Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You

( 2 )


The girls of Tink, Inc. Are: Merissa ("the perfect one"), Nadia ("the slut"), and, until last summer, Tink.

This year, their last year together, Merissa and Nadia need Tink more than they ever did before. Their secrets are toxic, threatening to unravel their friendship—and themselves. Tink had a secret, too, a big one, but no one knows what it was.

And now she's gone.

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The girls of Tink, Inc. Are: Merissa ("the perfect one"), Nadia ("the slut"), and, until last summer, Tink.

This year, their last year together, Merissa and Nadia need Tink more than they ever did before. Their secrets are toxic, threatening to unravel their friendship—and themselves. Tink had a secret, too, a big one, but no one knows what it was.

And now she's gone.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Laurie Halse Anderson
An Amazon Best Book of the Month“The painful honesty of this book will crack open your heart. Joyce Carol Oates takes us from the howling pain of lonely adolescence to the comfort and healing brought about by a friendship strong enough to transcend death.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Touching and believable. An unusually sensitive and sympathetic assessment.”
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books

“Touching and believable. An unusually sensitive and sympathetic assessment.”

ALA Booklist
For After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings, and Flew Away:“Oates gets the contemporary teen voice just right, and Jenna’s first-person narrative moves at breakneck speed.”
Washington Post
For Big Mouth & Ugly Girl:“Oates scores with a gripping story.”
Booklist (starred review)
“A thought-provoking, character-driven drama.”
The Horn Book
For Sexy:“Palpable and compelling.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Touching and believable. An unusually sensitive and sympathetic assessment.”
"A thought-provoking, character-driven drama."
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“Touching and believable. An unusually sensitive and sympathetic assessment.”
Publishers Weekly
Merissa is the envy of all her similarly privileged peers, yet she also lost her friend Tink six months ago to suicide. While good things fall into place for Merissa (getting into a great college early, for one), neither she nor her friends can shake the loss of complex, audacious Tink, making her a significant influence even in death. Switching perspectives from Merissa to a collective "we" and then to the POV of a troubled girl named Nadia, Oates deftly conveys the ways teenage girls sometimes hide behind superficialities to disguise grief, insecurity, and fear—and how adults often do just the same. Oates creates an uncomfortable disconnect between characters' public actions and their thoughts and behavior behind closed doors. The formal prose style borders on stiff, with occasional use of outdated expressions (such as "bimbo"), but Merissa's desperation and longing for a sense of control is powerfully conveyed through her cutting and relentless self-effacement. The examination of teenage isolation, humiliation, and quiet suffering make this a painful, but excellent novel filled with haunting details. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)
VOYA - Laura Lehner
When Merissa, aka the Perfect One, gets her early admission acceptance letter from Brown, it seems that she is on top of the world. She is gorgeous and every guy wants to date her; she is the president of Drama Club; she is a shoe-in for the lead role in Pride and Prejudice, and now she has gotten into her first-choice school. What people do not know about Merissa is that underneath her perfect clothes are the perfect scars of self-loathing—she cuts herself. The only person who does know is her dead best friend, Tink, who haunts her night and day. The second half of the book switches to the point of view of Nadia, who was also a friend of Tink's, as she deals with her not-so secret promiscuity. Everybody has a secret—some are small and self-indulgent, others are huge and damaging. This story of a group of high school seniors who have lost a member of their group to suicide examines those secrets and the art of putting on a public face. Intriguing characters and an unpredictable and thought-provoking plot will draw readers in, and they are sure to get more out of it than they expect. Reviewer: Laura Lehner
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Katrina Olivia Traumer, known to everyone as Tink, entered the lives of the students at Quaker Heights Day School in their junior year, but by the next year she was gone, dead. Merissa, Hannah, Chloe, and Nadia do not understand why she took her own life. Each girl has a secret that she doesn't want to share: perfect Merissa cuts herself and "slut" Nadia is in love with one of their teachers. Was Tink really dying of leukemia, or was there some other horrifying event that caused her to end her life? Just like her friends, readers never learn her true secret. This is a hard story to read. The girls are not very likable, and they aren't very nice to one another. They live in an affluent New Jersey suburb of New York City and attend an exclusive private school. They are privileged but also extremely whiny. As the book opens, readers find out that Merissa has been accepted early decision to Brown University. This is a quite a coup, but she is miserable. There is some drinking and sexual content. Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why (Penguin, 2007) or Patricia McCormick's Cut (Front Street, 2000) address the issues of suicide and cutting much more effectively.—Elizabeth Kahn, Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy, Jefferson, LA
Kirkus Reviews
At the heart of Oates' riveting and poignant story of three teenage girls in crisis is the notion that a "secret can be too toxic to expose to a friend." In part one, it's mid-December of their senior year at Quaker Heights Day School, a prep school in an affluent New Jersey suburb. Merissa, "The Perfect One," has just been accepted early admission at Brown, with more good news to come. When she desperately needs a release--from the pressures to succeed, hypocrisy and her parents' disintegrating marriage--she secretly embraces cutting. Part two flashes back to 15 months earlier, when smart, funny, edgy, unpredictable Tink, a former child star, transfers into their junior class and changes everything. Part three picks back up in the winter of their senior year and focuses on Nadia, who falls prey to sexts and cyberbullying. Tink's suicide is revealed early on, and yet she remains a believable and critical touchstone for Merissa and Nadia, part of the girls of Tink Inc. The author is a master at portraying the complex, emotional inner lives of these teens, and their contemporary adolescent voices and perceptions (and misperceptions) ring true. The psychological dramas, though numerous, are deftly handled. What appears at first to be a bleak worldview does in fact make room for healing, change and standing up for what's right. Intense, keenly insightful, nuanced and affecting. (Fiction. 14 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062110480
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 682,751
  • Age range: 14 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including We Were the Mulvaneys; Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award; and the New York Times bestseller The Accursed. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.


