When An Unnecessary Twist Nearly Ruins A Good Book: What To Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

When An Unnecessary Twist Nearly Ruins A Good Book: What To Say Next by Julie BuxbaumWhat to Say Next
by Julie Buxbaum
Release Date: July 11th 2017
Published by Delacorte Press
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Mental Illness
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Narrator: Kirby Heyborne
Length: 9 hrs and 3 mins
Pages: 292
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three-half-stars
Source: ARC received for review purposes, Audiobook Received for Review, Borrowed from library

From the New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things comes a charming and poignant story about two struggling teenagers who find an unexpected connection just when they need it most. For fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jennifer Niven, and Rainbow Rowell.

Sometimes a new perspective is all that is needed to make sense of the world.

KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m going through. How could they? I don’t even understand.

DAVID: In the 622 days I’ve attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. 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. 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?

ARC received for review purposes, Audiobook Received for Review, Borrowed from library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


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Nereyda: I had no intention of reading this book. I haven’t been too impressed with contemporary YA as of late, this author’s last book was a little bit of a letdown (considering all the rave reviews) and this audiobook was narrated by one of my least favorite male narrators. All signs pointed to a no for me… but my brain sometimes (aka almost always) forgets things like this and before I remembered about all the reasons why I didn’t want to read this book, I had already downloaded the audiobook. I don’t like to not review audiobooks I receive for review (unfortunately I don’t have the same mentality when it comes to eARC’s…sigh) so I figured I would give it a try. When I say Nick talking about how much it surprised her in a weekly recap, I moved it up my list. Surprise, surprise, I actually ended up liking this quite a bit… up until the point that I didn’t… but it still wasn’t enough to make me dislike the entire book.

Nick: Yeah I’m not sure what exactly prompted me to pick up the book either, but I saw it available in my library’s Overdrive, and decided to give it a shot. I definitely enjoyed What to Say Next more than I liked the author’s YA debut last year. The characters and romance were really well-written here, but like Nereyda, the big twist in the book managed to take away from my enjoyment. I didn’t end up hating the book, but the twist felt super unnecessary and it annoyed me.

Nereyda: I feel like I say this every single time… but I do not necessarily like YA books that deal with mental illness for various reasons. I keep having the bad habit of getting books that I either don’t know or forget what the book summary is so I wasn’t aware of what I was getting myself into. But, as far as mental illness books, this is one of the better ones I’ve read. In fact, my issue with this book has nothing to do with the mental illness part of the story at all. I loved how Kit and David were portrayed as well as David’s family and the slow building friendship and romance felt so organic that I was swooning right along with them. Also, I have to mention that the male narrator for this book is one of my least favorites… or he used to be. He sounds so different and very YA age appropriate now that I have to give more recent books by him a second chance, both narrators were great.

Nick: Unlike Nereyda, I actually like books that deal with mental illness. A lot of my favorite books tackle mental illness and I feel like it’s an important topic to explore in books. But it has to be done well. And I think here, Kit’s PTSD and David’s autism were handled exceedingly well. You can tell that the author has put a lot of research and care into portraying these two characters. Kit has just lost her father to an accident and she is struggling to deal with her grief and to go back to her old social life. Her emotions were palpable throughout What to Say Next, and you could feel every feeling that she experienced. David has always been a bit of a loner because his autism makes him different, and makes it difficult to easily befriend people. He and Kit find a kinship in each other, and they become really good friends. That friendship slowly developed into a romance that was sweet and heartwarming. Folks, this is exactly the kind of YA romance that I love to read about. The book was going so well and had lots of other great themes including family – David’s relationship with his sister is extra special, and I loved it so much. But then came the twist …

Nereyda: I was really liking this book, I was actually really happy I was enjoying a contemporary this much again… and then it happened. The plot twist in this story that was so unnecessary and made no sense to me. I didn’t feel like that twist added anything valuable other than some drama, in fact, it ended taking away some of my enjoyment of the book. If it weren’t for that twist, this would have been a solid 4 or maybe 4.5 star book, but I was just really annoyed by that twist. Obviously I don’t want to spoil it for you guys (and to be honest I’m a little bit lazy to go into detail #lazyblogger) but this may not be something that bothers other readers as much as it bothered me. Although this twist annoyed me, I still ended up enjoying the book and will look forward to the next author’s book.

