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3.43  ·  Rating Details ·  7,772 Ratings  ·  567 Reviews
The short story that inspired Jennifer Weiner’s forthcoming novel The Next Best Thing.

Ruth has left her job writing for a hit television show for reasons she’d rather not discuss and is supplementing her increasingly dwindling savings with freelance writing projects—namely, helping anxious high school students craft a perfect college essay and lonely souls craft captivatin
ebook, 48 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by Atria Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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May 19, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: pop-lit
I had never read anything by Jennifer Weiner before, but thought I'd give her a try with this free e-short story, which was the inspiration for a forthcoming book, a preview of which is included with the download.

Based on just this read, Weiner is a great light fiction writer. Even within a short story and two chapters of the book, she has crafted a character for whom you are truly invested based upon the struggles she's had early in life - losing her parents in a car crash, which also badly sc
Suzie Quint
Jul 27, 2012 Suzie Quint rated it it was amazing
I very much liked Weiner's Good in Bed. I was less excited about Goodnight Nobody, so I hadn't picked up any more of her books. This short was free, so I snagged it and now I remember what I liked about Jennifer Weiner. I'm not usually a fan of short fiction. Usually it doesn't leave me satisfied. This does. Short as it is, the heroine has a character arc and the ending is upbeat and hopeful. I will be reading Jennifer W's book The Next Best Thing, which is an outgrowth of this story.
Aug 03, 2016 Kristilyn rated it really liked it
I've had Jennifer Weiner's novella Swim on my eReader for a while now, but never got around to reading it. It wasn't until the Bout of Books readathon came up that realized I had the perfect opportunity to finally give it a go.

Swim is a novella that's about a character in Weiner's newest novel, The Next Best Thing, namely, the character Ruth. I haven't read her newest novel, but this story was a perfect introduction to it. I adored Ruth's character -- she was strong, but still so insecure. I lo
♥ Marlene♥
Nov 10, 2012 ♥ Marlene♥ rated it really liked it
Shelves: chick-lit, fiction, kindle
Picked it up last night and glad I did.
I must admit I got confused (what else is new)

Got confused because I have a book called The Next big Thing by another writer, Johanna Edwards, and I loved that book.

The Next Big Thing by Johanna Edwards

This book is about a not so thin girl who ends up on a Reality TV show, so at first I thought, "hey I do not remember the main character to be like that...."

Yes I know. a bit stupid....

Once my brains finally realized that this was going to be Jen Weiner's new
Aug 20, 2012 Angie rated it really liked it
I've read a couple of Jennifer Weiner's books, "Good in Bed" and "In Her Shoes." I really enjoyed both of those books so when Amazon was offering "Swim" for free on the Kindle I jumped at the chance to read a short story about a character in her upcoming book, "The Next Best Thing." After finishing this short story I can't wait to get my hands on it!

"Swim" introduces the reader to Ruth, the main character who's lost both her parents at a young age in a car accident that left her face scarred af
Lexxie (un)Conventional Bookviews
Jun 24, 2012 Lexxie (un)Conventional Bookviews rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
4.5 stars

I had already read this story before, but I had to read it again after finishing The Next Best Thing A Novel by Jennifer Weineryesterday. I just wanted a little more Ruthie, and of grandma as well.

The characters are so completely real it makes reading so easy. It's like hanging out with friends you haven't seen in a while, and that you're really happy spending time with again!
Nov 29, 2015 Nicole rated it it was amazing
Loved, loved, loved this short story! It also did it's job as I am now excited about reading the novel that follows.
Carrie Kellenberger
Jan 08, 2013 Carrie Kellenberger rated it it was ok
I've never been a big fan of short stories. Had I known this was a novella when I downloaded it, I probably would've reconsidered. Nevertheless, Swim is a good read about a young woman named Ruth who was involved in a car crash when she was quite young, leaving her orphaned and permanently disfigured. Ruth's grandmother raises her and they end up moving to Los Angeles were Ruth can pursue her dream of becoming a screen writer.

