adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT
adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $27.99

Buy for $27.99

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

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.

Critic Reviews

"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 listeners say about The Next Best Thing

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    292
  • 4 Stars
    197
  • 3 Stars
    103
  • 2 Stars
    26
  • 1 Stars
    20
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    304
  • 4 Stars
    152
  • 3 Stars
    71
  • 2 Stars
    23
  • 1 Stars
    11
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    248
  • 4 Stars
    167
  • 3 Stars
    101
  • 2 Stars
    27
  • 1 Stars
    21

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Funny Story!

Jennifer Weiner has a great sense of humor and it's as good as ever in The Next Best Thing. One reviewer mentioned that there was a lot of whining. Maybe so, but it's funny whining. Although it's a lighthearted story, it puts the Hollywood culture of shallow beauty into perspective, while emphasizing the importance of inner resources and heart. Some of the obstacles Ruthie (the main character) had to surmount became a bit tedious in places, but I found myself rooting for her and had a hard time putting the book down.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A tad annoying, but leaves a memorable aftertaste

If you've never read Jennifer Weiner before, then start with Good In Bed. For Weiner fans The Next Best Thing is an informative saunter through the glitz, glam and gross extravagance of the television industry.

The author does so well with the daily injustices thrust on over-weight women, but her portrayal of one with a disfigured face, with a hot body (of which Weiner is excessively enamored) was off and even grating.

Still, 
Jennifer Weiner delivers her normal humorous and evocative fare, even with the trite, predictable, pat ending that you generally only see in, well, television sit-coms.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • S
  • 08-15-12

Great story, great narrator!

What made the experience of listening to The Next Best Thing the most enjoyable?

Olivia Thirbly was a great voice for the main character, Ruthie. She didn't overact or ham it up, like many tend to do. She kind of gave it to us straight, in a good way. Her voice made me sympathize with the character without feeling sorry for her or pitying her.

This is definitely a summer, chick-lit book, but with substance. The usual non-sense, reality suspending scenarios that you usually find in a chick-lit book are missing here and thank goodness!

We get an insiders look into making it in Hollywood, getting a tv show produced and being a writer. The characters were well written and had believable relationships. The dialogue felt real--this is how real people talk and express themselves.
Would definitely recommend.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

This was a different kind of book for me

What did you love best about The Next Best Thing?

That is was different and unique story, interesting subject the TV industry

What does Olivia Thirlby bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Her voice was was irritating to me. I think this makes a better read than an audible book

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

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.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

So disappointed

Jennifer Weiner was one of my favourite authors, but the last couple of books I read were so predictable and and fluffy. The concept is there but without any meat. I am sad. Where is the delightful author of Goodnight Nobody, Good in Bed, Little Earthquakes and (my favourite) In Her Shoes??? Hmmm....I am nervous to invest in another of her stories.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Holy bitterness!

Any additional comments?

I quite honestly may have read my last Jennifer Weiner book. I've read everything she's written so far, and I have to say that each book is more bitter than the last and this one is by far the worst.

I'm so sick of the soapbox/look-down-your-nose approach all her books take. She depicted every character in her Hollywood setting as a complete and utter sterotype, then basically took the approach that she, Ruth, was not like that because she wasn't skinny and had scars on her face. Gimme a break. It's like this with all Weiner's books lately. All the skinny people are evil; all the fat girls are intelligent and saintly.

I think Weiner thinks she is writing for this stupid "real women" genre (which is basically women who think it is okay to be fat) but she just comes across as bitter to me, and, before anyone goes thinking I'm probably beautiful and a size 2, I'm not. I'm a 5'4", and a size 10. AND, you'd even think I'd relate to Ruth more, because I have an unsusual and resistant case of psoriasis in which I have plaques all over my face.

What I've learned from my "plight" as a "real woman" is that no one is going to give me a prize for being chunky and having a disease on my face. It doesn't give me any right to look down my nose at others who have it better. The character of Ruth assumes things about others as much as she thinks they are assuming things about her.

Frankly, i'm starting to think that Weiner should put down the cheeseburger and drop a few so she is inspired to write more than stories about bitter fat people mixed with cheap political plugs.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

Have to admit I didn't finish listening to the book. Got about half through before I decided to move on. Didn't find the story particularly interesting and the reader ....well she sounded as if she was reading.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Whiny and surprisingly mean-spirited

Except for the surprise ending (which in hindsight was fully in line with the deus ex machina approach of this author), I couldn't find much to like about this book. I'm all for an author rooting for her main character, but when the narrative is so clearly partial to the heroine, the readers find it hard to sympathize with that character (why even bother when the author goes out of her way to accommodate her), and even more so when the heroine is so whiny, mean-spirited (all the while rationalizing her own bigotry), and a borderline stalker.

As for the narration, I found it tolerable but not very credible: the narrator often lapses into the very same question intonation for statements that the heroine criticizes in others.

20 people found this helpful