Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Next Thing On My List by Jill Smolinski

In Smolinksi's novel, we meet June Parker about six months after a tragic accident in which a young woman she just barely met (Marissa) is killed. And June is responsible because she was driving the car involved in the accident. She finds a list in Marissa's purse that lists the 20 things she'd like to accomplish before her next birthday. June feels it is her duty to complete Marissa's list for her and hopefully finishing this task will relieve some of the guilt she feels from the accident.

Some things on the list are relatively easy (going braless for a day, boogie boarding, kiss a stranger) and others prove difficult (change someone's life, show brother gratitude, find a guy named Buddy Finch and "make him pay"). Along the way June just may encounter romance and learn a few things about herself as well.

While certain things were predictable about the story, I enjoyed reading about June's journey. I'm not entirely sure I feel satisfied by the ending, but I was not surprised by it. There was a bit of romance going on with Marissa's brother that bothered me a bit. And I was a little annoyed at who June ends up with at the end of the book. But, the idea to have a list and push yourself to accomplish something instead of idly watching life go by is an interesting one. There is a note at the back of the paperback from the author thanking all the people who wrote to her with their own stories. So this book really spoke to people! Though I have yet to go to my book club meeting and discuss this book as a group, I do feel there's potential for some good discussion. I breezed through the novel. It would make a fantastic beach/vacation read (hmm...maybe we should start a new category here on On My Bookshelf!).


Liz said...

I really like the sound of this book -- well, I liked the sound of it at the beginning, but then I'm getting further into your review... I guess what I like is the idea that life is worth living and it's good to stretch yourself and try new things. It bring to mind a book I read recently, "Cornfield Heiress," which is about a woman who goes for the gusto! She grew up int he '60s and then just zig-zagged from corporate jet to carnival worker, to everything in between, where her inheritance turns bittersweet. It's not just fun, but it's also a walk through cancer treatments -- and even those she takes with a no-holds-barred approach. Great fun.

Lisa said...

I've had this one in my TBR for a while now. The premise really appeals to me, I should make time for it.

Holly said...

Hmm... looks like a fun, easy read. Sometimes you need those!

Marilu said...

Thanks for reviewing this one! I have heard a few different opinions on it, and keep adding then removing from my TBR list. Your review made me decide to add it once again. I will keep it on the list, and pick it up when I am looking for an easy read.