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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Book Review: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Title: Tell Me Three Things
Author: Julie Buxbaum
Enjoyment Rating: 4.5/5
Source: MP3 audiobook from OverDrive

Jessie's life is turned upside down when her mom dies of ovarian cancer and her dad elopes with a woman he met in an online support group for grieving widows. She is forced to leave her life and home in Chicago and move to Los Angeles, where she attends the intimidating prep school, Wood Valley High. She feels lost and alone until she gets an email from an account named Somebody/Nobody (S/N) who offers to help be her guide at the new school. She isn't sure she can trust S/N, but she takes a leap of faith because she has nothing else to lose. Jessie's story is partly an exploration of grief, partly a coming of age tale, and partly a love story.

Some friends of mine read the book and gave it less enthusiastic reviews, but it really worked for me. It is rare that I find a character in YA lit whose story is so similar to mine. While all of the details are different, I've experienced many of the same major events. I too had a parent elope after meeting someone on the internet (my mom); I too spent time across the country and experienced culture shock (summers in Georgia with my mom and step-dad); I too lost my mom to ovarian/peritoneal cancer (genetically identical cancers). So while it is easy to brush off parts of Jessie's story as far flung or immature (she views everyone in LA as stereotypes at first), her growth through the process felt familiar and authentic. And I love a good YA love story. 

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