What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
Publication Date: July 11, 2017 by Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
[Special thanks to Penguin Random House International for letting me host the blog tour!]
From the New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things comes a charming and poignant story about two struggling teenagers who find an unexpected connection just when they need it most. For fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Niven, and Rainbow Rowell.
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?
It was great to meet David. I enjoyed reading his chapters because he’s very smart and I think he’s cool. But in some ways, he reminded me of Finch from All the Bright Places. They were both labeled freaks.
Kit shared some things with Violet as well. They both lost a family member, and they’re both popular in school.
This book being a reminiscent of All the Bright Places scared me.
There’s another book that I thought of while reading What to Say Next, and it’s Finding Mr. Brightside. The two books share a defining moment, and it made me come up with theories.
David is fearless with his words. He has the power to say the things that we keep to ourselves when we’re told to shut up. He’s not afraid to make a point, especially if his point is valid.
But you see, while I mostly consider honesty as David’s strength, it also happens to be his weakness. And this is why I love Lauren (a.k.a. Miney) and how supportive she is as David’s sister. David’s notebook was her idea, and that notebook really helped him navigate the war zone that is high school.
Kit is dealing with grief, and she needed a break from the world. She found peace in David’s company, and as friendship blossomed between them, they discover truths about each other that might just change the course of their sailing relationship.
Kit and David were awkwardly cute. I think they complement each other, and I rooted for them right from the start. So when the train of revelations started rolling, my heart held tight to the railings and hoped for beautiful things to happen in the end.
They did. ❤
I mean, pinky hand-holding? Twin prime numbers as an analogy for love that stands the test of time? That week-long plan for a ~thing?
I might love Jessie and SN more, but Kit and David have their own charm.
David is an Aspie, and another thing that I loved about this book is the research Julie had done to write this. What to Say Next made me curious about David’s condition. I wanted to know more because I’m not really a socially-aware person and I wanted to change that.
What to Say Next was sweet, but it was raw and it was real. It’s a book that echoed my thoughts on dealing with people – on finding the balance between trusting and holding back. It made me believe more in fate, and in my story unfolding as it should.
Quotes I love:
It’s nice to sit with someone and not have to think about what to say next.
Silence is a tricky thing. It can give different meanings and turn situations around. But with Kit and David, silence is beautiful. They didn’t need words because they know, and they understand.
There’s a stillness to you. Like if you were a radio wave, you’d have your very own frequency. Which is isolating because I don’t think everyone can hear you. I mean, you have lots of other waves too, all those commonly shared frequencies, the ones I most certainly lack, but the most important waves, the core you ones, those are harder for people to decipher. That’s my theory, anyway.
This is when I felt most connected to Kit, and this is when I fell in love with David. This quote is so beautiful – I almost felt like this was written for me.
Prime numbers have to do with everything. But to clarify, that’s what I imagine falling in love is like and then staying married. You start out as low twin primes and as time goes on, if you manage to defy the statistical odds and not get divorced, you become those rarer twin primes, still only separated by two. That’s an amazing feat.
See what I’m talking about with David’s analogy? ❤
What I’m trying to say – badly, I guess – is that we each have the way the world sees us, and you were the very first person at this school, maybe the first person pretty much anywhere except for my immediate family, who looked at me and saw more than the weirdo flapping kid that everyone here has known as David, or I guess shithead. You listened to me talk. And I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. It was like the equivalent of being given a better name.
This spoke to me on a personal level because I, too, felt misunderstood most of the time. I very much appreciate every person who took their time to listen to me and/or read my 10-kilometer messages.
Meeting David and Kit was as refreshing as having a milkshake in the middle of a long, summer day. I found parts of myself in them, and they’re my kind of people. I wish I could meet them in real life.
Julie Buxbaum wrote a book that deserves to be shared with the world.
Final Rating: 5/5