What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum 

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  3,111 Ratings  ·  659 Reviews
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What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
Two struggling teenagers find an unexpected connection just when they need it most.

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 if we all jumped out of our boxes and chewed up our stupid labels? Who would we discover?”

“I think about my dad's favorite expression: People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. What is my house made of? Paper, I decide. Like in a pop-up book. Easily collapsible.”

“And now that I've been exposed to this feeling, perfect mouth against perfect mouth, the natural order of things, I wonder why people don't kiss all day, every day. How does anything ever get done?”

“I realize we all walk around pretending we have some control over our fate, because to recognize the truth--that no matter what we do, the bottom will fall out when we least expect it--is just too unbearable to live with.”

“There's a famous expression that if you've met one person with autism, then... you've met one person with autism.
So you met me.
Just me.
Not a diagnosis.

I realize I hurt you. I forgot to think about you first. I did not put myself in your shoes, as the expression goes. (Though as a sidebar, I think wearing other people's shoes is kind of disgusting; I'm only okay with the concept metaphorically.)

So you know, you are all I think about.”



Julie Buxbaum has earned a title in my book for ‘auto-buy authors’ bc damn HER BOOKS ARE SO CUTE !!! i feel like im getting diabetes everytime I read them

Not to be sentimental or anything, but Tell Me Three Things went down in my ‘all-time-fav-contemporaries’ bc THAT’S HOW GOOD IT WAS

Her stories aren’t the cheesy cute that makes you want to regurgitate your lunch either (thank goodness for small mercies) but those really poignant, charming, sweet, heartfelt little cutenesses that make you feel ~*emotions*~ (who allowed that to happen??)

- David
- David Drucker
- David Drucker talking about quantum mechanics
- David Drucker and his relationship with his big sister
- as a big sister I can confirm that we need more little brothers asking their big sisters for advice RATHER than treating us like little sisters
- **im looking v pointedly at someone right now**
- David being a little cutie and writing down social cues and idioms and trying to understand what ‘friendzoned’ means
- What a cutIE gahhhhhhhhhh
- My heart is melting awwwwwwww
- How David doesn’t realize how bluntly hilarious he is
- There was not so much romance as there was friendship building with a little dash of romance
- So that was pretty chill
- Also it’s a v good summer read when you find your skin melting
- V refreshing

- Kit’s kinda annoying not gonna lie
- She needs to just rethink a few things in her life – mainly her entire being
- But besides that she’s alright
- she’s going through some ish – character development and all – so I can try to sympathize
- that’s about all the cons
- oh the ending was left quite vague
- which is alright for a contemporary but it was left REALLY vague
- so

It’s nice to sit with someone and not have to think about what to say next.

4.5 stars!!
if my bby david wants to talk about quantum mechanics, stop everything because he. is. happiness.

<- 4.5 stars -> and my 500th rtc


Update: I just realized that my pp matches this book's cover and I low key love it.

What to Say Next seems like a very cute contemporary and perfect for them 🔥 days out here so please don't disappoint me, I'm begging ... also, the cover is making me crave a smoothie 🌞
Julie Buxbaum was added to my favorite authors list after reading Tell Me Three Things last year and she solidified her spot on my auto-buy list with What To Say Next.

I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I could not put this book down. I started and completed it on a trip earlier this year simply because I was so invested in these characters and their stories! I found myself in that awkward spot where you want to hug and guide and protect a literary character and I’m not even sorry about it.

David is on the spectrum… and he has a hard time determining who means well and who doesn’t when interacting with others. His older sister watched out for him quite a bit, and helped him create his notebook of facts that he can rely on to help keep things straight, but he still finds himself in predicaments that are so frustrating to see. But he’s so incredibly smart and amazing and I just absolutely love him.

Kit has always been part of the popular crowd, but with the death of her father, she finds that no one can understand what she’s dealing with. Everyone is telling her that it’s time for her to move on but she just can’t. She can’t figure out what is supposed to be next for her.

When Kit decides to sit with David at lunch one day, everything changes. She asks for his help to figure out what really happened with the car accident her father was in, and he can’t resist the lure of the puzzle… no matter what the story might tell once he figures it all out.

I can’t even explain to you guys in words how I felt about David while reading this book. Like I mentioned above, I wanted to protect him from the inevitable bullying that occurs when you’re different… but it was wonderful to see that he had people who were there for him. His relationship with his sister Lauren, was pretty amazing.

