Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?
It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.
In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved? (Synopsis taken from Goodreads)
This is basically the cutest book. It kind of reminded me of Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda and The Loose Ends List in writing style (and, in the case of Simon Vs. the whole email-friends-who-haven’t-met-in-real-life-thing).
Three Reasons Why I Liked Tell Me Three Things:
(1) Jessie is a very likeable, very real-feeling narrator. I really liked her, and she was entertaining, as well. I kind of worried that she would turn into the cliche new girl that everyone instantly loves, but she didn’t. [sort of. I’ll get to that in a minute]
(2) It’s full of a witty, very dry humor, which I absolutely loved.
(3) It was extremely cute. Like, one of the cutest books I’ve read. Despite it being about the whole dad-got-married-after-Jessie’s-mom-died-and-now-we-have-to-move thing.
Three Things I Didn’t Like About Tell Me Three Things:
(1) It got less entertaining and a bit draggy and slow in the middle, which was a disappointment.
(2) Jessie (naturally) is the new girl at school, and because of her new-ness and interesting-ness, she gets asked on a date by three of them. And as far as I can tell, this novel only spans about three months, probably less, and for the new girl who’s viewed as kind of weird, this didn’t seem very realistic.
(3) Parts of the anonymous internet/email/texting friend thing felt kind of creepy. At least with Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, neither Simon nor Blue knew who the other was until the end of the novel. The love interest slash emailer knew who Jessie was, but didn’t tell her who he was. And if he’s texting or emailing her things like “you looked cute today” or things about what she had been doing that day just gave me this kind of weird, icky feeling.
So, yeah. This isn’t a perfect book by any means. It’s more of a vacation-y, light hearted kind of read than something you sit down with because you want something thought-provoking or a story that will stick with you for a while.
Andie had it all planned out.
When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.
Important internship? Check.
Amazing friends? Check.
Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).
But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.
Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.
And where’s the fun in that? (Synopsis taken from Goodreads)
I actually enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I was going to! I’m not the biggest fan of summer romance type readers (although, they can be done well), but I did! And it had many awesome things about it, such as:
-A ton of dogs. Seriously. A ton.
-Female friendships that are as important if not more important than the main character’s love interest.
-A cute, geeky, fantasy writer as a love interest. Who I maaaaay have a crush on now.
-A father-daughter relationship that is actually portrayed pretty realisticly.
Also, Andie is pretty awesome; she’s smart, and she’s got her life planned out months and years in advance, and when her important summer internship falls apart (her pre-pre-med-med internship), she all but panics. So she gets a job dog-walking for the richy-rich people in her suburban neighborhood because she needs to add something on her resume for college. Despite her knowing nothing about dogs.
I also really liked that her dad, a congressman dealing with the wake of a scandal, is actually written like another person. He’s actually a character in the forfront, not someone who shows up only to ground Andie or protest her dating choices. He’s somewhat obtuse, a bit frustrating, but at the same time, a strangely likeable character. Also, the love interest; a lot of summer romance novels seem to revolve around the innocent girl falling for the “brooding bad boy”, but this isn’t the case. Clark is geeky, and awkward, and basically adorable.
My main problem with this is that it’s way too long. Like a good third of the book could have been docked off and it still would have been fine.But that’s really my only problem with this book, and what’s keeping it from getting five stars.
Janie and Micah, Micah and Janie. That’s how it’s been ever since elementary school, when Janie Vivien moved next door. Janie says Micah is everything she is not. Where Micah is shy, Janie is outgoing. Where Micah loves music, Janie loves art. It’s the perfect friendship—as long as no one finds out about it. But then Janie goes missing and everything Micah thought he knew about his best friend is colored with doubt.
Using a nonlinear writing style and dual narrators, Amy Zhang reveals the circumstances surrounding Janie’s disappearance in a second novel. (Synopsis taken from Goodreads)
I really, really wanted to like this book. I love Amy Zhang’s first book, Falling into Place, to I went into this one with super high expectations. They sadly weren’t met. Now, the writing style is still beautiful; gritty and flowing and whimsical and basically the kind of writing style that writers should aspire to have.
But oooh, the characters. Now, on their own, Janie and Micah are awesome. Janie is this larger than life, whimsical, and imaginative (if a bit naive) person, while Micah is this kind of shy, sweet, a bit more grounded than Janie teen boy.
But the problem is is that Janie and Micah’s relationship is totally toxic. Janie says several times that she loves Micah, and that she believes he’s her soulmate, but she dates other people and refuses to be seen at school with him. She manipulates him into doing what she wants. And, when something horrible happens to her and she disapears, Micah blames himself despite having very, very little to do with why she actually vanished.
And another thing…the characters spend a lot of time drinking. I mean, Micah gets out of the hospital for drinking and nearly dying…and then goes right back to drink. So I expected that we would find out that Micah has an alcohol addiction or something, but nope! Nothing like that is ever mentioned.
Basically, my thoughts can be summed down to this: this book has beautiful writing, but with plot and characters, it majorly falls flat.
So! How do you guys feel about contemporary fiction? Are you like me, where you tend to only pick it up if you have nothing else to read, or do you tend to seek it out?