Title // Tell Me Everything
Author // Sarah Enni
Publisher // Scholastic
My Rating // (1.5)
Synopsis // Ivy is the shy artist type and keeps a low profile—so low that she’s practically invisible to everyone at Belfry High School except for her best friend, Harold. As sophomore year begins, Harold takes up a hundred activities, leaving Ivy on her own. Luckily she’s found a distraction: the new anonymous art-sharing app, VEIL.
Soon Ivy realizes that one of her classmates is the VEIL user who needs new paintbrushes … and another is the one visiting the hospital every week … and another is the one dealing with their parents’ messy divorce. While she’s too scared to put her own creations on the app, Ivy thinks of an even better way to contribute—by making gifts for the artists she’s discovered. The acts of kindness give her such a rush that, when Ivy suspects Harold is keeping a secret, she decides to go all in. Forget gifts—Ivy wants to throw Harold a major party.
But when all those good intentions thrust her into the spotlight, Ivy’s carefully curated world is thrown into chaos. Now she has to find the courage to come out of the shadows—about her art, her secrets, and her mistakes—or risk losing everything and everyone she loves the most.
This whole book feels like one giant meh, and a whole lot of wasted potential. I will say, though, that the chapter number pages (is that what they’re called? The first page of each chapter I guess) were absolutely gorgeous, with pretty paint patters on them, so there’s that to love!
There were definitely some interesting and important conversations about social media and internet privacy. A significant part of the novel concerns the decision of whether or not the identity of someone who makes a hateful post should be allowed to be revealed, something which Ivy is very passionate about, and even makes comments about freedom of speech and being allowed to post whatever you want even if it can be considered “hate speech.” For the most part, I definitely enjoyed this commentary.
I also really loved the emphasis on art that this book had. It was so clear from the start and throughout how much Ivy loved and cared about art. Her passion really shone through the writing, and I could really imagine some of her pieces of art.
The whole premise was definitely unique and an interesting concept to tackle, but it ultimately wasn’t my favorite thing to read, and did feel rather contrived and unrealistic. It was about a new app called VEIL that allows people to share their artwork anonymously with the people within a five mile radius of them, that completely overtakes the school, and blows up to become the next big thing that everyone is infatuated with. For example:
—I had a hard time believing that everyone could become so obsessed with it so quickly, especially with other social media sites out there like Instagram where people can still share their art anonymously, as long as they don’t use their real name or picture when they sign up on the site? I mean, I post my reviews here with a fake name it’s not like this is exactly a revolutionary concept?
–Also not to sound like a cynic but I have a hard time believing so many people care about art and post and look at art lmao; I’m sure it would be popular among artists but for basically everyone in the entire school (and beyond) to be obsessed with it is a bit of a reach?
—The fact everyone from Ivy’s high school and nobody else seems to be on it is a bit strange? Yeah, it’s within a five mile radius, but the people living in my neighborhood can funnel to like two high schools and three middle schools, not to mention a bunch older 20 or 30 somethings who would probably be using the app if teens were?
–Concerning the hate mentioned above, the fact that so much of the plot and so much angst and scandal (for lack of a better word) revolves around one troll post is a bit unbelievable. I mean, let’s be real; as much as we want the internet to be a place of only positivity, there is bound to be hate and hurtful posts, and it’s unrealistic that after months, there is only one hateful post.
–This was kind of small but I don’t get why Ivy was constantly taking photographs of VEIL posts with her film camera and then being worried that people would find them and judge her? It’s established that she likes to shoot in film, which is cool, but I don’t understand why she wouldn’t just take a screenshot here? Does she never use her phone camera?
Ivy herself was also a pretty annoying and unlikable character. For one thing, she literally never supports her “best friend” Harold in his 1092384234o clubs, or even really cares about what he’s doing when he’s trying his hardest to get into an elite college. We’re told repeatedly that the two of them are best friends, but I never see that or see why? It’s established that Ivy is shy, but you can’t even passively sit at one club meeting?
She also repeatedly complains that her parents don’t care about her art, and mentions how annoyed she is that her parents never sent her to art camp even though she never mentions it herself? I mean…are you mad at them for not being mind readers? Particularly since she’s supposedly so shy, they might think that she wouldn’t even like art camp because it would require leaving the house and being social (that would be me lmao).
Finally, what really annoyed me was the fact that she really cared so much about protecting internet privacy, while at the same time trying to discern the identities of VEIL posters? I mean, hypocrite much?
I felt really iffy about the diversity and representation in this book. At one point, Ivy is talking to someone about being shy, and she’s like “it’s called being shy” and the person is like, “no, it’s called social anxiety.” I was just like ??? This is the only time it’s mentioned in the whole book, and considering Ivy still hangs out with people outside of school, and walks up and talks to random strangers, I really didn’t think…it felt like she had social anxiety? I’m NOT ownvoices so I can’t talk about the representation personally but it didn’t really sit well with me the way there was that one throwaway line in there.
The lgbtq+ representation was questionable too, in my opinion. There is a significant amount of talk about a homophobic hate post online, but the actual consequences and implications of that post were never really mentioned. It was more like, this post is so homophobic it’s disgusting what an internet troll omg horrible! There’s also talk of the formation of a Pride Club, and talk of it being a good thing, but we never actually experience a pride club meeting or get to see firsthand why? Also, Ivy outs someone she thinks (but doesn’t know) is gay in front of a huge crowd without ever talking to him about whether he wants to come out… The main character is straight, she crushes on/loves boys. There are no lgbt relationships in this book. Yet lgbtq+ themes (for lack of a better word) took up a significant part of the plot. It’s like, let’s just have straight people talk about lgbtq+ people without actually showing lgbtq+ people? Idk if that made sense, but overall it was just very iffy.