Tell Me Three Things Review: (1) Adorable, (2) Grief and Family, (3) WAFFLES

December 7, 2016 by Jenna | 4 stars, Books, Reviews

Tell Me Three Things Review: (1) Adorable, (2) Grief and Family, (3) WAFFLESTell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
Published by Delacorte Press on April 5th 2016
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Barnes & Noble
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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.

Tell Me Three Things is a contemporary novel with not only an adorable romance, but some great family elements too. The story begins when our main character, Jessie, receives an email from a mystery person called Somebody/Nobody (or SN for short). Jessie has just moved from Chicago to California, where she feels completely out of her element because of the lavish lifestyle that all of her classmates and her new stepfamily indulge in. When SN, a mystery student from her new high school, offers to be her anonymous guide to her school, Jessie accepts and the story goes from there. Now, let me tell you three things about the book.


1. Mystery

Tell Me Three Things has a mystery aspect to it. The identity of Jessie’s anonymous emailer is a mystery from the beginning of the book until the very end. The reader, along with Jessie, spends the entire book trying to guess who this secret emailer is and trying to match them up with a number of different boys that are featured in the story. While it wasn’t super predictable (it was only kind of predictable), I managed to guess who SN was quite early in the book. However, knowing who SN is early on in the book doesn’t detract from the story at all and I really enjoyed the entire plot and how Jessie went about trying to find out who SN was. I liked the ‘tell me three things’ aspect of the book where Jessie and SN constantly share facts about themselves with each other. It was a really fast-paced book and the mystery aspect of it kept me in the story and made it a fun reading experience.

2. Romance

I was a big fan of the romance in the book. There was a very slight aspect of insta-love (or at least insta-attraction) but I thought it ended up developing at a nice pace. There are a few different guys in the story who all feature at some point as ‘love interests’, which I’m not usually a fan of but I thought it really worked considering the mystery of SN that was at the centre of the story. The romance was extremely adorable and if you’re looking for a feel-good contemporary read, this one is perfect because it is not only super cute but also really fast-paced.

3. Family and friendship elements

I really liked the balance between romantic elements and family/friendship elements. I thought the side characters were really great and they made me want to know their story. In the background of everything that is happening with Jessie at her new school is a story of grief. Jessie lost her mother to cancer 2 years ago and is still struggling to come to terms with the fact that not only is her mother not coming back, but also that her father has eloped with someone he met on the internet and moved them across the country. I really enjoyed watching Jessie learn to get along with her flamboyant and pretentious stepbrother, and slowly accept her stepmother. But I particularly appreciated Jessie’s fractured relationship with her father and her feelings of displacement and abandonment. I also really liked seeing Jessie’s friendship with her best friend back in Chicago, and watching her develop new friendships with students at her new high school.


Overall, I felt that Tell Me Three Things was a really great story about family, friendship, grief and romance. There were some coming of age elements that I really enjoyed and I thought the romance was super sweet and made the story very captivating to read.

Rating: 4 out of 5



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Jenna is an Aussie blogger and reader who loves to indulge in great books and great food. She is a doctor (of philosophy) and can usually be found fangirling about something, devouring delicious food, or taking a nap. You can find her on Twitter @readwithjenna and on Instagram @readingwithjenna.

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36 responses to “Tell Me Three Things Review: (1) Adorable, (2) Grief and Family, (3) WAFFLES

  1. I just read this one and I thought it was so cute. I loved Jessie's friends and her family and the romance was wonderful. I loved how well developed it was and how there wasn't even much physical affection. It was slow burn and I love that! Great review.
    My recent post Three Things

    • I also really loved that it was slow burn! There's nothing better than a slow transition from strangers to friendship to love. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Cynthia.

    • The love interest in the book was super cute so I didn't really mind the insta-love. It was just a really adorable story overall and I devoured it in a single sitting!

  2. I am super excited to read this book, after hearing such fantastic things which have now been reinforced by your lovely review! And I happen to love a contemporary that is also able to mix in elements of mystery, which I find is often rare! Overall great review!!

    • It has some Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda vibes in terms of the mystery. So if you've read and enjoyed that book, I'd highly recommend this one! It was a lot of fun and I really loved the mystery, despite it being a bit predictable. I hope you enjoy it if you pick it up!

    • Haha you definitely need to add this one to your collection. It'll look perfect with the rest of your pretty hardbacks! Plus it's got waffles on the cover so what's not to love?

  3. Puput

    Great review! I really love Tell Me Three Things as well, I thought it was gonna be gloomy and full of grief but turned out to be super adorable <3 I agree that though it is kind of predictable, I had a fun time guessing and having doubt about who SN might be! I'm also happy with the other love interest because just like you said, it adds the mystery to the whole story 😛 and the family element is just sooo adorable! Jessie's step brother turned out to be really sweet and the ending shows the potential of a happy family in the future 🙂
    My recent post The Emoji Book Tag // Two of My Favorite Things in One Post

    • Omg I looooved Theo! He was the perfect character and the perfect stepbrother for Jessie. I was initially worried that it was going to be super sad as well, not because I don't like sad books (because I love them!) but because I was just in the mood for something light and fluffy and it was just what I needed. I loved the sprinkle of serious though because it made the story even better 🙂

    • The cover is soooo adorable! I've been wanting to read it for a really long time because of the cover but only really bit the bullet last month. I'm so glad that I did though because it was super cute and a really great read.

  4. Geraldine

    I love the photo you took – your handwriting on that pad is so pretty! <3
    I need to read this book soon – family and friendship elements are so important to me in books, because they're a huge part of my life, so it's always nice to see actual representation of them in books!
    My recent post Aussie YA Bloggers' Secret Santa

    • Thank you so much! I've been practising! I loved the family and friendship elements too and I liked that it was kind of unconventional. It was a really enjoyable reading experience and I finished it super quickly too!

    • Yes! I didn't even think of Simon VS but the mystery element is definitely similar. I probably liked the Simon mystery a bit more because it wasn't obvious who Blue was from the beginning. But I still loved Tell Me Three Things.

    • Family elements is definitely one of my favourite things in contemporary as well. This one had some really interesting family elements that I really, really loved. I definitely enjoyed the book and I hope you do as well!

  5. I've been telling myself that I should get this book already but each time I see it, I find a book I want more. It's so great to know that even though you guessed the mystery, you still ended up enjoying it. That's definitely a good sign. aaand I like that it has a balance of romance and other elements. Great review, Jenna! 🙂

    • Haha I totally get what you mean! It's one of those contemporaries that isn't really a standout one with super important themes, so it's easy to prioritise something else. Still, I thought it was a really good read and enjoyed the reading experience 🙂

  6. This book sounds so cute! I know that it sounds unrealistic, but it also seems like a feel-good read, especially with the mini-mystery as to who SN is. I love the way you formatted this review too 😀

    • It is totally a feel-good read. I read it on the plane back home and it was actually the perfect read because it was so fast-paced and cute. Definitely made me feel better about my flight HAHA.

    • It was a really really fun read, with some more serious themes. I really loved the mystery element and it brought the whole story to life and made it more interesting to read! I hope you can get to it soon 😀

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