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The Next Thing on My List: A Novel Paperback – March 25, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (March 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307351297
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307351296
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (117 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #709,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Smolinski follows up her debut, Flip-Flopped, with an airy, hit and mostly miss novel about one rudderless woman's accidental journey of self-discovery. After a Weight Watchers meeting, narrator June Parker offers a ride home to newly svelte Marissa Jones, and the two hit it off until Marissa dies in a nasty one-car accident. When June runs into Marissa's hot brother at the cemetery six months after the crash, she makes a rash promise to carry out the dead girl's list of 20 things to do before she turned 25 (even though June is 34). The challenges that follow—running a 5K, kissing a stranger, "dare to go braless"—serve less to improve June's life than to highlight how unfortunate it is that she's taken up a stranger's goals instead of her own. Smolinski's Los Angeles is a well-executed set—June tilts at windmills as a writer for a ride-sharing nonprofit—but the most human characters in it are June's tyrannical and calculating boss and her secretly sensitive, underused brother. Though completing the list is a transformative experience for June, the leadup fizzles.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

June Parker's life is meandering along until a freak car accident leaves Marissa, her 24-year-old passenger, dead and June wracked with guilt. June discovers a list Marissa had been keeping of 25 things she wanted to do by the time she turned 25. After a run-in with Marissa's brother, June resolves to complete the list. Kissing a total stranger and throwing away her scale prove far easier than pitching an idea at work or changing someone's life. But June approaches the list with aplomb, daring to speak up about being passed over for a manager position, and becoming a Big Sister to a quiet, studious Latina teen named DeeDee. But when June uncovers a secret of DeeDee's, she realizes changing someone else's life might involve changing her own as well. Clever and winning, Smolinski's novel will have readers rooting for June as they eagerly turn the pages to keep up with her progress on the list. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Jill Smolinski is author of the novels Objects of My Affection, The Next Thing on My List and Flip-Flopped. She lives in Los Angeles, and loves calling or Skyping into book clubs to discuss her books. Visit her at JillSmolinski.com for more information or to request a book club call-in.

Customer Reviews

This book is a quick, easy, fun read.
Johnna M. Sebben
The writing is sharp and funny, the story is original, and the characters are both flawed and believable.
Mary Carey
This book kept me guessing all the way to the end!
Morgan Bouldin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Sandra Ramos O'Briant on April 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read in The Hollywood Reporter that the producer who made The Devil Wears Prada was going to make The Next Thing On My List into a movie, so I had to read the book. The story is truly inspirational, and I challenge you to finish it without starting a list to change your life. The great thing about the story is that it is heartwarming without being sappy, and the heroine, June Parker, sounds real, like a co-worker or a friend. She's just trying to make her way in the world like we all are. Jill Smolinski's writing is smooth and funny, and you're rooting for June all the way to a satisfying end. Some of tasks on her list may seem simple, like not wearing a bra, but don't we all know someone who has struggled with that one (or should have?). I started my own life list, and I think you will, too.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Heather on November 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
June Parker is a girl trying to find herself. She is in her thirties, single, works as a writer for LA Rideshare and has a limited social life. This is pretty much the extint that we get to know June through the entire book. Actually almost all the characters in this book are under-developed, leaving the reader longing for something more. The exception being Marissa, who is dead before the book even begins.
Completing a life list, especially one written by someone else, makes for an interesting plot. And the list in this book is rather interesting. I found myself wishing the list was a little longer or more challenging but all in all it did contain a fairly good mix. The list contains the potential for a hilarious book mixed with some emotional serious moments.
Unfortunately that is not what comes about. You do get a small chuckle or two but no uncontrollable laughter from reading this novel. And the serious moments lack emotion. The methods in which June goes about completing this list are fairly dull and unrealistic. Everything seemed to fall together without enough action to engage the reader.
There are some unpredictable moments in the second half of the book that keep it from flopping altogether, but nothing so spectacular that will have me recommending or even remembering this book. Overall I feel this book did a decent job of setting up the reader but then continued to just let the reader fall.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By CoffeeGurl HALL OF FAME on May 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The author sent me a copy of her book and I was delighted to read it because I had read and enjoyed her novel called Flip-Flopped. The Next Thing on My List is a wonderful, witty and enjoyable novel about a woman who's on a mission to finish up someone else's to-do list. June Parker is an L.A.-based, thirty-something-year-old writer having some rather mundane problems with her career and personal life. One day, she suffers a car accident, killing her passenger, Marissa, a young woman she'd just met at a Weight Watchers meeting and was giving a lift home. June finds a list the woman had made that involved making some things happen before her twenty-fifth birthday. Out of guilt and out of obligation after talking to Marissa's brother, June decides to complete Marissa's list, with some hilarious and at times poignant results.

This is the perfect light read to take with you on the beach or on vacation this summer. It'll keep you entertained from beginning to end. The witty dialogue and the heroine's internal monologue are delightful to read. June is a great heroine. I don't know why, but I pictured Debra Messing playing June as I read this. (Messing would be a great option if they ever make this novel into a movie.) The secondary characters are also great. I especially liked June's boss. I very much enjoyed The Next Thing on My List. It is your typical chick-lit, and one you'll enjoy a great deal if you're a big fan of this genre, which I happen to be. I highly recommend this fun summer read!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mary Carey on April 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book kept me up way too late at night -- I couldn't put it down!

June Parker is living life in the slow lane. Her job -- as a writer for a carpooling agency -- is uninspiring. Her love life is nonexistent. Her biggest goal is to lose ten pounds. Following a Weight Watchers meeting her life takes a sudden, awful turn: she has a terrible car accident, and her passenger, a young woman she'd met at the meeting, is killed. June discovers a "life list" in the young woman's possession, detailing all of the things she wanted to accomplish before her twenty-fifth birthday. As a way of coming to terms with her role in the girl's death, June takes on the challenge of competing the list.

The list launches June into a series of adventures -- from kissing a stranger to boogie boarding to riding in a helicopter . . . to changing someone's life. In the hands of a less skilled writer, June's progression through the list could have seemed choppy, but Smolinski crafts a tale of one woman's journey of self discovery with page-turning precision. The writing is sharp and funny, the story is original, and the characters are both flawed and believable. This warm-hearted, clever book is truly a standout.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dizziey on June 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In "The Next Thing on My List," June Parker's life was turned upside down when her passenger, Marissa, was killed in the car she was trying. June discovered that Marissa had a list of things to do before she turned 25 and as a way to redeem herself, June made up her mind to finish the list for Marissa. Some of the things on Marissa's list included kissing a total stranger, be the hottest woman in Oasis bar, bring her mother and grandmother to see Wayne Newton in Las Vegas, run 5k marathon, to change someone's life and others. June set to do each of the things on the list.

This was a light read for me. It was somewhat engaging for a novel in this genre. It was fun to read about June's persistence in completing each of the things on the list. The story was interesting but not very memorable. However, it is still a good fun read, perfect for the beach.
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