙂