Book Review: What to Say Next

Book Blurb: 

Kit: I don't know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. I can feel their eyes on me as I pass right by our usual table, which is in the perfect spot because you can see everyone from there. But the truth is I no longer want to be in the center of things. Suddenly it feels like no one here gets what I'm going through. How could they? I don't even understand it.

David: In the 622 days I've attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. I always sit alone and when I say always, I don't mean that in the exaggerative vernacular favored by my classmates. 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 at a time when everyone else is tiptoeing around her. 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. Will it be a welcome relief for Kit? Or a devastating shock? And can their friendship survive the truth?

About the Author: 

1. Julie Buxbaum is the author of the critically acclaimed The Opposite of Love and After You, and the soon to be released YA novel Tell Me Three Things and her work has been translated into twenty-five languages. 

2. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two young children, and an immortal goldfish, and once received an anonymous email which inspired her YA debut.

3. You can visit Julie online at and follow @juliebux on Twitter where she doesn’t list everything in groups of three.

The Review:

To be honest I came across this book quite by accident. I was browsing for Young Adult reads, and stumbled into this one. The blurb seemed intriguing enough. And it had a feel of Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. My relationship with YA Literature has mostly been good so I took a chance on it.

And I did not regret it one bit. The story primarily focuses on David Drucker, a junior in high school who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome and Kit Lowell, a half-Indian and half American girl who is suffering from grief after losing her father in a car accident. In order to get away from the world, Kit begins to sit at David’s always empty lunch table. She just wants to drown out the voice. (Can I just say kudos to Julie Baxbaum for finally putting in a character that a lot of children of second and third generation Indian-Americans would relate to? I mean we always read the stories of the Indian immigrants kids falling for and marrying the American kids…but there is barely any representation of their children! I am sure it would be helpful for a lot of kinds, including my cousins who are mixed.)

Coming back to the story, I loved the friendship that gradually developed between David and Kit, and I loved that like almost everything in life even their story wasn’t perfect. It’s not like a tragedy brought them together and they rode off into the sunset. But it was a gradual and welcome change. While at times it was cute, and I did feel for David’s and Kit’s struggles, I understand the problem posed in the very title of the novel – What to Say Next. As someone who is equally socially awkward and suffers quite a bit like David does (I cannot function with hypotheses. I need an explanation for everything even though I’m terrible at Mathematics), I felt for the characters. High school can be one of the most awful experiences of one’s life as American novels have led us to believe. But if you try hard enough to drown out the noise and focus on the endgame, you would be fine.

I would recommend that fans of young adult fiction read this amazing story. It is sure to warm your heart. Especial mention should be made of the ending. It was just the way I like it.

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