Nick: I don’t want to reiterate, but yes, I too felt like the twist was out of place here. The book 100% did not need it, because it was already strong without it. To me, it felt like a cheap addition for the sake of drama, one I could have done without. Regardless, my general feelings towards this book are very positive, and despite it all, I highly recommend What to Say Next.

Have you ever read a book that was going so well until an unnecessary twist like in What to Say Next?
Let us know in the comments below!

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Nick & Nereyda are two book obsessed friends who bond over their love of Friends and pretty much everything else!
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  • kindlemom1

    If the twist annoyed both of you and almost ruined the whole thing, that is pretty bad. I think I will pass on this one for now. Too bad the author had to throw in unnecessary drama, I hate it when that happens.

    • It was definitely annoying, especially because it was going so well before the twist…

  • Well, I’m glad that for the most part you both liked this one. I am not one for huge plot twists. That’s not why I read. I think some people love them, though. My mother enjoys them.

    • I sometimes enjoy them if they make sense to the story, most feel like they are just thrown in out of nowhere for shock value though.

  • I’ve been kinda disappointed with YA contemporary books as well lately. Oh well, I guess you have to make your way through the “eh” ones to get to the really good ones.

    • Same here, I miss old contemporary YA… when not everything had to be about ‘issues’

  • I’m glad to see that you guys mostly liked this one because I want to read it but thanks for the heads up on the twist. That would have probably annoyed the snot out of me but still…I want to read this one. Great joint review ladies!

    • If you know what to expect maybe you won’t be as annoyed by us, hope you enjoy it Rowena 🙂

  • I have read Buxbaum’s other three books, and I was really excited for this one. I think I cried out “NOOOOO!” when I saw the title of this blog post, but it still sounds like it was good overall.

    • If you liked her other books then you will hopefully still like this one, especially if you know what to expect now 🙂
      It wasn’t bad, I just would have liked it a lot more without the twist.

  • I loved Tell Me Three things so I was eager to read this one. It was heartbreaking at parts and I have to confess that the bullying made me cry 🙁 I guessed the twist, and you’re right, I don’t think it was necessary to the plot. However, I just didn’t understand why wasn’t Kit in therapy in the first place! She obviously needed help, right?

    • I think she wrote Davis really well, which I liked a lot. And poor Kit, it just made no sense for the cops to agree and cover it up, there are laws people! And her mom should have put her in therapy…

      • I totally agree! I understand not waiting it to tell everyone, but making her drive and not even talking about it was so weird…

  • I’m a big fan of books that do feature mental illness, as long as it’s well researched and factual and this sounds so well written. Why oh why must there always be a twist! Some of my favourite contemporaries while reading were all ruined by a strange twist, usually of the magical realism variety and used to wrap up loose ends. Considering you were both pissed off, it’ll have to be a hard pass from me. Sorry you couldn’t have enjoyed this more ladies but wonderful review <3 <3

    • It’s a shame because the mental illness aspect of the book was done so well…

  • This is a book that I completely forgot about until I read this review. I don’t mind books that explore mental health issues but only if they do a good job at exploring the issues. I’m glad that you can see how Buxbaum took the time to research and explore the topics at hand. The unnecessary twist sounds like something that would really frustrate me though.

    • She really did do a good job researching the topic, I would have liked this much better without the twist though.

  • I’m not that big into books about mental illness, although I do agree that when I do read them, I need the topic to be handled well. While I’m not really interested in YA contemporary these days, I have to say that both of your reactions to the twist have me intrigued. Might have to look up some spoilers! 😂

  • Guys, I was totally psyched for this book. I am always interested in reading books which feature an autistic character (especially when done well) because one of my cousins is on the spectrum so I’m always eager for there to be more autistic characters and for them to be done written well. It’s so annoying there’s an unnecessary twist at the end which neither of you liked. At least I know to expect it if I manage to pick this one up but it’s still annoying. Hopefully it doesn’t take away from the story too much.