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The Next Best Thing: A Novel | [Jennifer Weiner]

The Next Best Thing: A Novel

At 23, Ruth Saunders headed west with her 70-year-old grandma in tow, hoping to be hired as a television writer. Four years later, she's hit the jackpot when she gets The Call: the sitcom she wrote, The Next Big Thing, has gotten the green light, and Ruthie's going to be the show-runner. But her dreams of Hollywood happiness are threatened by demanding actors, number-crunching executives, an unrequited crush on a boss, and her grandmother's impending nuptials.
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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author Jennifer Weiner returns with an irresistible story about a young woman trying to make it in Hollywood....

At 23, Ruth Saunders headed west with her 70-year-old grandma in tow, hoping to be hired as a television writer. Four years later, she's hit the jackpot when she gets The Call: the sitcom she wrote, The Next Big Thing, has gotten the green light, and Ruthie's going to be the show-runner. But her dreams of Hollywood happiness are threatened by demanding actors, number-crunching executives, an unrequited crush on a boss, and her grandmother's impending nuptials.

Set against the fascinating backdrop of Los Angeles show-business culture, with an insider's ear and eye for writer's rooms, bad behavior backstage, and set politics, Jennifer Weiner's new novel is a rollicking ride on the Hollywood rollercoaster and a heartfelt story about what it's like for a young woman to love, and lose, in the land where dreams come true.

©2012 Jennifer Weiner, Inc. (P)2012 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"A writer of innate brilliance." (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

"Jennifer Weiner's best-selling novels twist humor and topical issues into can't-put-down stories." (Houston Chronicle)

"Hilarious, heartbreaking, and insightful, Weiner shows she can write with exquisite tenderness as well as humor." (The Miami Herald)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (339 )
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4.0 (293 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Kaci 12-10-13
    Kaci 12-10-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Couldn't put it down"
    If you could sum up The Next Best Thing in three words, what would they be?

    Fun fast read.


    Which character – as performed by Olivia Thirlby – was your favorite?

    Ruth-of course


    If you could take any character from The Next Best Thing out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Little Dave


    Any additional comments?

    Give this one a try when you need a light but still interesting read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Keogh Austin, TX 09-17-13
    C. Keogh Austin, TX 09-17-13 Member Since 2012
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    "So...much...industry...babble..."

    I had abandoned this book and went back to try to give it another shot since I've loved a number of Jennifer Weiner's novels. Had to abandon it yet again. The book involves the television industry and she spends a good chunk of the book describing the process of writing and producing a television show in painstaking detail. If this is an area of great interest to you, by all means, pick it up. However, for me, the description of the biz significantly slowed down the action in the story enough to make me toss it.

    I also had a difficult time with the incredibly whiny main character, Ruth. She is just so damned mopey and broken to a point beyond empathy. Also, she seems a little creepy and stalkerish as she creates relationships in her head with fellas who have shown no interest in her whatsoever.

    The narrator only added velocity to my mental pitching of this book. She sounds like a fairly young person who hasn't quite got the hang of adding important inflections here and there. She mispronounces words. And you know? When certain young women? End statements with a high-pitched questioning voice? Drove me bonkers.

    Did not like.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Loretta FOSTER, RI, United States 07-20-13
    Loretta FOSTER, RI, United States 07-20-13 Member Since 2010
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    "What an ending!!"
    What did you love best about The Next Best Thing?

    I loved the ending! I was a little disappointed when I found that it wasn't a typical Jennifer Weiner book. I always looked forward to her funny, crazy characters.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Next Best Thing?

    There were a couple. When Ruthie finally hooked up with Little Dave and, of course, the ending. I don't want to give the ending away, as I didn't see it coming. I thought the book was done and wrapping up, and bang a fabulous ending.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    I found the narration to be a little flat and slow. After I became accustomed to it, I felt that it reflected Ruthie's pessimistic personality.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    You really can do it your way and win.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is about love, loss, ethics, appreciating what you have, integrity and living by your own principles despite errors you may have made along the way.

    Life is not about being beautiful, shallow, and trying to be what you think that everyone wants. Just be yourself. Be true to yourself and you will be a success.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jill BROOKLYN, NY, United States 06-18-13
    Jill BROOKLYN, NY, United States 06-18-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Read the Abridged Version"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The protagonist (Ruth) is too passive and has no confidence. Ok, you have scars on your face. That must be hard. But you're a successful TV writer. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and stop complaining that nobody will ever love you because of your scars. Try online dating or something. She continually gives in to everyone in her professional life and she's even passive in the final resolution of her love life (no spoilers). It's hard to root for someone who can barely root for herself.

