Have you ever loved a book so much that every time you see the cover of it you just sigh happily? Perhaps even swoon? That is my current state with What to Say Next by the very talented Julie Buxbaum. She has a way of hitting a reader right in the feels. I laughed, I cried, I cheered, I felt a wide range of emotions. I had this similar reaction with her previous book Tell Me Three Things (which I also highly recommend-see my Goodreads review: here ). Also, there was a big plot twist that was unexpected and essentially had me locked into the book, racing along until the perfect ending.
This was a great book that dives into the tumultuous waters of high school drama and then the riptide of loneliness catches you and makes sure you stay. It made me feel the grief, loneliness, and hope that the main characters, Kit and David, felt. These two were opposites in many ways, yet each of them have their worlds flipped upside down, which brings them together. It is a fresh reminder of the discomfort of finding yourself at the brink of adulthood. It abuses the heart, really, as it is heart-wrenching at times, yet you feel your heart swelling at other times. All in all, a must-read that is different from other YA romance novels in that it presents an exceptional approach of mixing humor with grief to the common struggle of finding yourself.
I enjoyed that there were unique attributes about the characters that set them apart from the general population in the book, particularly David’s Asperger Syndrome attributes. I cannot say whether or not these features were accurate, however, I do enjoy the respectful and charming way of which his character was developed. I would recommend this for any reader high school age and older who is a fan of innocent romance and deep situations. I would also recommend this book for readers who are fans of math and science as David’s narrative is heavy in those fields. On the other hand, it was not so heavy that those who are not strong in the math and science fields (including yours truly) could not follow along.
For those who may be offended: there was foul language, brief violence, infidelity, bullying, alcohol use, brief mention of drug use, and an overarching theme of grief.