What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

Annike: Hey guys, sorry that some of the reviews are a little backlogged at the moment but I read What To Say Next towards the end of September and wanted to review it to let you guys know what it was like and how I found it so here goes…

30199656.jpgKIT: 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 is the second book I have read of Julie Buxbaum’s, the first being Tell Me Three Things and I really liked this book just as I liked that one. I found this book quite different however as it focused on David Drucker, a teenage boy with Asperger’s and Kit Lowell, a teenage girl struggling with the death of her dad in a car accident. David’s voice initially reminded me of Don Tillman from The Rosie Project because that is the only other book I have read about characters on the spectrum but as the book continued and I got to know David better, I found that I really like him as a character even though he was hard to understand at times.

For starters, I think it’s so great to have such diversity among young adult fiction as Kit was a half Indian character and David suffered with Aspergers as well as mentions of mental illness being present in the book in regards to David’s sister and Kit. I think such unique voices are really interesting to read about and this gave the book such a unique outline.

This book took me much longer that I expected it to take seeing as it only has 300-ish pages and I think this was because it is quite slow paced. The story starts with Kit coming to sit at David’s lunch table after she can just no longer bare to be around her friends who are acting so normal as she falls apart at school. It then goes to explore the relationship between David and Kit as they go from sitting together at lunch to going out after school together and even starting ‘The Accident Project’ where David investigates the accident in which Kit’s dad died in. I will say that there were a few climactic events in the book where surprises came out and secrets were revealed but other than that I found that the book wasn’t particularly gripping in any other ways.

I do want to commend Julie Buxbaum’s writing style and the way that she was able to channel both characters perfectly when each of their perspectives were being told. They had such individual voices that were likeable and easy to connect with and I do think this is particularly important in stories. I also found that family played a large part in What to Say Next, whether it was just Kit and her Mum and the struggles they were finding in coping with Kit’s Dads death or whether it was David and his whole family who were so loyal to him and focused on keeping him safe. I think my favourite character would have to be Lauren – David’s sister because of the way she was to perceptive and so caring for David. Even while she was dealing with her own demons she always stuck up for David and through David’s perspective you could tell just how much he loved her.

Overall, I did like this book, maybe not as much as I was expecting to like it but definitely enough to keep me reading. It dealt with some important issues including acceptance, diversity and familial relationships and even with some of the typical stereotypes and slow pacing I would recommend it to all young adult readers out there. I have heard some really amazing reviews on the book too so it is definitely worth a shot and if you do get to it I really hope you love it – possibly more so than me 🙂

Thanks for reading guys, hope you have a great rest of the week and we will be back in a couple of days for another post!

3/5 stars


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