What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
Publishing Date: July 11
Genre: young adult, contemporary
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?
Kit’s father recently died in a car accident and she’s not ready to handle everyday life just yet. She knows David will be quiet and give her space and peace, so she sits down at his lunch table. David knows Kit’s dad just died, but he doesn’t quite understand why she of all people sat down at his lunch table of all places. The two form an unlikely friendship, with his very literal and honest view of the world and her need for straightforward conversation and understanding. When Kit asks David to help her solve the unsolvable (the hows of the accident), in a semi-rhetorical question for assistance, David will stop at nothing to find the answer. But will their friendship survive the truth?
I laughed, I cried, I hugged my ereader. There are no words to describe the emotional rollercoaster this put me through. Kit’s situation could’ve easily dived into woe-is-me territory, but her grief was handled so well. Meanwhile David, the one who put me through the rollercoaster, is just trying to understand life and not let his autism get in the way.
This has so much in it that’s so good and crucial for people to read. The switched perspectives — the “normal” one in grief and finding solace in another, the autistic one learning how to be a friend and finding joy in social interactions — really lent itself to the story. You see the social hierarchy in schools and how easily one can rise and fall. You see teenagers from different families putting loved ones on pedestals and watching parents or siblings not live up to that image, realizing we’re all human. You see the extent of bullying someone for being different, and on the flip-side you see the love and devotion to someone for their unique abilities and brilliant mind.
I’m in awe. I could go on for ages about how much I wanted to work with autistic children back when I studied psychology (I believe autistic people are brilliant and wonderful and see the world in such beautiful, unique ways), but I’ll not do that. I’ll instead insist that you read this book when it comes out. It’s important that you do. You, too, will be speechless.
Thank you, Edelweiss, for providing this book from Delacorte for review.