The Next Best Thing: A Novel

The Next Best Thing: A Novel

3.2 128
by Jennifer Weiner
     
 

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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 three years old, Ruth Saunders miraculously survives the car crash that takes her parents’ lives on the icy Massachusetts Turnpike. Her eccentric grandmother, who comes out of Florida

Overview

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 three years old, Ruth Saunders miraculously survives the car crash that takes her parents’ lives on the icy Massachusetts Turnpike. Her eccentric grandmother, who comes out of Florida retirement to care for young Ruth, nurtures her through years of surgeries, feeding her home-cooked meals, dispensing irreverent wisdom, and telling Ruth she’s beautiful, even though her scars will stay with her forever.

After college, Ruth pursues her dream of writing to Hollywood, heading west with her grandmother in tow, hoping to make it big in the world of TV. After years of failure and a badly broken heart, Ruth gets The Call—her show has been green-lit.

But Ruth’s happy ending is only the beginning, as she struggles with how television gets made: terrified (and terrifying) executives and actresses with their eyes on bigger prizes than Ruthie’s show. Add in an unrequited crush on the man who has been her mentor. Add to that her grandmother’s impending nuptials, and Ruth’s big break might just break her.

A rollicking ride on the Hollywood roller coaster, The Next Best Thing is a heartfelt story about a young woman searching for her own happily-ever-after in the land where dreams come true.

Editorial Reviews

Time
"Weiner is coming off a year in Hollywood, and she puts the experience to excellent use in this utterly engaging story of a showrunner who, after six years of slogging, finally gets a series on the air, only to discover that her troubles are only beginning—meddling studio execs, egomaniacal actors and one crushable but unobtainable boss."
People
"An entertaining story about the dream-crushing compromises on the road from page to screen."
The Miami Herald
“A knockout. Perfect comic timing meets effortless dialogue and an engaging plot…. Enjoy your place on top of the lit world, Jennifer Weiner. You've more than made it.”
New York Daily News
"Jennifer Weiner is funny and dead-on when it comes to building a satisfying summer read.”
Washington Post
“Weiner’s snappy new novel showcases her humor and style."
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“A fascinating glimpse into the television industry…Weiner’s strong sense of comedy comes through in her characters’ witty banter and Ruth’s writing. You will cheer her on in her quest to find success and love.”
Better Homes & Gardens
“Weiner is a chick-lit writer with chops—and she puts them to expert use in this funny, feel-good tale.”
Booklist
“Ruth is a multidimensional heroine, and Weiner gives her real heart and soul. Readers will root for her to get everything she ever wanted—not to settle for the next best thing. This is contemporary women’s fiction at its finest.”
Booklist (starred review)
“Ruth is a multidimensional heroine, and Weiner gives her real heart and soul. Readers will root for her to get everything she ever wanted—not to settle for the next best thing. This is contemporary women’s fiction at its finest.”
Time Magazine
"Weiner is coming off a year in Hollywood, and she puts the experience to excellent use in this utterly engaging story of a showrunner who, after six years of slogging, finally gets a series on the air, only to discover that her troubles are only beginning—meddling studio execs, egomaniacal actors and one crushable but unobtainable boss."
People Magazine
"An entertaining story about the dream-crushing compromises on the road from page to screen."
New York Post
“A juicy fictional account of life behind the scenes for a female TV showrunner.”
Bookreporter.com
“Jennifer Weiner proves once again that her bestseller status is no accident by delivering another intriguing page-turner. She gives us sassy, sardonic Ruth to root for as well as plenty of zingers aimed at Hollywood's tweaked values. Readers are likely to enjoy a fascinating peek into the politics of television culture, coupled with a lively plot and a satisfying love story.”
From the Publisher
"Weiner is coming off a year in Hollywood, and she puts the experience to excellent use in this utterly engaging story of a showrunner who, after six years of slogging, finally gets a series on the air, only to discover that her troubles are only beginning—meddling studio execs, egomaniacal actors and one crushable but unobtainable boss."

"Spares no bon mot in exposing Hollywood’s sexism, ageism and incurable penchant for extravagant silliness."

"Full of warm and interesting characters as well as a wealth of insider industry detail (Weiner was a cocreator of an ABC Family sitcom), this is a must-read for Weiner’s many fans and anyone who enjoys smart, funny fiction."

"An entertaining story about the dream-crushing compromises on the road from page to screen."

“A knockout. Perfect comic timing meets effortless dialogue and an engaging plot…. Enjoy your place on top of the lit world, Jennifer Weiner. You've more than made it.”

"Jennifer Weiner is funny and dead-on when it comes to building a satisfying summer read.”

“Ruth is a multidimensional heroine, and Weiner gives her real heart and soul. Readers will root for her to get everything she ever wanted—not to settle for the next best thing. This is contemporary women’s fiction at its finest.”

“Weiner’s snappy new novel showcases her humor and style."

“A fascinating glimpse into the television industry…Weiner’s strong sense of comedy comes through in her characters’ witty banter and Ruth’s writing. You will cheer her on in her quest to find success and love.”

“Weiner is a chick-lit writer with chops—and she puts them to expert use in this funny, feel-good tale.”

