What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Sweet and honest and unexpected. ☺️
For those who want a different-than-usual read on high school, particularly for those who aren’t neurotypical.
From Goodreads: 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. 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. Can their friendship survive the truth?
A light read I completed in a sunny spot on the couch this lazy Sunday. I felt like I was in need of some realistic YA, rather than my usual magic-and-dragons fare.
I always enter books that have a character who has a disability (or borderline disability of some kind, etc) with a bit of hesitation, because the story can so often just be brutal and cruel, even if that is sometimes realistic, in their depiction of those characters. It can also set incorrect images of people, which is frustrating and harmful. I have a limited scope of knowledge and experience with the matter myself, but this felt like a more respectful portrayal. It also didn’t seem to use it as a cop-out, or a crutch to try to win sympathy readers; it was just a story of two kids in high school trying to figure out the difficult shit they have to face. Which in high school, can feel like damn near everything.
Romance was ok. Sweet, and more realistic (although still some cliches of high school mixed in). There were two definite SWERVE moments, where I was actually saying to myself, “Whoa I didn’t see that coming!” For me that is SUCH a treat, because I can usually predict every moment in a YA novel having read so many now. It was a delight to have not one, but TWO surprises!
Was it predictable? 2/3 plot moments caught me off guard, so that’s pretty good. The 1 other was inevitable.
Was it good? I say an awkward “probably,” because I think so, but also still have that nagging worry of the way David is portrayed. There were a good number of lines that made me laugh out loud, or highlight because it felt like a good point to remember and apply in my own life. I’d say that’s good!
Did I enjoy it? Yup! And I’m glad I took a day off my other book in progress to bang this one out, because it was perfectly suited to my mood today.
Bonus, it made me feel so optimistic and productive! I got a lot done today! …after spending most of it on the couch reading this, I kind of had to. 😉
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