tell me three things book cover


“Tell Me Three Things”: A Comprehensive Review

“Tell Me Three Things” is a remarkable novel that resonates with readers, especially those navigating adolescence, exploring love, and dealing with loss. Penned by Julie Buxbaum, the narrative takes readers through a whirlwind of emotions, highlighting the trials and tribulations of teen life and the importance of friendship and love. This article aims to provide a detailed review of “Tell Me Three Things,” dissecting its plot, themes, characters, and the emotional journey it takes readers on.


“Tell Me Three Things” narrates the story of Jessie, a 17-year-old girl who is thrust into a new life in Los Angeles after her mother’s death and her father’s sudden remarriage. From Chicago to an affluent Los Angeles neighborhood, Jessie’s life takes a dramatic turn. She finds herself enrolled in an elite prep school, Wood Valley High School, where she encounters a sea of privileged kids, quite unlike her modest upbringing in Chicago.

As Jessie navigates her new life, she receives an anonymous email from an individual known only as “Somebody/Nobody” or “SN.” This mysterious stranger offers her guidance on surviving the social complexities of her new school. As the story unfolds, Jessie’s reliance on SN grows, leading to a deep bond and raising questions about SN’s true identity.

Themes Explored

Adolescence and Identity

A significant theme in “Tell Me Three Things” is the exploration of adolescence and identity. The story delves into the complexities of teenage life, showcasing the struggles of fitting in, dealing with loss, and finding one’s identity.

Love and Friendship

The theme of love and friendship forms the essence of “Tell Me Three Things.” Jessie’s virtual friendship with SN and her eventual romantic feelings for him highlight the importance of companionship in overcoming life’s challenges.

Grief and Loss

“Tell Me Three Things” also addresses the profound theme of grief and loss. Jessie’s struggle to cope with her mother’s death and her father’s remarriage underscores the emotional turmoil associated with loss.


Jessie Holmes

Jessie Holmes is the protagonist of “Tell Me Three Things.” She is a resilient, relatable character who navigates through immense personal loss and a new life in a strange city. Jessie’s character development throughout the novel is commendable, demonstrating her courage and strength.

Somebody/Nobody (SN)

SN is a significant character in the novel who offers guidance and friendship to Jessie. SN’s anonymity adds an element of intrigue to the narrative, keeping readers engrossed until the end.


Ethan is another important character in the story. He is depicted as a poetry-loving student at Wood Valley High School. His interactions with Jessie add depth to the narrative.

The Emotional Journey

“Tell Me Three Things” takes readers on an emotional journey. It explores the raw sentiments associated with teenagerhood, grief, love, and identity. The narrative is imbued with humor, heartbreak, and mystery, making it a compelling and emotionally charged read.


While “Tell Me Three Things” is widely appreciated for its engaging plot and relatable characters, it has been criticized for its portrayal of stereotypical LA teens and the excessive focus on Jessie’s romantic interests. The protagonist’s obsession with identifying SN sometimes overshadows the depth of her character.


In conclusion, “Tell Me Three Things” is a captivating novel that explores the complexities of teenage life, the significance of love and friendship, and the pain of loss. Despite minor criticisms, the book is a thought-provoking and emotion-stirring read that resonates with readers long after they’ve turned the last page.

About the Author

Julie Buxbaum, the author of “Tell Me Three Things,” is known for her exceptional storytelling. She has penned several critically acclaimed books that have been translated into multiple languages. “Tell Me Three Things” is a testament to Buxbaum’s skill in weaving relatable, emotionally charged narratives that resonate with a wide audience.

Reader’s Perspective

From a reader’s perspective, “Tell Me Three Things” is a heartwarming story that strikes a chord with anyone who has faced the trials of adolescence, experienced love, or coped with loss. The narrative is engaging, the characters are well-developed, and the themes are deeply explored, making the book a must-read.

Final Thoughts

“Tell Me Three Things” is a powerful narrative that beautifully encapsulates the complexities of teen life. It’s a compelling exploration of love, loss, and the journey of self-discovery. Despite certain criticisms, the book stands out for its emotional depth, relatable characters, and engaging story. Whether you’re a teenager or an adult, “Tell Me Three Things” is a book that will touch your heart and stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.