What to Say Next was a pleasant surprise. I haven’t read Buxbaum’s YA debut novel, Tell Me Three Things, but I bought it immediately after reading this book. I picked up What to Say Next at the North Texas Teen Book Festival this past March. I didn’t know much about it. Truthfully, I just picked it up from the booth.
Well, I’m glad I did. So glad.
Title: What to Say Next
Author: Julie Buxbaum
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Expected release date: July 11, 2017 (tomorrow!)
Genre: Young adult, contemporary
Length: 272 pages (U.S. hardcover)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads) “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?”
This book made me feel a wide range of emotions. Sure, you might be thinking, don’t other books? Yes, they do, but this one was different in the best way.
First off, I want to say that David, one of the main characters, is on the autism spectrum. I don’t have any first had experience with autism, so I won’t speak for the rep in this book. I can’t only go by what the author herself included in her acknowledgements, in which she says she did a lot of research for this book. Kudos to her. I hope it comes across well to other readers.
I loved both Kit and David. Kit’s father was recently killed in a car accident. We don’t much about it because Kit herself doesn’t talk about it much. One day, she randomly decides to sit with David during lunch, but to his surprise. But, it turns out, that the two enjoy each other’s company. I almost felt like David was an anchor for Kit to hold onto. He wasn’t like her friends or the world she had with them, and that’s something she slowly realizes the more she hangs out with him. I found this to be a good thing because Kit can’t go back to who she was before her dad’s fatal car crash.
I enjoyed being inside David’s head. His thought process was logical, with reasoning, but it doesn’t mean it was a little flawed, especially in terms of human interaction. I absolutely adored the relationship he had with his sister, who he nicknamed Miney. David was very much into routine, and he recognized when the smallest things are off, and I think his sister’s return home from college was good for the both of them.
As for Kit, she had a lot to process, especially when she discovered a secret between her parents. Relationships become strained, and Kit has every reason to be angry at her mother. I thought her character was very believable, and I could see myself reacting in a very similar way if I were her age.
The small plot twist in the end I definitely did not see coming! I never would have noticed it either. It was nice to see Kit become a little bit of her old self but also acknowledging that she could never go back. She knows too much now, and now she (and her mother) need time to come to terms with what happened.
If you’re look for a quick yet heartwarming and thought provoking read, pick up this book. You can also check out these other reviews too: