Last year I read Tell Me Three Things and I really loved it. So when I found out that Julie Buxbaum was releasing another book, What to Say Next, I knew I had to read it. I got it on the day it came out, but I didn’t get to it until last month. If you want to know what I thought, keep reading!
I love this cover. It’s simple, but very sweet. The colors and the cups give me a feeling of summer. This cover makes me very happy.
The plot wasn’t as fluffy as the cover makes you think. This book follows Kit and David. Kit just recently lost her father and isn’t sure how to go back to “normal”. David is more socially isolated, even more so since his sister graduate high school, and sits alone at lunch. Kit is more of a popular kid, so her path doesn’t really cross David’s. Until one day when Kit doesn’t know how to handle everything after he father dies. She doesn’t feel like people understand her and doesn’t really understand it herself. Everything is moving forward even though she’s not ready for that yet. Kit sits down at David’s lunch table. David always sits alone and is unsure how to handle it. He tells is like he sees it and Kit appreciates this. A unexpected friendship develops. David helps Kit figure out the how and why of her father’s car accident. I loved the pacing of this story. Everything developed in a normal pace. There was no instant love or anything like that. This story explored grief and how an unlikely friendship can form and what others think of this. Her writing was very realistic and I feel that this is something that could actually happen. This book had me laughing out loud and crying a few times. A perfect combination, haha. Except when you’re traveling on the train and are sniffling while reading, haha.
Julie Buxbaum created two amazing characters. Kit, a girl who has to deal with grief way too early. She needs to find her way all over again. Not only her own emotions, but her relationships with her family and friends. In the beginning she really only thinks of herself. Which I think is personally normal considering the situation, but her friends have a hard time with her shutting them out. Not only that, but also the relationship with her grieving mother. During this time she finds out her mother isn’t as perfect as she thought. David, a boy who has problems understanding social cues, but states in the beginning that he doesn’t have autism. He has a hard time reading people and trusts too easily. This has gone wrong a few times, so his sister helped make him a notebook to write down information about his classmates and events that help him know if he can trust them or not. These are written down in a way that other people wouldn’t be happy if it got out, but it helps him understand his world a bit better. He says everything like he sees it and has no filter. He is very surprised when Kits sits down next to him at lunch. Change is hard for him, so it opens a whole new world. David has to deal with emotions he doesn’t understand.
I can’t say much more without spoiling what happens in this book, but Julie Buxbaum wrote very realistic characters. Considering the field I studied in, I love the fact that she discusses grief and autism. Grief is different for everyone and can influence many aspects of somebody’s life. This can be hard for people to understand, especially teenagers who are still growing up and may not have experienced it themselves. Autism is something in many shapes and sizes. The diagnosis isn’t one size fits all. I loved that one of the main characters had autism and we got a look into how someone can be. I personally don’t think there are enough books about that. It shows that people who are totally different can still get along just fine.
For me this was the perfect book to read near the end of the summer. Julie Buxbaum has become an autobuy author for me. I can’t wait to read more from her. Have you read this book? What did you think?