- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 - 9
- Lexile Measure: 760L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Delacorte Press (July 11, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553535684
- ISBN-13: 978-0553535686
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 143 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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What to Say Next Hardcover – July 11, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—David is a middle-class high school student who describes himself as nonneurotypical, or having a "borderline case of Asperger's." He has a loving family, including an older sister who deftly helps him navigate social interaction, in part through a notebook wherein he describes his world and determines whom he can trust. One of the trusted few is a classmate named Kit, an ambitious only child wracked with grief over her father's death. Fleeing devoted friends who suddenly seem ridiculously shallow and self-absorbed, Kit sits at David's table one day for lunch. Tired of pity and platitudes, she warms to David's "brutal honesty" about the death of her dad. Slowly, with pathos and humor, Kit and David develop a friendship on the outskirts of the high school milieu. Their story emerges from alternating first-person narratives that progress effortlessly. The pair's friendship is tested by David's inability to read cues and by closely held secrets that both of them are nursing. It blooms into first love, and both grow as a result of their challenges. With this layered novel, Buxbaum handles the theme of identity with rare genius. As narrator, David inspires love and respect, not because of his neurological and social struggles, but because he is an admirable human being. His neural challenges do not define him or his trajectory. Similarly, questions abut the meaning and importance of ethnicity (What does it mean to be Asian? Or Italian?) thread their way through the book without overwhelming it. VERDICT A must-have for YA collections.—Sheri Reda, Wilmette Public Library, IL
"Buxbaum uses split first-person narration to give readers striking insight into both teens. . . . Readers will easily see David as a complex, brilliant individual. Discussion of Kit's family and heritage bring additional complexity and depth to his portrait of grief and recovery."--PW
". . . a story of friendship and finding one's tribe. Teens who enjoy sweet, character-driven relationship stories will find their tribe with Kit and David." –VOYA
“Charming, funny, and deeply affecting all at the same time.” –Nicola Yoon, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything and The Sun Is Also a Star
“Heartfelt, charming, deep, and real. I love it with all my heart.” –Jennifer Niven, New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places
"Told in the alternating voices of a girl whose world has been shattered and a boy who is the only person in her life who sees her clearly, WHAT TO SAY NEXT is about the power of connection and the beauty of compassion. With sensitivity, wisdom, and heart, Julie Buxbaum weaves a story in which loss and grieving are balanced by humor and insight. This novel is so compulsively readable that you’ll be surprised how deeply your emotions are stirred."—Christina Baker Kline, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Orphan Train
"Julie Buxbaum has written my perfect love story--two brave, flawed characters ditching the idea of 'normal,' falling in love, and finding the unanswerable answers to life in each other. I adored it."—Cath Crowley, author of Graffiti Moon and Words in Deep Blue
"Among many other YA characters who find love despite their differences, Kit and David stand out." —The Horn Book
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I've read a lot of criticism about this book, and the way it dealt with Asperger's and other factors, but to be completely honest, I felt that this book was such a positive portrayal. In fact, for a good portion of the book, it didn't even occur to me that David had Asperger's or anything else. I know he mentions it, but he mentions it briefly and he mentions a lot of things, I only thought it was one more piece of information he was sharing with us. I thought he was just a really smart, intelligent and socially awkward kid. That's a good thing though, because that's the whole idea isn't it? That these kids are normal, are just the same as everyone else, and should not be treated any different.
I loved Kit and David's relationship, I loved how it progressed and oh man, that first kiss was everything. EVERYTHING.
The whole mystery behind her dad's death was a bit...dramatic. I mean, I saw it coming, but it was definitely dramatic. The family drama with Kit was all kind of dramatic, to tell you the truth. It wasn't the kind of drama that bothered me though. The blow out scene definitely bothered me. I understood both sides of it, although I found it a little harder to understand David's outburst, and I think that was when it really began to sink in that he had Asperger's, because it was such an overreaction over something that doesn't exactly have anything to do with him personally.
It was a very hurtful scene to read, especially coming right after a wonderful night. It hurt to read it, and it hurt to experience it, and it hurt to put myself in both of their shoes.
I loved his road to redemption though and I loved that it was left open-ended, because some things hurt so bad that it isn't easily forgiven or forgotten. I appreciated that.
The one thing that annoyed me was David's sister. She was a pain in the ass. I did not enjoy her character or her interjections in David's life.
Wonderful read. Definitely recommend it.
Kit isn’t feeling like herself after her father’s death in a car accident. On the one-month anniversary of his passing, she sits down next to David at lunch, and finds herself enjoying his company. The rest of the novel is a progression of their friendship. It’s easy to settle into the book and begin to root for them. I loved how unsure of each other they were at the beginning, how awkward but cute their dynamic was.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure how much of the book I could finish. I lost my dad in a car accident and Kit’s grief felt so real to me at times. but it was funny, and interesting, and I just fell in love with their voices, the thoughts in their heads. The romance in the novel wasn’t too much, and I like how Kit’s friends weren’t mean girls to her when she stopped hanging out with them. Also, +++ that Kit was half-Indian – her mom is from India! It was great to have representation and to see bits and pieces of Indian culture shown throughout.
I guess I dropped it a star because while I really enjoyed the novel, I was on the fence about the end. I didn’t think that the plot twist was necessary and perhaps could have just been incorporated into the storyline, but it was still such a good read.