What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

A story about forgiveness and finding yourself, What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum is as heartfelt as it is heartbreaking.

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?

I loved this sweet story about two unlikely companions – popular, grieving Kit and social outcast David, who is on the autism spectrum. Alternating POV chapters let us see into both characters’ heads as they struggle through their own challenges, and find comfort and companionship in each other.

The friendship between Kit and David is surprisingly easy, and I loved seeing them open up to each other – and seeing their relationship grow from easy friendship to possible romance. It’s sweet and charming and really, truly believable.

Buxbaum has written realistic, relatable characters – not just in Kit and David, but in their friends and family who orbit within their lives – and the ensemble makes for a truly remarkable reading experience. I loved living in their world and feeling like part of their lives, as tragedy and challenges unfold and are faced.

It was lovely, too, to see Buxbaum address topics like autism, loss of a parent, bullying, etc. in really fresh, unique ways. This felt like a breezy, accessible contemporary – but also new and different from other YA books on store shelves now.

Fall in love with David and Kit’s story when What to Say Next hits store shelves on July 11th.


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