This has some heartbreak for sure and the ending will hit you so unexpectedly, but it is such an amazingly told story filled with beautiful, complicated characters that are so raw and real.

Thank you for sharing this story and these characters Julie… I can’t wait to revisit them again soon!
Thank you to the publisher for an early copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.
I would give this 10 stars if I could. I adore everything Julie Buxbaum writes, but especially this tale of what happens when an autistic boy falls in love with a popular teenage girl whose father has just been killed in a car crash. Both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time.  
I'm not sure why I put this one off for so long because it was amazing.

I love love loved Kit and David. They're both going through so much {her dad's death, his autism} and it was easy to settle in and root for them. It was refreshing to have their voices and inner monologues sound so distinguishable. I wanted to jump in and smoosh them both.

Plot wise it's hopeful and funny and heartbreaking and mean. I actually cheered out loud at one scene and read way too much into some things and didn't even see others. The last few chapters almost broke my heart, but by the end, I was put back together.

Ideally, I would have loved an epilogue or something set in the future, but that's just me being greedy. I wasn't quite ready to be finished with these two, so I'm sure I'll be visiting this story again.
What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Source: My Free Kindle

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 I Liked:

My sincerest apologies to the publisher, who sent a review copy to me, probably with expectations of me reviewing this book about a month before publication. It is April 18th and I hate to review a book almost three months in advance, but I had been dying to read this book for so long and I've had it for months and I couldn't wait any longer! I had fairly high expectations for this standalone, after the perfection that was Tell Me Three Things, and I was not disappointed.

David can best be described as a loner in high school - he is always by himself, in his own world, with his headphones and his notebook and his incredible IQ. David is on the autism spectrum, with high-functioning autism, possibly Asperger's. No one outside of his family and his guitar tutor really talks to him. Until one day, when Kit Lowell sits at his table at lunch. Kit's father died a month ago, and she is grieving in her own way. She pulls away from her friends and wants peace and quiet - which is why she chooses to sit with David, on the day one month after her father died. David is incredibly honest and he doesn't quite have social skills like everyone else. But Kit likes this about him, and realizes that she enjoys his company. And David - David realizes that he enjoys talking to Kit. He has always liked her, but talking to someone like they do is new for him. This unlikely friendship blossoms, but it's not without its problems. But both Kit and David will learn things that they were not expecting, when it comes to Kit's father's death, and they may not be prepared to deal with what comes next.

I think I loved pretty much everything about this book. David, Kit, David and Kit, friendships, family, the "story" (that's a vague term) - everything about this book clicked for me. I don't usually like tough-issue YA contemporary novels, but I really enjoyed this book. Though the book should have carried a dark, depressing tone, it didn't, and I think this definitely boosted my enjoyment. This is a light book (though not fluffy), but it also addressed the deeper issues with a more serious tone. I also loved that it was written in alternating POVs (David and Kit's first-person POVs).

I'm going to start with David. Ahhh, David! I adored David. You can tell right from the start that he is different. He is incredibly intelligent, and extremely literal, and his social skills and mannerisms are very different compared to many of the other high school students. David has high functioning autism, but you might never know. Unfortunately, the kids at school have always known, and in middle school, many boys were really cruel to him. But David has really grown since then, and he is doing much better in terms of discerning "good" people from "bad" (in terms of their intentions toward him). David is a sweetheart! He is also kind of a superhero - he practices karate and krav maga (though why he learns/practices is heartbreaking).

Also, I think Buxbaum really captured the struggles of being autistic (David) and having an autistic child (David's parents). So much prejudice and judgment rolled off everyone around David, which infuriated me - but it happens in real life all the time, which is a big part of why it made me mad. The author included so many obvious and subtle reminders of the way society treats those who are intellectually different or "weird".

On the other hand, we have Kit Lowell. Her father died a month ago in a car accident, and Kit has not been handling his death well (that sounds insensitive, I'm sorry!). Kit shuts out everyone, including her best friends and her mother. Talking to David helps Kit, and his friendship matters a lot to her. Kit is such a strong and tough girl, and my heart hurt for her over and over. But I also loved how kind and "normal" she was with David (i.e. she didn't really treat him any differently compared to anyone else). Kit is a good person as well.

