ARC Review: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

5/5 Stars 
Publishing April 5th, 2016
Published by Delacorte Press

Synopsis: What if the person you need the most is someone you've never met?

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, whats 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 wither her step monster 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? 

I feel like my entire world was just flipped upside down and inside out after reading this thoroughly engaging book about love, loss, and the pursuit of regaining stable ground. Let me tell you three things:

1) I'm in love with this book.
2) I really want a Somebody/Nobody.
3) This book will leave you awestruck and in need of large amounts of ice cream.

In this novel, Julie Buxbaum explores the ideology of the new girl in town, who receives tips from an anonymous person on how to go about school and who to befriend, who to avoid, etc. While this sounds like the perfect case for a catfish and an entire plot line devoted to figuring out who on earth SN is, Tell Me Three Things is anything but that. This book is perfect in the sense that Julie Buxbaum was able to teeter over that line of joy and sadness in a matter of seconds, then pick the mood right back up with a joke just three lines later. I've read authors who've tried to accomplish smooth transitions between emotions, only to fall flat, but I was incredibly impressed with how Buxbaum was able to make her main character so relatable. Along with this, the mystery aspect of this book was one that kept me turning the pages. Of course this is not a mystery novel, but the theme was so lightly brushed over in a nice way and so neatly constructed, that there is a constant tugging at your brain going "who is this guy?" and "why don't I have one?"
Going into this book, I honestly had no idea what it was even about, which was definitely beneficial on my part. If I had read the synopsis before, I probably would've delayed reading it even more - which would've been a huge mistake! The plot line to this story made me really happy and was very similar to everything a regular high school student goes through: a little teasing from the popular girls, scouting out the cute boys, and getting used to the new environment. It were these details in the plot line that made me want to continue reading, because it's not like there are tons of books out there that strike something close to your heart. I felt as though the casual dialogue, blunt thoughts, and the addition of poetic-esque ramblings really worked in Julie Buxbaum's favor. This enabled a stronger connection between myself and the story - the passages felt like extensions of my innermost thoughts and struggles.

The main character of this book, Jessie, had a voice that was very strong and representative of the majority of the teenage population. She is headstrong, yet soft, with a bit of dark humor that is inevitably unavoidable when one goes through heartbreak. Jessie is the perfect balance of human emotion, with a side of comic relief. I thought Jessie provided a good insight into the brain of a teenage girl and was an excellent narrator when it came it the flourishing and degradation of a friendship. I found myself laughing at her jokes and giddily smiling at her and SN's emails - feelings I probably shouldn't feel unless I was the one actually experiencing this situation. Julie Buxbaum was able to hit the right spot that brought this book a feeling of familiarity, yet brought to the spotlight a fresh, new outlook on a popular book genre. The cast of characters went through excellent character development, as one truly does in high school. It was interesting to watch how Jessie somehow fit herself into this established society that was already up and running.

I was very invested in this book from the moment I started. There was not one reason to make me put the book down, unless I was smiling too big and had to massage my cheeks from the cramping sensation. This book will make you happy, as many contemporary novels do, but in a way that is impossible to pin point the exact reason why. A week after finishing and I still cannot tell you how Tell Me Three Things was able to caress my heartstrings in a way many contemporary novels have not. Whether it be the superb writing, genius comedy, or blush arousing, innocent romance, this book will have you hooked from the start of it's "Dear Reader" note. If you're looking for a contemporary novel, but are sick of the persistent tropes of the genre, Tell Me Three Things will be like a breath of fresh air.

Tell Me Three Things will be released April 5th, 2016