Joyce Carol Oates is one of the most influential and important storytellers in the literary world. She has often used her supreme narrative skills to examine the dark side of middle-class Americana, and her oeuvre includes some of the finest examples of modern essays, plays, criticism, and fiction from a vast array of genres. She is still publishing with a speed and consistency of quality nearly unheard of in contemporary literature.

A born storyteller, Oates has been spinning yarns since she was a little girl too young to even write. Instead, she would communicate her stories through drawings and paintings. When she received her very first typewriter at the age of 14, her creative floodgates opened with a torrent. She says she wrote "novel after novel" throughout high school and college -- a prolificacy that has continued unabated throughout a professional career that began in 1963 with her first short story collection, By the North Gate.

Oates's breakthrough occurred in 1969 with the publication of them, a National Book Award winner that established her as a force to be reckoned with. Since that auspicious beginning, she has been nominated for nearly every major literary honor -- from the PEN/Faulkner Award to the Pulitzer Prize -- and her fiction turns up with regularity on The New York Times annual list of Notable Books.

On average Oates publishes at least one novel, essay anthology, or story collection a year (during the 1970s, she produced at the astonishing rate of two or three books a year!). And although her fiction often exposes the darker side of America's brightest facades – familial unrest, sexual violence, the death of innocence – she has also made successful forays into Gothic novels, suspense, fantasy, and children's literature. As novelist John Barth once remarked, "Joyce Carol Oates writes all over the aesthetical map."

Where she finds the time for it no one knows, but Oates manages to combine her ambitious, prolific writing career with teaching: first at the University of Windsor in Canada, then (from 1978 on), at Princeton University in New Jersey. For all her success and fame, her daily routine of teaching and writing has changed very little, and her commitment to literature as a transcendent human activity remains steadfast.

Good To Know

When not writing, Oates likes to take in a fight. "Boxing is a celebration of the lost religion of masculinity all the more trenchant for its being lost," she says in highbrow fashion of the lowbrow sport.

Oates's Black Water, which is a thinly veiled account of Ted Kennedy's car crash in Chappaquiddick, was produced as an opera in the 1990s.

In 2001, Oprah Winfrey selected Oates's novel We Were the Mulvaneys for her Book Club.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Rosamond Smith
    2. Hometown:
      Princeton, New Jersey
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 16, 1938
    2. Place of Birth:
      Lockport, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Syracuse University, 1960; M.A., University of Wisconsin, 1961

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 7, 2012

    Disjointed and Unsatisfying

    I had high hopes for this book based on Joyce Carol Oates' adult short stories. Two or Three Things falls seriously short. There were so many bizarre style and form choices that I wondered if the book was edited at all. There was no clear narrator. The shifts in point of view were distracting and not just limited to the three sections. Long and digressive parenthetical tangents were prevalent, distracting and seemed to have no purpose. The subject matter of eating disorders, insecurity, pressure to perform, self-harm, and suicide were touched on with sensitivity and relative authenticity. However, any character insight or resolution of these issues was completely overshadowed by the just plain wacky and annoying narrative voice. Seriously, I would like my money back.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2012

    Two or Three things I forgot to tell you

    Its not like she hasn't warned us.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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