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The Next Best Thing

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3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  24,270 Ratings  ·  2,468 Reviews
Blockbuster #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Weiner returns with an irresistible story about a young woman trying to make it in Hollywood…

At twenty-three, Ruth Saunders headed west with her seventy-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 B
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Hardcover, 400 pages
Published July 3rd 2012 by Atria Books (first published July 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ronya Misleh
Jul 09, 2012 Ronya Misleh rated it it was ok
Looks like I am in the minority here, but I expect more from Jennifer Weiner. The book club questions at the end of the book make it sound a lot smarter and deeper and more intellectual than it really was. I found this book to be rather boring, nothing like the JWeiner books of the past. The story was not something I found to be interesting (even though it was somewhat autobiographical) and I did not root for a single character. And, there were several instances of inconsistent details (like at ...more
Dana
Jul 29, 2012 Dana rated it did not like it
I struggled to FORCE myself to finish, "The Next Best Thing," by Jennifer Weiner. I fear Weiner has become a "has been" who is no more! Her early books were an assured good read ("Good in Bed," & "In Her Shoes" to name a few). The last 2 have been a chore, but I can't ignore one of her newly published books because I remember the joy the earlier ones brought me.
From the start, I felt this one was written with the hope it would be made into a movie, as was "In Her Shoes." I hope that is not t
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Mamers
Ms. Weiner, it is time for you and I to part ways. This is the fourth book in a row that I have been disappointed with. Once again, the editing is abysmal and the story is just so-so.

The first 100 pages of this novel are mostly back story and even when you finally get to the actual plot, you continue to flip flop with the back story. After reading such excellent books as Gone Girl where the back story is excellently woven into the plot, I find this novel boring and choppy. Don't get me wrong, i
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Tad
Jun 05, 2013 Tad rated it it was amazing
Ok, I totally get why this book has so many bad reviews. I really do. Yet, I can't deny that I personally really enjoyed it. It felt like I was getting an insider's view of Hollywood and the production of a new TV show. As one of those people who religiously keeps up with celebrity gossip and pop culture, I just felt like I was a fly on the wall. I also found the main character here to be very appealing and relatable. Yes, she made some bad choices (especially with respect to men) but I think we ...more
Amy
Jul 11, 2012 Amy rated it it was ok
Shelves: chick-lit, 2012
This was ok. Jennifer Weiner likes to complain that male writers get more positive critical acclaim (like Jonathan Franzen---which is a big who cares? not me). But really they are a different caliber and guess what there are a lot of female authors who are worthy of more attention, you just really aren't one of them. This book was fine but face it Ruthie was not a terribly original character since she smacked of Tina Fey of the West Coast. And good for you for mentioning a Harry Crews book but t ...more
Maureen
Jul 06, 2012 Maureen rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up-on
I gave up on this one after 100 pages and too many inconsistencies to count. I finally cried "uncle" when the main character walked into the media room at her high school in the 1980's and it was filled with laptops. Really? I went to high school in the 80's and I am fairly certain the word laptop had not even been conceived at that point. I was disappointed in Weiner's last book and am afraid that she is now going down the path of other very popular authors, who get to the point of popularity w ...more
Lisa B.
Jun 29, 2012 Lisa B. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012-books
My Thoughts:





The book was HUGELY entertaining. It has such a nice mix of Ruth’s contemplative thoughts, day - to - day activities and laugh out loud comments. The story flowed nicely and I enjoyed all of the characters, especially the two Daves (you’ll have to read the book to see what I’m talking about). When I finished the last page and closed the book, I thought - Yippee, add another name to my list of author’s I want to read more.


Don’t ask me why it has taken me this long to read a Jennifer W
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Heather
Jul 02, 2013 Heather rated it it was ok
If you're desperate for a Jennifer Weiner fix, skip this one and reread Good in Bed.

I'm giving this book an extra star out of respect for Weiner's past work. Her books mean summer to me... light but meaningful stories that make you feel like you've made a new friend.

The Next Best Thing felt like reading the first draft submitted to the publisher. I actually checked the cover a few times to see if it really was printed for public consumption. Details like the 76 year old grandmother of the main
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Kayla Cagan
Sep 25, 2012 Kayla Cagan rated it it was ok
I think I went in with pretty high expectations for this novel and it fell short.

While some of the characters, like the Two Daves, were exceptionally well drawn (and they happened to remind me of a more-comedic Penn and Teller), they didn't help with what I found the major flaw: that the protagonist, Ruth, wasn't exceptionally likable.

Ruth's given a tough lot in life and has a charming and modern-old-fashioned grandmother to help guide her through it, but she still comes off as a victim - and
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Jaime
Jul 10, 2016 Jaime rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012, womens_fiction
I had mixed feelings about this book.

