What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum – YA Contemporary about Friendship and How NOT to Be Awkward

July 20, 2017


Author: Julie Buxbaum
Publisher: Random House
Source: Publisher Provided
Publication Date: 2017
Find the Review elsewhere: 
Amazon | Goodreads | WordPress
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary, Young Adult/Teen
Rating: 4 out of 5

Dreams haunt Kit Lowell. Dreams triggered by the unexpected death of
her father. Despite this, every day, she pretends nothing is wrong. She
listens to her friend’s petty complaints, goes to school and follows the same
routine. Until today. Today she fits at David
Drucker’s table. David is weird (or so he tells us), but as Kit sits at his otherwise empty lunch
spot, she discovers he’s a “good” weird.

David is
different. And he knows it. Boasting an unusual personality, David
doesn’t trust anyone. He’s been on the bad end of school pranks one too many
times which is why he relies on his elder sister’s “guide book” on who not to
trust. Kit Lowell is on the good list. Kit is the girl David has had a crush on
for years, and when she asks him to help to make sense of her father’s
accident, David readily agrees.
But the answers
their project gives may not be what Kit wanted to hear – nor will it cement the
friendship that ties them together.
contemporary books don’t seem to get the attention that other genres receive,
one can argue the genre has been stretching its imagination. A trend I say should be –
and I hope is, commended. Most of the results have been beautifully imagined
and concluded. The same can be said for What
To Say Next
. Unique is in its DNA and (for the most part) it all pays off.
Though she reached
success with her YA debut (Tell Me Three
), I had not read a novel by Julie until the opportunity for her
sophomore release cropped up. Though I cannot speak to her debut, I will say, I
was impressed with what I found inside these pages. The book isn’t a fast
mover (plot wise), which is, sadly, a disadvantage. I felt “stuck” in the first fourth or
even half of the story. Nothing moved towards
the elements mentioned in the synopsis (or the element suggested to be the
“big” conclusion), which left this reader confused.
That said, once I
fell into the rhythm of the first-person switch off, I really did become
invested. David’s brutal honesty won’t appeal to everyone, but he is actually a
wonderful character. I found him refreshing and best of all, I love that Kit responds to this honesty. David comes
into her life precisely when she most needs him, and it’s that which makes the
story work so neatly. Everything falls apart for Kit, and even though her
friends remain, none of them quite know how to handle “Kit 2.0.” How David
jumps into their friendship and challenges her makes them all the more perfect
and good for each other.
Because of the rocky
start, I do feel a slight disconnect
in places of the story. Nonetheless, I do want to clearly say, I really (really) like this book. It’s smart,
witty and a little bit sassy. The ending is ambiguous depending on how you
choose to read it. Some will love this because it allows them to write a kind
of ending for these characters. Others will find disappointment at conclusion’s
end. I’m in the former camp. Though I’ll confess, I was leaning towards the latter,
but then a final chapter came up, and a smile again found its way to my face.
Short in its page
count, the chapters fly by, but the characters work their way into a reader’s
heart. Kit and David are darling, fun and definitely more multifaceted (as
individuals and as a twosome) than many of their fictional peers. ♥

SynopsisSometimes 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? – Goodreads

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a
complimentary copy of this book.

Review text is © Rissi JC and first appeared on Finding
Wonderland (Dreaming Under the Same Moon), RissiWrites.com 


  • Rosie @ Rosie Writes Things

    July 23, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Sometimes it does feel like contemporary books fall under the radar of all the awesome fantasy and sci-fi books out there. It can be hard to create something NEW, and FRESH in the contemporary world — but I've had this one added since I came across it on Goodreads! I haven't read her debut either, although it is on my TBR, I think, but it sounds like this is a book I shall like!

    1. Rissi

      July 25, 2017 at 2:45 am

      Ditto, Rosie. I so agree. I do hope if you have the chance to read this one, that you enjoy! And if you do, let me know what you think. Her YA debut (Tell Me Three Things) is something I added to my shelf after reading this one because, aww, it's so cute! :)

      Happy reading – and thanks so much for visiting.

  • Erica Robyn Reads

    July 31, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Oh this sounds so refreshing! I'll have to check it out! Wonderful review.

    1. Rissi

      August 1, 2017 at 7:56 pm

      It sure is, Erica. Such a unique read, and one that I really enjoyed. :)

  • Bekah M.

    August 7, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    Love your review! I definitely want to read this now. I just bought Tell Me Three Things because of the unbelievable price on Amazon, maybe I'll snag a copy of this next. :)

    1. Rissi

      August 11, 2017 at 10:25 pm

      I saw that price too, Bekah – one of those things you tease about and say, "Well, that's so low I can't afford not to snag a copy." ;) My copy was higher than that (DARN!), but still a really good deal, so I'm happy. :)

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