Friday, June 2, 2017

What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

David is awkward and doesn't really like his fellow classmates. But Kit is one of the nice ones, so he doesn't mind when she sits at his lunch table. In fact, it's a pretty big deal for him. For Kit, it's an attempt to get away from the noise and the pity and the looks everyone else has been giving her since her father died. A chance to sit in peace and not have to worry about what to say or what will be said next.

David figures it's a one off. But then it happens again. And again after that. And soon the two find themselves becoming closer than either could ever have imagined. But do opposites really attract? Can David and Kit become friends? And if so, can that friendship survive all of their differences?

Julie Buxbaum's latest YA release is incredibly sweet and charming. It's the perfect example of the truth that no one sees you quite like you see yourself.

For example, to David Kit is the most beautiful girl in school. But Kit describes herself as a little too heavy and a little less glamorous than the girls she considers the prettiest in school - including David's older sister.

And to Kit, David may be a bit socially awkward, but she actually finds him quite cute. Even in spite of, or possibly even because of, the fact that her fellow classmates basically shun him. She recognizes something in him that no one but his own family has taken the time to see.

Of course David has already fallen for Kit a little bit. He copes in school by creating a list of those he can trust and those he can't and Kit's actions throughout their years in school together have landed her on the trust list. Which is more than most of the kids in school have going for them as far as David is concerned.

I love how full of life both David and Kit are here. David is, as he states, on the Autism Spectrum. But he's also just himself. And Kit not only accepts that, but likes him for it.

Kit is grieving, suffering greatly in the wake of the loss of her father. David's bluntness and honesty, and time to heal from her loss, turns out to be exactly what she needs. The fact that David expects nothing from her gives her the chance to get close to someone in a way she can't with her friends or even her mother.

The relationships between Kit and David and their families were also quite well drawn. I loved the bond between David and his sister, and the way that it becomes clear David is growing as a character and beginning to see things through the eyes of those around him where she's concerned first. Kit and her mother have a complicated relationship, which only becomes more clear as the story progresses. There too, I thought Buxbaum did a wonderful job of illustrating just how loss in general (because her story is much more than just the loss of her father) wears at a family.

What to Say Next is a touching read that brought me close to tears a few times. (It reminded me a bit of all of the things I loved in Joshilyn Jackson's Someone Else's Love Story!)

What to Say Next doesn't hit shelves until next month, but it's definitely one you'll want to grab as soon as it hits shelves July 11!

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