By: Julie Buxbaum
Published Year: 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
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Summary (Provided by Goodreads): 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?
How cute is this cover?? I love how minimalistic it looks but in a very intriguing way. Why are there waffles? Why are they in pieces? I knew I wanted to read this as soon as I saw the cover. If I did need any more convincing, all I needed to do was read the summary. This book jumped straight to the top of my To-Be-Read list. Bonus—it counts towards the Debut Author Challenge!
What I thought
This book brought me back to my high school days (which was almost 10 years ago—eek!). Not only did something about Jessie’s life and experience make me feel like my high school life, but the writing seemed reminiscent of books that I would’ve read in high school.
Jessie lost her mother a little over two years prior to the story. Her father has met another woman who he marries, forcing Jessie to move from Chicago to LA in her junior year of high school. She moves into her rich stepmother’s house with her new stepbrother, who is the same age. She is also thrown into a private school with students who are all very rich and privileged. After her first day, she receives an anonymous email from a guy who refers to himself as Somebody/Nobody, offering to help her navigate to tricky world of Wood Valley High. While skeptical at first, she ends up foraging a relationship with SN over email and IM, without knowing who he is.
What I loved about this book is that I could relate to it so much, even though I am well beyond my high school years. Even though texting and social media was not as prominent when I was in high school, we definitely lived in the world of Instant Messaging. I felt connected to Jessie when she shared how she felt more confident and comfortable talking over IM, as opposed to in person. I have experienced that exact same feeling, and still feel that sometimes over email. In a world so heavily run by technology, it think this is a message that people of all ages can relate to.
Buxbaum’s writing is so true and so pure. A lot of new YA books, while interesting and wonderful to read, have become so complicated when compared to what I read when I was in high school. Fantasy is a lot more prominent in the YA line currently, as opposed to the everyday experience of high school. Buxbaum does a wonderful job bringing her story back to a realistic everyday girl’s life. It was a breath of fresh air to not have to worry about fantasy or other overly used (as of late) tropes.
While I have not experienced the loss of a parent, it felt to me that Jessie’s experience was authentic. She was grieving and hurting in a genuine way that never seemed over the top or exaggerated. In addition, Jessie has a wonderful group of friends that doesn’t turn on her at the slightest moment. In my personal experience, friends are supportive and don’t turn on you at the slightest bump. I think this could book could be a light for many high schoolers who are struggling to get through a dark time.
By: Julie Buxbaum