What To Say Next by Julie Buxbaum | Review

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: standalone
Synopsis
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?



One of my favorite reads of last year was Julie Buxbaum's Tell Me Three Things so of course I was rabidly wanting to get my hands on What to Say Next.

I absolutely LOVED What to Say Next--I was thinking and thinking whether I loved it more than TMTT. I don't think I do, but What to Say Next was just... more and this has a lot to do with David and Kit's characters.

What to Say Next is written in alternating first person POV between David and Kit, and I so appreciated being able to read from both of their perspectives. Basically, a month ago Kit Lowell's father tragically died in a car accident and she's having a hard time dealing with his passing. She's feeling very out of sorts and feels like there's two versions of her, the old Kit before her dad died, and the present Kit who did not want to deal with her best friends' normalcy when she's feeling like nothing will ever be normal again. So, she found herself sitting next to David Drucker, someone she's known in the periphery and gone to school with her entire life, but never really associated with. David's first words to Kit were "so, your dad's dead," and Kit found David's candidness refreshing.

So begins the unlikely friendship between Kit, who is considered one of the popular kids, and David, who was very smart but kept to himself and seen by the other kids as "weird." It's not mentioned in the synopsis, but I don't think it's a spoiler (it was revealed in the first chapter) to say that David is on the spectrum--considered to have high-functioning autism. David was such a precious cinnamon roll and I wanted to protect him from those awful kids who treated him like trash because he was different. While his older sister Lauren was in school with him, she looked out for him, but now that she's away in college she helped him put together a notebook to help him navigate through high school. Lauren and David's relationship was one of my favorite parts of the novel and I loved watching David come to his own without losing his David-ness.

I also liked Kit's character a lot. Kit was one of the YA heroines that were imperfectly perfect, and I just felt for her throughout the novel. She went through a lot, and there were bombshells that were revealed about parents and the accident that really rocked her world and what she always believed as true. And she reacted to them the way I imagine I would react if in the same situation at her age. I loved the friendship (and gradually became more) that grew between her and David, as well as how her relationship with her mom evolved, especially since she was always closer to her dad.

I love this amazing book! It's relatively short (under 300 pages) but it packs a lot of emotion that were so deep and real. There were also some scenes that just broke my heart, but there was also humor and I swooned (I swooned the hardest in Chapter 38 when David did all the things) and flailed because it's just so GOOD. The love--whether romantic or familial--and friendships and finding your people, your own tribe, were just the absolute BEST. I had a hard time letting go of the characters after I finished reading this book. 

I don't know if anything I said above convinced you to pick up What to Say Next because I have a hard time articulating my thoughts and feels when I love a book so hard, but if you're planning to pick up just one YA contemporary this summer with all the feels, make it this one. After two 5-star books, Julie Buxbaum is on top of my auto-buy authors for YA contemporary of the romantic variety. I am now rabidly anticipating her next book, and it's going to be so hard waiting since What to Say Next isn't even officially out yet. Oh, well, I'll just have to reread Tell Me Three Things and What to Say Next until then.

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