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Tell Me Everything

Review

Tell Me Everything

Brace yourself for a lot of photography puns. Sarah Enni’s TELL ME EVERYTHING lens itself to bad puns.

But first, let me TELL YOU EVERYTHING about TELL ME EVERYTHING. TELL ME EVERYTHING feels kind of like an episode of a teen drama. It’s comparable to SOLITAIRE by Alice Oseman, but it kept reminding me of ONLY LOVE CAN BREAK YOUR HEART by Katherine Webber, too.

Ivy, a self-described “art punk” who loves photography, has exactly one friend and an app to keep her company. The friend is Harold, an overachiever who’s aiming for the Ivy League and the subject of many of her photos. The app is VEIL, an anonymous app that only shows posts from within five miles and erases all posts every Sunday.

"I would recommend TELL ME EVERYTHING to someone who wants a coming-of-age story with a hint of romance and a happy ending."

I was telling this to my friend Will, who then said, “Within five miles kind of gets rid of the anonymity.” And this is where the plot starts to develop. Ivy is quiet and no one really notices her, so she knows the tea. Ivy is too shy to actually post anything on VEIL, but when Harold begins to drift away, Ivy starts to make guesses about who is posting what. Problems arise when Ivy makes bigger and wilder assumptions, and she stands to lose more and more if she gets it wrong.

Some issues I had were that Ivy is a bit whiny in my opinion (though I’ve heard people who did like her) and the characters don’t really talk like teenagers. It felt like the author was trying to write something “hip with the kids” but all she knew about teenagers was angst, so she just made Ivy complain about everything. In my opinion, Harold is by far a more interesting character than Ivy because he embodies the anxiety and high expectations many teenagers deal with. I would have appreciated more development of Harold’s friendship with Ivy.

However, I don’t mean to be too negative. My favorite part of the book was easily the side characters, about whom I’d love to read more. I loved the curator of the Belfry Barnacle, a zine that is essentially the school’s equivalent of the Quibbler. I would read an entire book about the Belfry Barnacle or Jaz, the musical theatre nerd who is too nervous to audition for “1776.” On an unrelated note, I would fire anyone who chose to put on “1776” if I were the principal of Belfry High.

I related to this book because I took photography in eighth grade, and I understand how difficult it is to get the perfect shot. I liked how Ivy mentions Vivian Maier because Maier’s work is spectacular. TELL ME EVERYTHING reminds me of this photo I took in eighth grade. The prompt for it was “something spooky.”

If you hate the way a darkroom smells, you might click with this book (I think I’m on a roll here). I would recommend TELL ME EVERYTHING to someone who wants a coming-of-age story with a hint of romance and a happy ending.

Reviewed by Ainsley A., Teen Board Member on March 19, 2019

Tell Me Everything
by Sarah Enni