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on April 16, 2007
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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on November 19, 2008
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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HALL OF FAMEon May 4, 2007
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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on April 16, 2007
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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June Parker gives a ride to a stranger and it changes her life. The passenger, a young woman named Marissa, is killed in a freak accident, leaving June feeling responsible. When returning Marissa's purse to her grieving family, June discovers that Marissa had a list of things she wanted to accomplish by her 25th birthday. June decides that she will finish Marissa's list for her. Kissing a total stranger, going braless, and eating ice cream in public are the easy ones. Changing someone else's life will be the challenge. Yet, June, with the help of friends and co-workers tackles the list with determination. As she marks things off her list, she discovers it just might be her own life she changes.

My book club (The Pikes Peak Bookworms) selected The Next Thing On My List because we wanted a light read after having read two rather dark selections. It was certainly a light, quick read.

What I liked about the book: It was easy for me to connect with this book because I am working on my own Life Celebration list. It's a feel good story - a welcome break after the rather somber reading I've been doing the last several months. The pacing was just perfect for a summer beach read. And though the book does make you think about your life and where it's going, it's not so deep that it feels like "assigned reading." Smolinski has a light, witty writing style that will appeal to most readers, especially those who enjoy "Chick Lit." The author includes discussion questions at the back of the book along with activities to help readers create their own list. Since this is a book club read, I found this to be rather helpful.

What I didn't like about the book: I didn't like the romantic twist at the end. Not that this takes away from the book. It just didn't end the way I expected or had hoped. However, upon reflection, Smolinski did include clues about where the romance was going. I just failed to pick up on them.

If you enjoy Chick Lit or if you are looking for a quick, easy read for travel or the beach, this is a book you should slip into your travel/beach tote.
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on June 25, 2007
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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on May 16, 2007
Do you have a life list? A list of things to do before you hit 25? Neither did June Parker. But when a tragic accident puts her in possession of another woman's life list, entitled "20 Things to Do by My 25th Birthday," June undertakes to complete the list for her. June embarks on a journey that will change her life, and the lives of those around her, forever.

Next Thing On My List is funny, sweet and touching. You'll be rooting for June from the first item on the list that she tackles straight through to the last. This book will make you smile, warm your heart, and maybe even make you shed a tear (in a good way, of course!).

I highly recommend Jill Smolinski's Next Thing On My List!

-Brenda Janowitz, author of Scot On The Rocks (Red Dress Ink Novels)
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on June 21, 2008
I thought the book was charming and sweet, but I never really connected with June. I think the grief should have been much heavier in almost all of these characters who have lost a loved one, and even in June, who contributed (although accidentally) to Marissa's death. June's journey never quite seems like her own (which seemed to me the point of the book), but instead it seems like a quest that she never really embraces fully.

The "love interests" in this book also don't seem to make a lot of sense, and in the end, I was left confused by June's actions. Smolinski never quite explains what leads June to have a change of heart.

All in all, the book is an easy read, and if the ending wasn't so disappointing, I would have given it closer to 4 stars.
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on April 18, 2007
Imagine a 24-year-old woman who's written a list of things she's passionate about accomplishing before her next birthday. Now imagine being resposible for this woman's death. Okay, now imagine how Jill Smolinski manages to turn this idea into a laugh-out-loud funny joyride of a novel, populated with characters so endearing you wish you could hang out with them all in real life. As the main character, June Parker, confronts the boundaries of her comfort zone in order to complete the dead woman's life list, we are reminded that if you want to really live your life, taking chances isn't an option--it's essential.

They're making this into a movie? Great. The helicopter scene will be hilarious.
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on March 8, 2016
Maybe I was able to relate a little too well with the main character, June, but this story made me want to look closer at the direction of my own life. It made me want to get out of my comfort zone, to make a difference in another person's life. This was a terrific feel good story about taking control of your destiny and making your dreams come true. This book makes me want to write out a list of my own. Perhaps I will. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone, especially if you're in a dark place in your life. Sometimes it feels like you're drowning in mediocrity. I only wish there were more books to read like this one when those dark times come around.
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