Library Journal
It's westward ho for Ruth Saunders, who settles in Los Angeles with her grandma and finally has a sitcom accepted for production. (It's called, not surprisingly, The Next Best Thing.) Alas, the actors are prima donnas, the executives all bottom-liners, and the boss oblivious to Ruth's big crush on him. Then there's grandma's upcoming wedding. Weiner is, of course, huge; there's a ten-city tour, a book-club push, and lots of promotion plans.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781451617764
Publisher:
Washington Square Press
Publication date:
04/30/2013
Pages:
448
Sales rank:
93,215
Product dimensions:
5.46(w) x 8.08(h) x 1.16(d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer Weiner is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of fourteen books, including Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, which was made into a major motion picture, and Who Do You Love. A graduate of Princeton University and contributor to the New York Times Opinion section, Jennifer lives with her family in Philadelphia. Visit her online at JenniferWeiner.com.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Date of Birth:
March 28, 1970
Place of Birth:
De Ridder, Louisiana
Education:
B.A., Princeton University, 1991
Website:
http://www.jenniferweiner.com/

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The Next Best Thing 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 127 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all of Jennifer Weiner's novels. The Next Best Thing was not worth the read. The author repeated exact lines and characters from other novels she has written. It was like a re-read. In this novel, I felt that the author "pushed the envelope to the edge" with soft core pornography, which was not in previous reads. Not worth the money or the wait!!! Jennifer seems to be recycling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read all Jennifer Weiner's books and this is my least favorite. In her other books, the main character has been jewish and overweight. In this book, substitute disfigured face for overweight. It did go into quite a bit of detail about how the TV industry works, how the writers vision is totally turned around by network execs, and the frustration it brings to the writers. I was looking forward to this book but it was disappointing to me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
 Ruthie has her own body image issues, owing to a horrific childhood car crash that left her orphaned and scarred in more ways than one. Fortunately, Ruthie was raised by a loving grandmother that saw her through years of painful reconstructive surgeries, during which the two of them found comfort in television shows like The Golden Girls.  Like most Wiener novels, there's a delectable romantic subplot. Jennifer Weiner writes protagonists you want to be friends with, and perfectly imperfect men you could absolutely fall in love with. Along the way, she pokes plenty of fun at Hollywood, and several well-known and loosely-veiled celebrities. Personally, as a childless reader, I always enjoy the novels that DON'T deal with motherhood the most, and The Next Best Thing was a big hit with me. The Hollywood fantasy of it all harkened back to her blockbuster debut, Good in Bed. And the ending was just perfect! I think this latest novel is one of Jennifer Weiner's very best.        
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am Jennifer Weiners biggest fan- sadly NOT a fan of this book. The best thing about her books is her characters and sadly this book did not have any characters you wanted to invest in. They were all so flat. I do not recommend this book- skip it and hope her next book is better.
Vivi45 More than 1 year ago
This is the worst book by Ms Weiner that I've read. I've enjoyed all her books but "the next best thing" was almost unreadable. I did finish it though because once I start a book I give it a full try. A real dissapointment!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading "Swim," I had to know the whole story. I really enjoyed this book. Great characters and plot. I can't wait to read what comes next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's clear that this book is at least partially autobiographical - Jennifer Weiner created, wrote & executive produced the ABC Family show State of Georgia. It featured Georgia, a young aspiring actress & her oversexed great aunt Honey who raised her after Georgia's mother died. Georgia was played by Raven Simone, who underwent a huge weight loss just prior to the show's airing. I enjoyed TNBT a lot more after this realization, but other than that not Weiner's best work.
sand7s More than 1 year ago
Very interesting and entertaining. Very good book. finished it very quickly
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good
Cecita More than 1 year ago
What has happened to this author? This book had none of the wit of her first. It was hard to care for the heroine; she mostly seemed selfish and too naive. While I admit the glimpse into the world of TV and shows was interesting, the story and characters felt flat. I could not get past the fact that her sitcom would get greenlit. It seemed so corny and unoriginal. Not even good as a light summer read.
quaintinns More than 1 year ago
A sitcom showrunner finds the road to her first series launch much rockier than expected. When Ruth Saunders gets "the call" from the network telling her that her original series, The Next Best Thing, is a go, at first she is incredulous. Although she's served her time in a writers' room, she never expected to sell her autobiographical concept about a young woman, Daphne, and her grandmother, Nanna Trudy, who move to Miami to seek their fortunes. Ruth moved to Hollywood with her grandmother, Rae, and they've both enjoyed success, Ruth as a comedy writer and Rae as an extra. Rae raised Ruth from toddlerhood after a car crash killed her parents and disfigured Ruth. (Even after multiple surgeries, one side of Ruth's face is badly scarred.) After Ruth is hired as an assistant to two writer-producers, Big Dave and Little Dave, they help her develop and pitch her own show. I enjoyed the first part with the grandmother as humorous; however, as the book moves on, not a lot of substance and a let down from Weiner's previous books. "
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was not worth the time and pain it caused me. The quality of writing is something I may have expected from a seventh grader with decent grades. The plot was horrendous like the author didn't even know where she wanted it to go. This is one of the worst books I have read in a while. I don't know how it got published in the first place. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely LOVED this book. I listened to the audio recording because I commute to work and the voice actor is amazing. She makes everything funnier and more real. It's a huge triumph that Jennifer Weiner includes a character who uses a wheelchair and makes it a minor detail of the story. He's handsome, funny, successful, rich, has a beautiful home and, of yeah, he uses a wheelchair. He's not inspirational or overcoming anything. He's a "normal" guy (whatever that means). I was in a car accident in 1982 and have used a wheelchair ever since--this is probably why this resonated with me so much. If you're going to read it--choose the audio book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not my fave jennifer weiner but fun quick read
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it! Never wanted to put it down. So fun, hopeful and uplifting!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read it and then deleted it my library. I have never done that before. I thought it was terribly written. It took me forever to get through it because I was bored
Anonymous More than 1 year ago