    One more thing, which has to be said... the book (unintentionally) has a moral of "It doesn't matter if you don't love yourself. Just find a man to love you and everything will be ok."


    If you’ve listened to books by Jennifer Weiner before, how does this one compare?

    I have not.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    The narration was too slow.


    Was The Next Best Thing worth the listening time?

    Depends how much time you have on your hands. There were a lot of things about this book that made me mad but, as someone interested in TV production, the subject matter was interesting. Ultimately, I did want to know what would happen next and I felt myself getting angry on Ruth's behalf as she got continually screwed in the pilot development process.


    Any additional comments?

    There were so many times that I wanted to yell, "I don't care what everyone in the room is wearing!" "I don't care about every item of food and drink that you served for dinner!" "Why, oh why, are you telling me everything that is contained in your grandmother's purse? Why??"

    This is the problem with audiobooks. If I were reading, I would have just skimmed over these parts. This is why I recommend the abridged version.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melanie Las vegas, NV, United States 03-31-13
    Melanie Las vegas, NV, United States 03-31-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Not Quite What I'd Hoped For"

    Everytime I pick up or listen to a new Jennifer Weiner title, I think I look for Candy Shaprio. Ruthie was no Candy. As the key character of this novel, Ruthie is certainly likable as is her grandmother. It felt like there were autobiographical elements here, and maybe even a treatise on the TV show production business -- and while interesting to learn how TV shows are put together, I just never found myself able to fully embrace Ruthie or her story as I have other Jennifer Weiner titles. If you are a die hard Weiner fan, you have no choice but to read The Next Best Thing -- and you will likely find something to enjoy, but if you are a Weiner newbie ... I cannot completely recommend The Next Best Thing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chana Skokie, IL, United States 01-02-13
    Chana Skokie, IL, United States 01-02-13
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    "Great story with what goes on behind TV shows"

    I really enjoyed the storyline, and it has changed the way I watch TV, thinking about all that went into the prodcution process. The narration- just ok.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tara Vero Beach, FL, United States 12-12-12
    Tara Vero Beach, FL, United States 12-12-12
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    "Awesome book what a great escape from everyday!"
    If you could sum up The Next Best Thing in three words, what would they be?

    Story is great and the narrator was perfect as Ruth Saunders. I wish she would narrate more books!! I have always loved Jennifer Weinner every since good in bed.
    I will definately pick another one of hers next!! Funny engaging and well worth the time.


    Have you listened to any of Olivia Thirlby’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No I don't think she has any others.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret Gainesville, VA, United States 12-11-12
    Margaret Gainesville, VA, United States 12-11-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Loved it! Great story, Great narrator"
    Would you listen to The Next Best Thing again? Why?

    Yes. Really liked and related to the characters. Loved the insider information on how tv shows are made.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Ruth. She makes the same mistakes all young women make when starting out = and learns from them. You root for her and in the end, she wins.


    Have you listened to any of Olivia Thirlby’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Never heard her before, but I will look for her again.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. I liked the book immensely but wanted to take it in and process the story in pieces.


    Any additional comments?

    Real dialogue. Believable characters. Fun to hear the back story of life in Hollywood.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Gillett, PA, United States 11-27-12
    Amazon Customer Gillett, PA, United States 11-27-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Mediocre"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I expected more especially as I read the prequel Swim!


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Moved along faster in some parts and slowed down in others!


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    The narrator was fine!


    Do you think The Next Best Thing needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Don't know! The ending leaves you hangin a little but it is also a very realistic ending.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonnie 11-06-12
    Bonnie 11-06-12

    DVDFan

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    "Held my interest but not a favorite"

    This book focuses on the relationship between a damaged but determined young woman, the grandmother who raised her, and the Hollywood types that she longs to become a part of. The story held my interest, but I wanted the "flashbacks" to move a little faster. The pitfalls of romantic coming-of-age rang true, mostly. I felt the ending dragged out a bit... but was glad to have the story come full circle. Olivia Thrilby sounded authentic as the narrator's voice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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