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Tell Me Something Real


Tell Me Something Real

In Calla Devlin's book TELL ME SOMETHING REAL, the three Babcock sisters, Adrienne, Vanessa and Marie, might have very different personalities, but when their mother is diagnosed with cancer, they are immediately brought together. In order to treat her cancer, the family must travel back and forth from their home in San Diego to the clinic in Mexico where she can receive the drug she needs, Laetrile. When the family meets a boy who is also visiting the clinic, Caleb, he and his mother Barb temporarily move in with them while he’s receiving treatment. Just when Vanessa and her sisters finally think that they have their lives under control, their world is suddenly changed by the discovery of a secret that had been kept from them.

"The Babcock sisters might be very different, but TELL ME SOMETHING REAL shows us that their love for each other is more important to them than anything else."

Despite the fact that this book is set in 1976, I feel like it was not dated in any way. There were a few small pop culture references that helped establish the era, but I feel like this story could have easily been set in a modern world and not suffered any. Even though these characters live in the past, they have very relatable personalities. Each sister is fleshed out heavily, with interests, quirks, flaws and strong dialogue. I especially enjoyed reading the passages where Vanessa, the story’s narrator, would talk about her love for music. Devlin’s words perfectly described just how passionate Vanessa was about playing the piano, which certainly added to the story. The word choices in general were wonderful and really helped enhance the story, and there were many strong adjectives that helped make descriptions more compelling. I greatly enjoyed how the characters weren’t just happy and cheerful all the time --- there was one moment where Vanessa yelled at her mother that definitely stood out to me as something realistic.

When I first started the book, I had a pretty good idea of what I thought would happen by the end. That didn’t end up happening due to a crazy plot twist in the second part of the book that I was completely blindsided by. It was so unexpected to me that I actually gasped while I was reading. While it was originally shocking to me, the plot twist actually helped this book to stand out from other books about cancer by taking it in a new and interesting direction. The book began a little bit slow, but by the second part I found it impossible to put down because I simply wanted to know what would happen! Despite the fact that the ending somewhat left readers hanging, I feel like it perfectly fit the story. Even though not everything ended up being resolved, it ended on a very hopeful note that left me optimistic for the characters.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a book that will take you through a wide range of emotions. The medical aspects of this story were also very interesting to me, and those will definitely appear to readers interested in medical fields. This book is mostly about the relationships amongst family members, and that’s a topic that I feel is becoming more rare in young adult fiction. The Babcock sisters might be very different, but TELL ME SOMETHING REAL shows us that their love for each other is more important to them than anything else.

Reviewed by Breck G., Teen Board Member on September 15, 2017

Tell Me Something Real
by Calla Devlin