And what's neat is that Kit is half-Indian! Her dad is (was) white, and her mom is Indian (as in India). I'm Indian and I always get tickled pink when I stumble upon an Indian main character. You wouldn't be able to tell (sorry to stereotype, but "Katherine Lowell" doesn't scream Indian girl), and she's half-Indian (as opposed to "full" Indian), but I love how important her's mother culture is to Kit. Well, the food definitely is. But there are lots of sprinkles of Indian culture and Sikh religion throughout the story, which were subtle and much appreciated. Kit's identity isn't really part of the story (meaning, she isn't struggling with her mixed ethnicity), but I like that it comes up every now and then.

Also, it's cool that the author did her research in terms of Indian culture, to really nail down Kit's mom. Kit herself isn't as "Indian" as her mom, but the author still made a point to make Kit's mother's culture and past a part of the story. I think the author did just fine with that.

I loved seeing David and Kit's friendship develop! At first it's tentative and awkward, with the two of them trying to navigate each other's worlds. But they fit well together, and they understand each other. I've not read too many books with a protagonist with autism (of any part of the spectrum), so it was very interesting for me to read from David's POV. I loved seeing Kit through his eyes, as odd as his mind is. The progression of their relationship is sweet, from friendship to something more.

The romance was swoony in a subtle way. There isn't a ton of kissing in this book, but it's a swoony book nonetheless. David is such a sweetheart. Kit is great, but guys, DAVID.

Did I mention that David is seriously good-looking and tall and super muscly from all of that karate and krav maga? Yeah. Intelligent, sweet, tall, muscular? He's my type, I can tell.

Another thing worth pointing out is Kit's relationship with her (existing) friends. She pushes them away, and you would have thought that they would turn into mean girls and ignore her and whatnot. And they did for a second, but I love that they were patiently waiting for her to come back to them (so to speak), and they stuck with her. And they eventually accepted David, which was nice (although took them long enough). I hate Kit's male friends - they are walking cliches of high school douchebags that I hated (sorry not sorry). Buxbaum captured those guys pretty well.

The climax comes up pretty quickly, and it involves something about Kit's father's death. Buxbaum put the together such that Kit's father's death was slowly unveiled to readers, and you knew a big thing was going to be revealed at the end. It seemed periphery compared to all of the changes happening to and between Kit and David, so the big thing took me by surprise. It was heartbreaking, but it made sense. The ending in general is bittersweet, but also hopeful. It made me smile. It's the type of ending that is incredibly realistic, but also very satisfying. I loved it - and the book!

What I Did Not Like:

More kissing! This book is fairly short (though incredibly dense), and what better to plump it up than with kissing scenes? (This is most definitely an Alyssa complaint, don't mine me!)

Would I Recommend It:

I highly recommend this book, YA contemporary fan or not. Guys, I'm not a YA contemporary fan. I haven't read anything by Sophie Kinsella or Jennifer Niven, or any of those other powerhouse "tough-issue" YA contemporary authors. I haven't read anything by Jennifer E. Smith or Sarah Dessen or John Green or Morgan Matson. YA contemporary is not my thing. But Julie Buxbaum's YA books are so wonderful and so touching. Her books explore so many issues (grief, friendships, family relationships, romantic relationships), and are always very engrossing. This book is different compared to other YA contemporary novels, and not just because of its autistic lead.


4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars. I'm a picky rater. I can't wait to read more from Buxbaum! She is wonderful and so are her books. I think I may try her adult books, though I am on cloud nine with her YA books and might stay content with just these. Heart eyes for days!
 "I realize we all walk around pretending we have some control over our fate, because to recognize the truth – that no matter what we do, the bottom will fall out when we least expect it - is just too unbearable to live with."

My first thought after reading What to Say Next was this: Kasie West, move over. I think West has dominated as my favorite author for YA contemporary (partly because she pumps out books so quickly) However, Buxbaum is fast on her way to being my new favorite. Tell Me Three Things was already on my favorites this, and not this one gets to join its ranks. I will read anything by her now. If you are a fan of YA contemporaries, don't wait too long to read this. It is sooooo goooood. Heartwarming and devastating at the same time.

WTSN is about Kit whose dad just died in a car accident, and in an attempt to avoid the pressure of acting normal again sits with the guy, David, who always sits alone. Expecting to be able to sit without expectations and without talking, Kit finds an unexpected friendship with David. David finds his world expanding exponentially as he comes to befriend Kit.

