Monday, June 5, 2017

Early Review: What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

What to Say Next
by Julie Buxbaum
Read: January 23 - 24, 2017
Published: July 11, 2017 by Delacorte Press
Source: ALA MW 2017 
Category: YA, Contemporary, Grief, Romance, Autism

Book Description: 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?

What to Say Next manages to be both a quick read and sweet romance, while also tackling some heavy themes. 

Kit is trying to figure out how to piece her life back together after her dad died in a car accident a month ago. Nothing feels the same anymore, and she doesn't know how to fit back into her world of friends and school and extracurriculars. That's when she decides to sit with David Drucker at lunch. David is a boy who sits alone, wears big headphones all the time, and tries to go unnoticed from his classmates. Kit thinks sitting with David will give her a moment of peace and quiet. But then he surprises Kit by talking to her - and in a way that is direct and honest and refreshing to Kit. They begin a friendship that seems unlikely at first, but works in an amazing way. 

Both of the main characters in this story grabbed me right away. Kit is still struggling with grief over her father's recent death and she is putting constant pressure on herself for not feeling back to "normal" already. Then further revelations come in this story, which are even more of a blow for her. As hard as it was to watch Kit face this, I appreciate that the author gave Kit the room to walk through her pain and loss without rushing her out of it. I could also understand Kit's connection to David, and her need to seek out someone outside of her friend circle who sees life differently from her. 

David is brilliant and straightforward, and by high school standards, really weird. Although he knows the label doesn't exist in the DSM5, David would tell you that he falls on the Asperger's spectrum (now I think it's high functioning autism). This boy, I loved everything about him. He struggles to understand social cues and doesn't like loud noise or disorder, but he does the best that he can in a place that is hostile to anything different. David has the most tremendous support from his family, who made me cry at how amazing they are. And maybe surprisingly, or not, he is a really great match for Kit. I love, love the way he sees her, and the fact that she recognizes his beauty too (inside and out) even when no one else does. They work in a way that doesn't make sense to everyone else. But with mean classmates and new revelations and trying to survive life, their road isn't the easiest. GAH! I love these two so much. The only thing I wish is that there'd been an epilogue, or a little bit more at the end. 

Highly Recommended. So far I have loved both of Julie Buxbaum's YA contemporaries. I can't wait to see what she writes next. 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone 

P.S. I've been a little MIA because I was in NYC for BEA last week. It was a great trip, though I missed seeing so many people who weren't there this year! Will share more about my experience in another post. 

1 comment:

  1. Eee, lovely review Lauren :D You are making me curious about this one. Not my genre, but gosh, you make this one sound so cute and awesome. Yesss for loving the couple :D They sound so good. Sigh. Thank you for sharing sweetie. <3 So glad you loved this one :)


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