Becca von Zweck's Reviews > What to Say Next

What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
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it was ok

It took awhile to gather my thoughts about this book but I’m gonna go ahead and say that while I loved David’s character and loved how very authentically autistic he felt to me as an autistic person...What to Say Next was not good autistic rep.


It’s obvious the author had zero sensitivity readers. I feel a little sick tbh. Just...how awfully David was treated with no consequences made me ill. The use of the R slur multiple times without making it clear how offensive it is. Seriously, we’re forced to read the R word countless times with little to no reaction from anyone regarding how horrible it is. And David is constantly being referred to as weird, which may be true but....his differences were made to seem like an annoyance to everyone around him, even his sister. It felt like the authors whole point was that David should try to be less autistic in order to fit in and make Kit like him. And Kit was really judgmental and impatient with him and just didn’t seem to think very highly of him or appreciate him enough. She seemed obsessed with the idea of him ‘acting normal’.


And that scene near the end made me sick cause it felt a whole lot like demonization of an autistic character. Like we were supposed to be disgusted with David & that doesn’t sit right with me. I’m really disappointed I don’t think I’ve ever truly been hurt by rep in a book till now.


And then there was the whole think at the end where he went back to referring to himself as an ‘aspie’ and having Aspergers instead of autism, even though in the very beginning he made the very accurate statement that aspergers isn’t in the DSM anymore & isn’t like, an accurate diagnosis. Like, the fact that that was brought up in the end and that David’s mind changed on that, combined with everything else that went on.... felt sketchy, like the author thinks Aspergers is a superior form of autism, one that’s closer to ‘normal’. I’m really sad cause I loved David’s character but I hated everyone else’s reactions to his autistic behavior. I’m hurt and disappointed.
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Reading Progress

March 8, 2017 – Shelved
March 8, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
Started Reading
February 7, 2019 – Finished Reading

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