Ruth lands a job writing for a television show and ends up developing
A Reader's Heaven
Feb 05, 2014 A Reader's Heaven rated it really liked it
Ruth has left her good job as a television screenwriter after an incident with a man she would rather forget. While between jobs, she discovers that she can help students putting their college applications together (for a fee, of course!) Then she meets Gary who wants her to help create his online dating profile. Hard as she may try, she can't help but face the feelings she has for the new man in her life.

I have never read Jennifer Weiner before and have to say I was pleasantly surprised with th
Sep 05, 2013 Kendra rated it did not like it
Swim is a short story that I had previously downloaded for free on my kobo. In my goals of cleaning up all of my devices (so I can fill them up with new and better things!) I came across Swim.

While it is a short story, I felt like it should have grabbed my attention more. I didn't want to read anymore about Ruth. I felt like I wanted to read more about Cailtyn and her attempts to get into college. And that's saying something! Based on this I'm not sure if I want to read the novel this inspired
I read this because it was free, and short, and because I read one of Jennifer Weiner's books at one point and liked it pretty well, but this short story...didn't quite do it for me. Part of it might be that it's sort of a prequel, so the ending felt a little Non-concrete? Well, something. I didn't even realize it was over at first because there's a preview for the book about that same character right after it. But also, I just couldn't relate to Ruth. I liked the beginning, bu ...more
Jan 13, 2015 Travis rated it liked it
Shelves: itunes
I'm going to have to read The Next Best Thing, the novel based on this short story, because I'll tell you what. This one didn't do it for me. It just kind of stopped right in the middle of nowhere, and left me feeling cheated. Nothing happened during the story of note, and all the things that could have led to something were just cut off abruptly at the end, with no regard whatsoever for loose ends (of which there were many). A decent enough story in and of itself, but one that just up and quit ...more
Swim is a short story, it's also a preview for her novel The Next Best Thing, which I haven't read yet. I liked swim enough to make me want to read the novel. Ruth is a free lance writer and former television writer with ambitions to be more. She hasn't had much success with romance but I suspect that will change in the novel. Jennifer Weiner is a good writer. She has had several successful novels with one being made into a movie. Swim is a free e-book available for Kindle users.
Aug 26, 2012 Stacy rated it liked it
As far as short stories go, this one was short short short. Too short to really start and end. What it did do was wet my appetite for the follow-up, full size novel by Weiner: The Next Best Thing. The eBook had three of the first chapters of the sequel included. There was more story in three chapters than the whole of Swim. Can't wait to read the rest of it. My advice? Skip this and just read the Next Best Thing... or be prepared to read them both together.
Jul 18, 2012 Naomi rated it really liked it
Probably my favorite Jennifer Weiner read. There was something about this story that it def. had a feeling of deeper character and character development than a number of author characters in her book. I actually found myself wanting to read the full lenght novel that this book was a short story to.
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
I really liked this short story from Jennifer Weiner. This story, in fact, reminded me why I love reading her books. It was well written, contemplative, and very very enjoyable. It is super short but worth the 10-15 minutes it takes to read it. Don't miss this little gem.
Sep 09, 2013 Sue rated it really liked it
Well-written with good character development, which is an important plus in a short story. Glad she developed a novel out of it, I'd like to know more about Ruth. I really enjoy Weiner's point of view.
Jul 24, 2012 Nenette rated it liked it
This short story offers a peek into the novel The Next Best Thing. It's a peek alright, but it is also a complete storyi by Itself. It does not leave one hanging, but definitely wanting to read more.
Jan 15, 2013 Janelle rated it liked it
Shelves: e-books, 2013
Um, okay. Short? Yes. Good enough to draw me into reading, The Next Best Thing? Uh, maybe. Not in a rush though.
Nov 01, 2012 Rikki rated it really liked it

