Review: What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

June 26, 2017 Book Review, Young Adult 11 ★★★★½

I received this book for free from Publisher at ALA Midwinter in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

What to Say NextWhat to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
Published by Delacorte Press on July 11th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher at ALA Midwinter
Buy the Book
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?

What to Say Next is my first Julie Buxbaum novel but it won’t be my last! I’m kicking myself for letting Tell me Three Things sit on my shelf, unread, for so long, something I will be rectifying this summer!

It has only been a month since Kit lost her father in a car crash and needing an escape from her friends and their seemingly mundane problems in comparison, she starts to sit with the quiet David at lunchtime. David has a ‘high functioning’ type of autism spectrum disorder, which used to be referred to as Asperger’s syndrome. Both are struggling through very real issues but within each other they see more than the awkward ‘weird’ boy and the girl whose father died.

A beautiful friendship develops between these two and I adored every moment of it! David is very tell it like it is, often brutally honest at times and of the two I found his chapters to be my favorite. I do not have a lot of experience with autism but his POV felt incredibly realistic and well done. Kit is grieving and having a hard time coming to terms with all the pieces of her life and how they’ve changed. Both needed a friend to help navigate their realities and fight back against the labels thrust upon them. Friendship has its way of evolving into romance sometimes and though it starts to blossom in this case, I really liked how their friendship was the focus.

Inclusion is so important in all walks of life and I cannot be more happy with how YA novels are embracing diversity. Julie Buxbaum did a remarkable job in that department (David with Autism and Kit is half-Indian) writing such beautiful voices from our characters and dealing with the more sensitive topics of death and bullying. This was a fairly quick read to get through and I hung onto every page. My heart swelled with joy and broke into pieces at different moments throughout in all the best ways making it a tremendous reading experience I think all should feel for themselves. Do yourselves a favor and pick this one up!

About Julie Buxbaum

Julie Buxbaum is the New York Times best selling author of Tell Me Three Things, her young adult debut, and the critically acclaimed novels The Opposite of Love and After You.  Her work has been translated into twenty-five languages. Julie’s writing has appeared in various publications, including The New York Times. She is a former lawyer and graduate of Harvard Law School and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two young children, and an immortal goldfish. Visit Julie online at and follow @juliebux on Twitter.

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

11 Responses to “Review: What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum”

  1. Rachel @The Readers Den

    Oh, I loved Tell Me Three Things!! I’m not one for YA much lately but JB did such a fantastic job with that story that I suspect this would be a win for me too, especially since you loved it so. I’m definitely requesting a copy from the library. Hopefully they have an audio version. That’s how I “read” TMTT. Hope you love that one as much as I did. Wonderful review! 🙂
    Rachel @The Readers Den recently posted…Review: Until It Fades by K.A. TuckerMy Profile

  2. Alyssa Susanna (The Eater of Books!)

    YAYAYAYAYAYAYAY! I am so glad you enjoyed this book, Sara! I adored it so much. It’s different compared to Tell Me Three Things, but such a beautiful story. You better read Tell Me Three Things asap! I think it’s favorite Buxbaum book, though it’s hard, because I loved this one too. 😀

    Wonderful review! Have a great week. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!
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