“Tell Me Three Things” a Teenage Rom-Com

“Tell Me Three Things” by Julie Buxbaum was published on April 5, 2016.

Elyse Paugh

“Tell Me Three Things” by Julie Buxbaum was published on April 5, 2016.

Elyse Paugh, Staff Reporter

“Tell Me Three Things” by Julie Buxbaum is a teenage girl’s daydream come true. The story focuses on Jessie Holmes, a new student at Wood Valley High School in Los Angeles. Leaving behind her best friend in Chicago is hard enough, but her dad marrying the first woman he lays eyes on definitely does not make matters better. This young adult novel brings out the empathy in readers as Jessie loses once strong relationships, and faces a scary new high school. 

The story begins on Jessie’s first day of sophomore year when she gets a text from Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), who is pining to learn about the new girl. The bond between the narrator and this anonymous writer is strong from the beginning as SN helps Jessie navigate her way through her new prestigious high school. The two started a habit of texting each other three things about themselves each morning, developing the characters more in a sweet and personal way.

The author’s imagery brings even adult readers back to the student-driven, spirited hallways. The edge of your seat becomes a comfort zone in the page-turner of Jessie’s pain, love, and new relationships. There is never a dull moment as Jessie toggles three possible love interests, falls in love with someone she doesn’t know, and grieves over her recently lost mother. Yes, this is a teenage rom-com, but Buxbaum leaves the cheesiness at home and brings a realistic outlook on teenage love.

The main question on both Jessie’s and the reader’s is, “Who is SN?” The author dangles the answer through every twist and turn of the story. Buxbaum makes sure that the reader also feels like they are sharing the fantasy. When I read the book, I found myself a lot in Jessie’s character. It would bring even the oldest of readers back into the drama of highschool, demanding their attention until the very last page. I even did that thing where you read the final words and then slowly close the book. That right there, is a good feeling.

One criticism I have of the novel is the author’s use of a cliché mean girl as the main conflict. Aren’t we all tired of an over-the-top mean white girl in teenage stories? Add a new flavor of spice, like a giant unicorn teacher that eats all its students. That would be an interesting conflict.

Although the “Regina George” of the novel did not get hit by a bus, SN and Jessie’s relationship is an inspiration we all need through this dark time. The ending pulled on my heartstrings and left me wanting to know more about Jessie’s love life, which I think is a perfect opening for a second novel. I saw pieces of myself in each turn of the page, and I know that other teenage girls like me will find this book quite an adventure. While the book is captivating and an easy read, I would rate “Tell Me Three Things” a 7/10.