Ready for "The Next Best Thing" now.
Nov 29, 2014 Mya rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the emotions portrayed
Lucille Bransfield
Oct 23, 2016 Lucille Bransfield rated it really liked it
I really liked this short story. Ruth was a great character that really made you think about life. I will definitely read the full novel that is a follow up to this book.
Nov 11, 2016 Stephi rated it really liked it
When the short story is way better than the novel it inspired
I read this short story a couple of weeks ago while on a trip with my grandparents. I didn't have much time for reading, but managed to whip through this pretty quick while waiting for the NASCAR race to come on. It was a free download and even though I was iffy about Weiner, I figured "why not?" I knew that I hated In Her Shoes but I couldn't recall what other novel of Weiner's that I had read, so before I pulled up the page for "Swim", I went looking for the other book of hers that I just kne ...more
Kathy Schiffer
Sep 19, 2016 Kathy Schiffer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful tale

A well spun yarn about loss and beauty and the power of love. Just wish it was a full length novel!
May 26, 2012 Jaylia3 rated it really liked it
Swim is a short story prequel for Jennifer Weiner’s book The Next Best Thing which will be released in July 2012. Ruth Saunders moved to Los Angeles a few years before the start of Swim, hoping to make it as a screenwriter, but after landing a gig on TV’s The Girl’s Room she’s had some career and romantic set backs so is currently employed helping clueless high school students with the college application process. With Ruth in LA is her lively grandmother, a woman who cooks Thanksgiving-like ...more
Cherry (_forevermint)
Aug 10, 2012 Cherry (_forevermint) rated it really liked it
After recently being entranced by the water after years of hiding from it, I found the exact opposite in this little eShort story: a girl hiding beneath the waters. Ruth is definitely an interesting character, her past is not one of sunshine, rainbows and ponies but instead of pain and disappointment and loss. It's tragic, but this is only briefly mentioned in the actual story, the real details are in the excerpt that follow it. Ruth's experiences with one of her clients is light-hearted and ...more
Alice Bola
Oct 16, 2012 Alice Bola rated it it was amazing
Swim is a short story by Jennifer Weiner that was included in the book The Guy Not Taken. It is also the inspiration for her newest novel, The Next Best Thing. I purchased the short on Amazon for two reasons. The first being the price: At $1.99, you can’t go wrong. (Although I do believe the Kindle edition is free right now.) The second is I missed her. I really did. I love her writing style and her characters. The way she infuses them with such realism they can be anyone you actually know or ...more
Oct 26, 2016 Cindy rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This short story written by Jennifer Weiner in the 90s and published in May 2012 is the inspiration for her new novel “The Next Best Thing” which was published in July 2012. This short story was also published in Weiner’s 2006 “The Guy Not Taken” which is a collection of short stories. This edition includes an introduction in which Weiner describes the origin of the short story and its later revisions. The story is about Ruth Saunders a young woman from Massachusetts now living in California ...more
Sep 13, 2016 Molly rated it it was ok
I liked it. a lot. I could totally relate to Ruth. The reason for the two stars is the ending. I detest stories and books with abrupt, open endings that pitch me off a cliff.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 22, 2015 12:29PM  
  • All Is Bright
  • The Glass Case
  • Alison
  • Love Unlisted
  • The Chronicles of Marr-nia (Short Stories Starring Barbara Marr)
  • Ten Shades of Sexy
  • Bridesmaid Lotto (McMaster the Disaster, #1)
  • The Diary of Darcy J. Rhone (Darcy & Rachel, # 0.5)
  • Golden Lies
  • Breaking the Rules
  • Take A Deep Breath
  • Angel
  • When We Touch (Whiskey Creek, #0.5)
  • Ten Girls to Watch
  • Star Fish
  • Fake Perfect Me
  • Campaign Promises
  • Betty & Veronica
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
More about Jennifer Weiner...

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“People don’t like to see things that aren’t perfect. It reminds them of what could go wrong in their own lives, I guess.” 1 likes
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