On one hand, I really wanted to like Ruth. I related to her close relationship with her grandmother (I spent at least 25% of my time living with my great-grandmother until I graduated high school), and I sympathized with the difficulties her disfigurement caused her (because we all know a Jennifer Weiner protagonist has to be “damaged” in some way). But that was pretty much it. I didn’t love her, and I feel like I only rooted for her because the author told m
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Steph
Jul 05, 2012 Steph rated it it was ok
This book was not at all what I expected. Too buried in morose and repetitive details and references to the main character's facial disfigurement, it doesn't let you get swept away by the story. Instead, it's a constant reminder that the story is about a girl whose face is disfigured. I expected something fun, playful, engaging, but found myself having to skip whole sections because they were so depressing. Plus Ruth's disturbing obsessions with the men she falls for made her look like a patheti ...more
Mediaman
Sep 30, 2012 Mediaman rated it did not like it
It's hard to believe such a sophomoric book like this got published. Jennifer Weiner is a pretty bad writer, rambling on and on about almost 400 pages of nothing instead of having a tightly-edited plot that is worth reading. It's like an 8th grader writing fiction that includes hip television references. You'll find yourself quickly skipping through pages to get past the dull parts.

The book is supposed to be about a woman whose new television pilot gets produced, but it's filled with all sorts o
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G
May 28, 2012 G rated it it was amazing
I totally loved this book and I can't believe Weiner wrote a book this good while also dealing with the whole Hollywood thing, as she was writing and shooting her television show, State of Georgia.

Makes me wonder how good her show originally was, before the executives cut it down to what aired last summer. Man, L.A. seems like a rough place to work in. Actually, I know it is, but after reading this book, I have a whole new respect for seemingly crap non-reality shows that get cancellled right a
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Lara
Apr 08, 2014 Lara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely had potential with your atypical protagonist and love interest in a chick lit - we actually have characters who are disfigured and disabled (instead of your normal nonexistent flaws in lead characters). However, I never fell in love with Ruth, despite her background, and felt she was pretty bitter and judgmental . (view spoiler) ...more
Robyn Russell
May 08, 2013 Robyn Russell rated it it was ok
I feel for Jennifer Weiner, in a way--I really do. She's a powerhouse, a brand, and I have no doubt that her publisher demands a book a year from her. She must write quickly, and well, to sustain her enormous fan base. That said, this feels like a hasty effort. Not only did I have to wonder where her editor's mind was when polishing the book (the book, as a whole, is repetitious), I didn't engage with the protagonist, Ruth Saunders, as I engaged with all of Weiner's richly drawn, hilarious and w ...more
Becky
Jul 29, 2012 Becky rated it really liked it
Was this the funniest book Weiner has ever written? No. Was it the most infuriating? YES.

In this book we meet Ruth, a writer-wannabe-TV-producer who was disfigured as a child in a car crash that also took her parents lives. Ruth moves to Los Angeles with her grandmother, who has been her only parent since the accident. Ruth has a boring boyfriend but a great job working as an assistant to two high-level TV producers - Big Dave and Little Dave. Ruth has a huge crush on Little Dave, who is so name
...more
Sarah
Apr 15, 2013 Sarah rated it did not like it
I'm so disappointed in this book. I was excited to read it because I thought that "Swim" was captivating as a short story. To me it feels like Jennifer Weiner took a great short story and used is as a vehicle to vent about a personal experience rather than take the time to develop real characters and situations (case in point - I think that if I had as many self-esteem issues as the author portrays Ruth to have the fact that my love interest regularly consorted with prostitutes would be a little ...more
Elizabeth Fagin
Aug 19, 2012 Elizabeth Fagin rated it did not like it
I really look forward to Jennifer Weiner's books. However - it seems when an author feels the need to grind out a book every year - this may be the result. I felt no connection with the characters, the relationship between the main character and her grandmother was a rehash (and a bad one at that) of another of her character relationships and the constant repetition of all the things that have gone wrong in the main characters life was maddening.

I was very disappointed. The plot seemed like it w
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Samantha Janning
Jul 05, 2012 Samantha Janning rated it it was amazing
Ah, a new Jennifer Weiner book. Who wouldn’t be excited to get that in the mail? This is the tenth book from the best-selling author, and one of my many favorites from her. The title is The Next Best Thing, which is also the title of a television series that Ruth Saunders wrote and is about to see on the air. Ruth moved from Massachusetts to LA at age twenty-three with her grandmother, a spit-fire lady with a killer fashion sense and who only wants to see Ruth happy. After six years of mundane j ...more
Amy
Jul 02, 2012 Amy rated it it was amazing
Wow. This is kind of difficult because I don’t know where to start. First off, I’m sure you won’t be surprised when I say that I LOVED the book. The minute you start reading any of Jen’s books, the words just seem to suck you in.

It was definitely refreshing that Jen wrote the book in the first person. I tend to actually enjoy books more when written in the first person. It’s like you can almost see what’s inside of them and feel what they feel.

