Change can be hard, but it can be amazing, too!


When Jessie (16) moves from Chicago to Los Angeles, her whole world turns upside down, and she hates it. She and her widower dad are moving in with her new step-family in an enormous mansion overflowing with riches. This is quite the contrast  to her former modest suburban life. Rachel, her new stepmother (who eloped with her Dad via online dating), pays Jessie’s tuition to attend Wood Valley High School, an extremely elite prep school. Jessie isn’t used to the rich snobbishness of over-entitled LA kids, and she feels lost, alone, and unable to handle this new environment.

Constant bullying and a lack of friends makes life  miserable. Somehow, Jessie has made a friend in this sea of vicious bullies. But she has never met him and doesn’t even know who he is. That’s because instead of having in-person conversations, Jessie and “Somebody/Nobody” (aka "SN") communicate via text.

Each day they tell each other three things about themselves, and they become each other's confidants. SN becomes Jessie’s closest ally; he helps her make friends and gives her helpful advice for navigating Wood Valley. As the two become closer, Jessie is increasingly anxious to meet the person who became such a close friend. When SN finally agrees to meet in person, Jessie encounters an unexpected surprise.

BTSYA / Teen Reader (13):
Tell Me Three Things is a heartwarming story of young love, discovering who you are, and moving on from the past. It is everything I could wish for in a book: funny, charming, romantic, and sweet with a subtle mystery. It is both real and captivating, with a wide range of elements. My favorite thing is how relatable and real the characters are. I understood Jessie's feelings and struggles. It is also enjoyable to be part of her journey and cheer when she gets the things she deserves.

What made the book special to me was how the author incorporated the idea of a virtual anonymous friendship. The mystery is something innovative and refreshing, not the usual dark mysteries of other books. The apprehension of discovering SN's identity adds a dimension, too.

My one criticism is how the other Wood Valley kids were stereotypes, especially the girls. The bullies are skinny, blonde, and stuck-up. There is little diversity at the school, even though LA is arguably the most diverse city in the United States.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Once readers look past the stereotypical LA backdrop and teen bullies, they will discover a wonderful, heartfelt story. Teens will especially connect with Jessie and her experiences, as she expresses her feelings and struggles in ways they most definitely will relate to.

Content Awareness Factors:

Although the plot / mystery itself is not mature, the discussions of sex, alcohol, and drug use push this to an older audience (14 and up).

Type of Book:
This is a contemporary mystery/romance set in high school.
Educational Themes:

The story covers a lot of the emotions and experiences of today's teens, from step-families to navigating social settings, to relationships (friendship, couples, etc.). Plenty to talk about. Ask your teen to start with what they liked most about SN, then Jessie. Could they be SN in real life?

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
14 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
14 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 13
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy ... and then be prepared to share it with a friend.

Title Tell Me Three Things
Author Julie Buxbaum
Publisher Ember, Imprint Penguin Random House Canada © 2017 (Reprint Edition)
ISBN 9780553535679
Material Paperback
Cost $9.99
Genres Family, Friendship, Mystery, Humor, Death and Loss, Contemporary Fiction, Romance
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