The Story-Guys this book was both heartwarming and devastating at the same time. At first, I thought this might fall into the ugly duckling trope… you know the one where one character helps the shy character break their mold, be popular, or just live up to all their hidden potential. Now while Kit eventually did break David out of his shell, she didn’t expect him to or want him to change. It was the experience of befriending Kit that helped David change. The change wasn’t to make more friends or be popular; it was to embrace himself as he was.

"Usually they end with me promising to try harder, though I never really know what I’m promising to try harder to do.
Be normal I think.
Be like the neurotypical, which is another way of saying “everyone else.”
Be less like me.
I no longer want to be less like me."

Truly, the peculiar friendship that they build is what drives this story; the awkwardness and coping with the heavy matters as well as what can be the most trivial things to the “normal” kids.
What’s also great about this book as a YA contemporary about a boy and girl is that it is not largely driven by romance or hatred. Their friendship was brought to them by the death of Kit’s dad and a huge part of the book is how being friends with David acts that helps Kit get not necessarily over it, but through it, along with the other issues she has going on. It’s David’s awkward directness that helps her feel like she doesn’t have to pretend she’s okay.

The Characters- I love David Drucker. Of all the boys in any YA contemporary book, I think he is my favorite. It isn’t because he’s good looking, smart, or just generally a sweet guy (in his own way). It was his inner monologues. David takes everything literally.

Also, the way David approaches his problems are so logical, even though sometimes his logic isn’t how we understand it. It’s the moments when he doesn’t understand why things are happening the way they are that pushes him overboard, and that is probably the most devastating part because it’s in those moments when you realize the only person who can really help him is himself pushing outside of his normal understanding.

"…let her no shit pass without comment, even though she knows it’s an expression I do not like. It makes me think of constipation, which makes me think about grunting, my least favorite noise, after squawking and chewing. I also have a list of favorite noises. It has one item on it: Kit’s laugh."

Kit’s a bit in over her head emotionally, and I feel sorry for her situation. What I loved about Kit was that she didn’t have any ulterior motives or negative feelings towards David to start. She is aware of how he has been treated in the past or how he’s reacted in stressful situations, never made it her mission to be any sort of bully towards him. With that being said, she still fell into the category of kids that ignore him, until that is he changes her view. In her way she helps David experience teenage life like he’s never had the opportunity to and he broadens her narrow way of looking at life.

The Connection-I feel like this book takes on the bullying aspect without it being the sole focus. It’s more of the reaction from David that we experience. In this situation it is a much highly irregular situation as it wasn’t just because he was poor, ugly, or just unpopular. It truly was his personality that triggers the way people treated him…not that it’s any excuse. The sad part is everyone knows that this kind of treatment happens and it’s incredibly heart breaking. It’s heart breaking for both people like David, for the kids that just don’t know any better, and for the kids who pretend it isn’t happening. I think that’s where the book really hits home, because let’s be real, its actually small amount of people who are the true bully, it’s the rest of us that stand by that make the vast majority and why people can relate to Kit, even if the rest of her circumstances aren’t the same.
I can not stop gushing over this hell of a book!
The story includes everything a contemporary novel should which is why I loved it and I just adored David's character so freaking much!! <3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3 (this was me trying to say how much I loved David's character)
Also if you liked All The Bright Places you'll love this one though the story line is obviously a bit different.
This book... THIS BOOK!!

Amazing. I loved every second and every page of reading this story.

This book is told from two different perspectives (which I love) Kit and David. Kit is a popular girl who has recently gone through the tragedy of her father passing away in a car accident. David is a very unpopular, quiet loner who falls on the high functioning end of the Autism spectrum. The two develop an unlikely friendship as Kit searches for a quiet place in the lunch room and sits down at David's table. The friendship that develops between this two characters is beautiful and will make your heart feel all the things. Characters make a book for me and I absolutely loved David.. his character was unique and funny and relatable to everyone who has felt socially awkward in their lives. Both characters went through a great deal of development throughout this short book and I so appreciated that. This story is both heartbreaking and heartwarming, a fantastic balance of the two. My only complaint of this book is that I wish it was longer. I was hooked from the first chapter.

I clearly highly recommend this book! If you haven't read it yet, get your hands on a copy and enjoy!
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30199656-what-to-say-next

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