Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You

Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You

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by Joyce Carol Oates
     
 

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Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You is renowned author Joyce Carol Oates's newest novel for teens. Laurie Halse Anderson, bestselling author of Wintergirls and Speak, said that "the painful honesty of this book will crack open your heart."

Senior year, their last year together, Merissa and Nadia need their best friend Tink more than they

Overview

Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You is renowned author Joyce Carol Oates's newest novel for teens. Laurie Halse Anderson, bestselling author of Wintergirls and Speak, said that "the painful honesty of this book will crack open your heart."

Senior year, their last year together, Merissa and Nadia need their best friend Tink more than they ever did before. They have secrets they can share with no one but her, toxic secrets that threaten 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. . . .

In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews described Joyce Carol Oates as "a master at portraying the inner lives of teens." In Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You, she's created a powerful portrayal of a friendship strong enough to transcend death.

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.”
Booklist
"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)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062110480
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/01/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
882,782
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

What People are saying about this

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.”

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. 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.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Princeton, New Jersey
Date of Birth:
June 16, 1938
Place of Birth:
Lockport, New York
Education:
B.A., Syracuse University, 1960; M.A., University of Wisconsin, 1961

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Two or Three Things I Forgot to Tell You 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Infinite_Inspires More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its not like she hasn't warned us.