The "Stranger Danger" Exception


I love Amazon.com Next to Barnes&Noble, Amazon is where I get the bulk of my books (and cell phone cases) from. And the bulk of my book recommendations. So, last summer while re-listening to the magical Frank Ocean album Channel Orange, I decided to see if Amazon had any new books for me. And Amazon (almost) never lets me down. 


Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum


What Made Me Read This Book? I like food. I really like food. This book had a picture of waffles with powered sugar on the cover. I was absolutely sold. Had it been pancakes on the other hand, I would've scrolled right past. 


Jessie has a lot going on right now. Not only has her mom recently died, but her father thought that the best way to deal with his grief would be to marry the first woman that he met online. And then move cross-country to live with her and her son. To top it all off, Jessie is starting her junior year in high school and must learn to balance her chaotic home life with the most stressful year of high school. Basically, Jessie is drowning. Until she's given a lifeline in the form of an email from an anonymous stranger. This stranger attends her school, saw how much of a hard time Jessie was having, and decides to guide her through the jungle known as high school. When things start to look up, Jessie wants nothing more than to thank her mysterious saver in person. But when the stranger becomes persistent in remaining a secret, Jessie wonders if all along she's just been the victim of a cruel, cruel joke. 


My Rating: ✯✯✯✯ - I really like the idea of this book. The email format. The text messages. Reading a book while being a part of a conversation felt - different. It really brought the characters to life even though many of their conversations revolved around death. Even the ways grief was dealt with in this book felt more realistic than most YA novels. And there were waffles. Waffles are always good. 


Why? Okay. This is a spoilery book so I have to be careful here. Really, Jessie is having a hard time. She just lost the most important person in her life, and the second most important person in her life isn't being very helpful. Jessie feels isolated: trapped in a huge mansion she doesn't want to be in, surrounded by preppy rich kids at school that she can't relate to, bullied for a misunderstanding and missing her best friend at home. While I can't relate to much (except the being surrounded by preppy rich kids at school part), Jessie brings you into her story and makes you feel her loneliness first hand. And her longing when it comes to meeting the person who has been trying (and somewhat succeeding) to help her navigate this new school. This mystery human has been her shoulder to lean on, her informant, her confidant. But still, they won't tell her their true identity. Following Jessie on her detective search to figure out who her savior is adds a (mostly fun) edge to the story and keeps the plot going where most other YA books about high school get stuck. 


Favorite Quote: "In the Venn diagram of my life, my imagined personality and my real personality have never converged. Over email and text, though, I am given those few additional beats I need to be the better, edited version of myself." 


Hint for next week: Your opinion will change by the second book

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