cover image What to Say Next

What to Say Next

Julie Buxbaum. Delacorte, $18.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-553-53568-6

One month after the death of her father in a car accident, high school junior Kit Lowell is beginning to realize that “grief not only morphs time, but space too.” Distancing herself from her two best friends, who are back to talking about things like prom, Kit begins spending lunch with her socially isolated classmate David Drucker, appreciating his awkwardness and blunt honesty. David has always considered Kit to be the most beautiful girl at school, but his Asperger’s syndrome has left him largely alienated and their interactions brief. As they grow closer, revelations about the car accident and the contents of David’s notebook (filled with commentary about his peers) threaten their tenuous relationship. Buxbaum (Tell Me Three Things) uses split first-person narration to give readers striking insight into both teens. Unlike his peers and the school administration, readers will easily see David as a complex, brilliant individual. Discussion of Kit’s family and heritage (her mother is Indian) bring additional complexity and depth to this portrait of grief and recovery. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jennifer Joel, ICM. (July)