Even though I’m not an entertainment junkie per se,
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Rory O'Connor
Dec 09, 2012 Rory O'Connor rated it liked it
I want to start this by saying I generally have enjoyed Jennifer Weiner’s books. Particularly, Good in Bed is a really fun read. That being said, The Next Best Thing isn’t nearly as good as some of her previous work.

Ruth Saunders has had a tough life. When she was a child, she and her parents were in a car accident that sent Ruthie flying through the windshield and killing her parents. Although she survived, she’s had to endure several operations and quite a bit of pain, leaving her permanently
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Caitlin Chciuk
Jul 28, 2013 Caitlin Chciuk rated it really liked it
From my blog:

"The story follows Ruth, a woman following her dreams of screen writing a TV show in Los Angeles. However, it goes so much further than just the TV show. There are very detailed accounts of her past, which draw the reader further into the story. The story was captivating, well written, and kept me interested from beginning to end.

Once again, Weiner has captured real emotions to make her protagonist(s) relatable. Ruth is a strong, inspirational woman overcoming obstacles to reach her
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Lexxie (un)Conventional Bookviews
Jun 23, 2012 Lexxie (un)Conventional Bookviews rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Strong women, who likes to read about strong women!
*I got a free copy from the publisher via netgalley in order to review this book*

This and other reviews can be found on my blog(un)Conventional Bookviews.

The Next Best Thing is simply delightful! It’s the only word I can use to describe it accurately. It tickled my funny bones, tugged at my heartstrings and made me root for Ruthie from the first sentence. All of the main characters seem so real to me that I wish they existed in real life. Ruthie needs a girlfriend, and I want to be that for her.
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Joy
Feb 01, 2015 Joy rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Yvonne (It's All About Books)
brthenextbestthing
Finished reading: December 29th 2014
1

“You don't get perfect-but I was going to grab this happiness and hold it as tightly as I could. I was going to enjoy it for as long as it lasted.”

(view spoiler)
...more
Amy Stone
Jul 12, 2012 Amy Stone rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tawanda
Oct 17, 2012 Tawanda rated it really liked it
WARNING: This book will leave you captivated, so much so that you’ll find yourself crying fat, warm, silent tears on your flight back from San Francisco. Other passengers will be concerned and will avoid looking in your direction. You’ll try to explain that it’s the book, that “Ruthie doesn’t feel like she’ll ever be beautiful”. Nice old ladies will soothingly pat your shoulder and offer you gum. You’ll be yelled at by flight attendants for not turning off your iPad during landing. You’ll ignore ...more
Shantay Tione
Jul 24, 2012 Shantay Tione rated it liked it
There were things about this book that I really liked. I liked the fact that it was set in Hollywood. As someone who hopes to work in news I liked hearing about working on a TV show. I also liked Ruth's grandmother, though I feel that she was underdeveloped. The major problem I had with this book is that Ruth wasn't that likable to me. She'd already proven, through flashbacks, that she could be just as cruel as everyone else. It seemed like the writer was saying that Ruth had more of a right to ...more
Jess
Jul 27, 2012 Jess rated it liked it
I loved Jennifer Weiner's "Good in Bed" and "Little Earthquakes." This one, like her previous three, "Best Friends Forever," "Fly Away Home," and "Then Came You," was just fair for me. The story stars Ruth, who was badly injured in a car accident that killed her parents when she was 3. As a result, her face and part body were left permanently disfigured and scarred, and she was raised by her loving grandmother. Ruth and her grandmother end up moving to LA so Ruth can pursue her dream of becoming ...more
Carly R
Aug 25, 2012 Carly R rated it did not like it
I really wanted to like this novel, because I enjoyed Jennifer Weiner's earlier books like In Her Shoes and Good in Bed. Sadly, the poor editing job was so distracting, I had trouble liking it at all. At some point, I kept reading only to see what logistical impossibilities I would encounter next.

For instance: If the grandmother is 76 and her brother is 10 years younger, then how is he "well into his seventies" a few pages later, when no time has passed? Later, we meet Maya, who is in her early
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Mar 24, 2015 01:47PM  
Best Jennifer Weiner book? 30 129 Nov 09, 2014 02:08AM  
Bill Cosby reference 3 17 Sep 06, 2014 03:35PM  
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Jennifer Weiner is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of fourteen books, including Good in Bed, The Littlest Bigfoot, and her memoir Hungry Heart: Adventures in Life, Love, and Writing. A graduate of Princeton University and contributor to the New York Times Opinion section, she lives with her family in Philadelphia. Visit her online at JenniferWeiner.com.
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“You don't get perfect-but I was going to grab this happiness and hold it as tightly as I could. I was going to enjoy it for as long as it lasted.” 7 likes
“One of its ears stuck straight up, the other flopped as it ran, and I remembered something I'd read somewhere--that when God sees a dog he likes, He folds one of its ears down to remember it.” 7 likes
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