Audiobook Review: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Audiobook Review: Tell Me Three Things by Julie BuxbaumTell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
Narrator: Jorjeana Marie
Published by Listening Library on April 5th 2016
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Social Themes, Friendship, Family, Stepfamilies, Romance, General, Young Adult, Love & Romance, Social Issues
Format: Audiobook
Length: 9 hrs.
Source: Library

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

Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel whose characters will come to feel like friends. Tell Me Three Things will appeal to fans of Rainbow Rowell, Jennifer Niven, and E. Lockhart.

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?

Tell Me Three Things is Julie Buxbaum’s YA debut and there are many more than three good things to say about it! I listened to this book over Mother’s Day weekend when I wanted to read something about someone else missing their mom. And this was just the ticket. Tell Me Three Things is my third 5-star read of the year and a lovely read about love, loss, and connection.

Jessie is still missing her mother terribly two years after her death when her father moves them from Chicago to Los Angeles to live with her new stepfamily. Her new fancy private school makes her feel like a fish out of water. She’s bullied and lonely at Wood Valley High and her stepbrother is less than welcoming. An anonymous classmate reaches out via email to offer some tips to help Jessie assimilate into this new environment. Who is this Good Samaritan aka “Somebody Nobody” and why does he keep his identity a secret?

As self-appointed “virtual spirit guide” Somebody Nobody (SN for short) shows Jessie the ropes, and provides a sympathetic ear regarding the loss of a family member. SN also knows loss and becomes Jessie’s shoulder to lean on.

Jessie does make some friends, and tries to keep ties with her BFF in Chicago. She also gets a job at a bookstore (Book Out Below!) and becomes friendly with the owner’s son Liam. Could he be SN? And why is he with the mean girl who is bullying her? Another ally is Ethan, Liam’s bandmate and her AP English project partner. Jessie feels such a connection with SN that she wants to meet, but can their online friendship sustain IRL?

Tell Me Three Things is relatable, witty, and emotional. The online correspondence is charming and I especially liked the “Tell Me Three Things” device. Buxbaum does a great job showing how each character deals with loss in their lives, though the story never gets too heavy. This is Julie Buxbaum’s first book for YA’s and I’m definitely inspired to check out her two adult novels.

I listened to the audiobook read by Jorjeana Marie. Marie is one of my recent fave YA narrators- I also recently listened to her on The First Time She Drowned, and Exit, Pursued by a Bear. She sounds age appropriate, does a good job with making each character distinct, conveys the right emotional tone and lets the story shine. Give her a listen if you get a chance.



3 thoughts on “Audiobook Review: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

  1. This sounds wonderful! It’s nice to have a reminder that holidays like Mother’s Day aren’t happy for everyone.

  2. This book is on my ToRead list. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it and the audio clip. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  3. […] Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum, read by Jorjeana Marie – Jessie is grieving her mother’s death and moves to a new city with her dad and his new wife. An anonymous classmate emails her and offers to show her the ropes at her new school. A witty and emotional read, and the narration complements the story perfectly. […]

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