What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
To be published July 11, 2017, by Delacorte Press.
YA > Contemporary, Romance
From the New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things comes a charming and poignant story about two struggling teenagers who find an unexpected connection just when they need it most. For fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Niven, and Rainbow Rowell.
Sometimes a new perspective is all that is needed to make sense of the world.
KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m going through. How could they? I don’t even understand.
DAVID: In the 622 days I’ve attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. I mean, I’ve never once sat with someone until now. “So your dad is dead,” I say to Kit, because this is a fact I’ve recently learned about her.
When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!
After adoring Julie Buxbaum’s previous release, Tell Me Three Things, I knew I was in for a treat with this one! What to Say Next is not only an adorable romance, but it’s a story of loss, family, friendship, and something not often found in YA: a main character with Asperger’s.
The story is told from Kit and David’s alternating perspectives, so we’re able to follow both characters. I loved both characters, but I really appreciated David’s chapters. Through David’s chapters, Buxbaum helps us readers understand what’s going on inside his head, and his internal struggles, while not letting the syndrome define him, or the book. She doesn’t romanticize having a disorder or having a relationship with someone who does. This fact I loved, and I believe it’s a theme the book hopes to help others understand: developmental disorders don’t define someone, it’s just another part of who they are.
I genuinely loved both Kit and David. They were complex and real in their reactions to the life events thrown at them. Kit, by closing herself off. And David, being so incredibly smart and sweet, and sometime too naive about who to trust.
Kit and David’s unlikely friendship was touching to see develop. Kit, handling the loss of her father, finds David to be someone she can trust and confide in, and help her find some closure. In turn, David finds his first friend who sees him for who he truly is.
This was a slower read for me, yet it was one that I kept wanting to come back to. The ending threw me for a bit of a loop, but I appreciated the amount of raw emotion. It was hopeful in a way that I loved.
I think that Buxbaum has created something really special with What to Say Next. I urge you to read it and see for yourself!