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What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
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What to Say Next

by Julie Buxbaum

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1941893,630 (4.14)3
When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, Kit asks David for his help figuring out the how and why of her father's tragic car accident.
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Kit's father died in a car accident a month ago and today she can't handle how normal her friends are acting so she sits with David instead. Throughout their high school career, he's sat alone at lunch with huge noise-cancelling headphones on. Kit is taken aback by David's straightforward honesty, but finds it more refreshing than the way everyone talks around the subject of her father's death. David appreciates Kit's questions and attention when most find him odd and annoying. A friendship develops between the two, confusing everyone at their school, including themselves.

David is on the autism spectrum and the fact that "autism" and "Asperger's" where basically treated like dirty words throughout the novel was disappointing. There was a continual feeling that David always had to be the one to change and act more "normal" and no one else had to accommodate him or adjust their behavior for him. For example,David's makeover at the hands of his sister felt supremely unnecessary. He dressed the way he dressed because it was comfortable. His new clothes were too stimulating and distracting, which is why he didn't want to change his clothes in the first place. Why should it matter whether he's wearing fashionable clothing or not? Why does he need to be suddenly attractive to be liked and respected by his peers? On the one hand, Lauren's desire to see David treated better is laudable but why does that have to happen just because he's wearing different clothes? Her gift of the journal feels like a more sympathetic way of helping David navigate difficult social situations without changing who he is or what he's comfortable with.

And don't get me started on the school principal and the way she was willing to punish David for self-defense without addressing the root issues of the bullies because the bullies were football players. David should not have gone through 12 years of school in the same district without these problems ever being addressed. He definitely shouldn't be the only one punished because he was more capable of defending himself than anyone expected. The fact that there was no real resolution to this problem with the principal felt wrong. There should have been more follow-up, rather than having the whole episode be dropped.

David's stealth social skills tutor also felt incredibly sketchy. Why not tell him from the beginning that that's what Trey was? Why hide it under the guise of guitar lessons? It seems infantalizing not to be upfront with him. He's capable of making these decisions himself. And as he displayed when he did find out, he would have agreed to the social skills tutor anyway because he knows that's something he isn't going to get on his own and that he can't learn online.

For the most part, the book was good. The relationship was nice. I loved David as a character and Kit was pretty wonderful as well. I loved David's relationship with Lauren (A siblings) and Kit's relationship with her mom was nuanced and compelling. But some of the ways the narrative treated David was very disappointing, which prevents this from being any higher rated. ( )
  irasobrietate | Jun 4, 2019 |
I had previously read Julie Buxbaum’s Tell Me Three Things and loved it. One of my favorite BookTubers raves about What to Say Next and since I really enjoyed the other book, I knew I wanted to pick it up. The beginning was a little slow and I was not really sure if this was going to be for me though. However; I was wrong.

This story does follow the story of two teenagers: Kit and David. Kit is grieving the loss of her father. David is a high school student with Asperger’s and dealing with being different and bullied in school. Their stories collide as you witness the beginning of their friendship/romance.

This had some twists and turns along the way. It was so real in many ways, but others was a little unbelievable. It made me smile and it made me sad. There are things that happen that were unexpected. I ended up loving this.

Overall, I think this was another amazing read from the author. ( )
  SimplyKelina | Mar 18, 2019 |
So this was a pretty great portrayal of 1) dealing with the grief of losing ones father and 2) showing readers how the mind of someone on the spectrum could work.

This isn't necessarily the best 'romance' book but the relationship that grows between David and Kit is pretty great. A lot of people make snap judgments when it comes to those of us who aren't neurotypical, freak, retard, loser, stupid, you name it. I loved that Kit eventually saw that David was ... amazing. Funny, smart and his brain! I fell a little in love with him through the course of this book if we're being honest.

The one thing that kinda bothered me was, David reminded me a lot of Shay Savages MC from
[bc:Win Some, Lose Some|31558066|Win Some, Lose Some|Shay Savage|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1474621700s/31558066.jpg|52240614] David didn't have the same OCD symptoms but the whole, they just happen to be really hot and take martial arts ??? Still a great read don't get me wrong it just made me a little uncomfortable when it got to that part because it seemed a little too similar. ( )
  NerdyHousewifey | Feb 1, 2019 |
I read this book to be a part of an online book discussion, One Book One Facebook, and although I probably won't join the discussion tonight I'm so happy I read the book! It was dealing with family tragedy during hard teenage years and a young boy with Aspergers. The book was well written and I enjoyed it and will recommend it to my reader friends. ( )
  mchwest | Mar 18, 2018 |
I picked up this book because I will read pretty much any love story with an autistic protagonist. I wasn't sure what to expect; the cover suggested something lighthearted and quirky, which ended up being a...sort of accurate impression? While it's definitely not dark, it's not a fluffy summer read either. The plot centers on Kit coming to terms with her father's death, while bonding with another student. There is a lot of humor and warmth, so despite grief being a central theme, I came away with goodfeels.

David, while not officially diagnosed with Asperger's, has a lot of the traits associated with ASD--he takes things literally, he has difficulty reading people, etc. As a result, he's always been an outcast at school. Maybe that's why Kit feels a connection to him. One day she sits with him at lunch on an impulse, and they start getting to know each other.

I liked both these characters a lot. The plot is fairly simple (though there was one twist toward the end), and even with the serious themes it is somewhat on the lighter side. So if you're looking for a sweet, refreshing romance with some diversity, this will satisfy your craving. ( )
  AJSteiger | Mar 5, 2018 |
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Epigraph
The book of love is long and boring.
No one can lift the damn thing.
--THE MAGNETIC FIELDS
Dedication
For Josh, the president of my first tribe.
So happy you let me keep my lifetime membership.
I love you.
And for Indy, Elili, and Luca: my heart,
My reason, my home, my tribe, my life.
First words
An unprecedented event: Kit Lowell just sat down next to me in the cafeteria.
Quotations
Much like ordering steak and naming children, language seems inherently and irrationally optimistic; we just assume other people understand what we are talking about.
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