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The Next Thing on My List

Cover of The Next Thing on My List

The Next Thing on My List

A Novel
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Meet June Parker. She works for L.A. Rideshare, adores her rent-stabilized apartment in Santa Monica, and struggles with losing a few pesky pounds.

But June’s life is about to change.

After a dark turn of events involving Weight Watchers, a chili recipe, and a car accident in which her passenger, Marissa, dies, June finds herself in possession of a list Marissa has written, “20 Things to Do By My 25th Birthday.” Even though they barely knew eachother, June is compelled by both guilt and a desire to set things right and finish the list for Marissa.

The tasks before her range from inspiring (Run a 5K), to daring (Go braless), to near-impossible (Change someone’s life), and as June races to achieve each goal before the deadline, she learns more about her own life than she ever bargained for.

Funny, engaging, and heartwarming, The Next Thing on My List features a loveable, relatable heroine and a story with plenty of humor and heart.


From the Hardcover edition.
Meet June Parker. She works for L.A. Rideshare, adores her rent-stabilized apartment in Santa Monica, and struggles with losing a few pesky pounds.

But June’s life is about to change.

After a dark turn of events involving Weight Watchers, a chili recipe, and a car accident in which her passenger, Marissa, dies, June finds herself in possession of a list Marissa has written, “20 Things to Do By My 25th Birthday.” Even though they barely knew eachother, June is compelled by both guilt and a desire to set things right and finish the list for Marissa.

The tasks before her range from inspiring (Run a 5K), to daring (Go braless), to near-impossible (Change someone’s life), and as June races to achieve each goal before the deadline, she learns more about her own life than she ever bargained for.

Funny, engaging, and heartwarming, The Next Thing on My List features a loveable, relatable heroine and a story with plenty of humor and heart.


From the Hardcover edition.
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    Chapter 1

    Next on the list: Kiss a stranger.

    "How about him?" Susan pointed to a guy so rakishly handsome, it was odd to see him in a downtown Los Angeles bar wearing a shirt and tie instead of modeling underwear in front of a camera, where he clearly belonged.

    "Let's be realistic."

    "Why? It's just a kiss."

    Easy for her to say--she wasn't the one doing the kissing.

    It was Thursday after work, and the Brass Monkey was hopping. Susan and I had already been at the bar for an hour, casing the joint and sipping two-dollar margaritas that were, sadly, much too weak to help me muster my courage.

    "What do you think--on the lips?" I asked.

    "Definitely, but tongue is up to you."

    After much debate, I settled on three guys at a cocktail table across the bar. Mid- to late thirties and dressed in casual business attire, they seemed harmless, which was their primary appeal. Here goes. I hoisted myself bravely from my chair as if I were about to march forth into battle. My plan was to go up to their table, explain my predicament, and hope one of them would take pity on me and volunteer for the job.

    In the event that that didn't work--well, I didn't want to think about what would happen if it didn't work. I suppose it would involve skulking away in humiliation.

    I swigged down the last of my drink, took a breath, and strode to the table. The three guys looked at me with open curiosity. A woman approaching who wasn't a waitress was an interesting sight indeed. Plus I'd sort of slutted up for the occasion. I wore a snug suit over a camisole, and I'd gone to town with the eyeliner. My hair was doing its usual insane tumble of waves and curls to my shoulders.

    "Hi! I'm June!" I said perkily.

    After a moment, perhaps debating if I was going to try to sell them something, one of them said, "I'm Frank, and this is Ted, and Alfonso."

    "Nice to meet you!" And then I plunged in. "I came over here because I was wondering if you could help me? I have this list of things I need to do." I held up the list, Exhibit A, which was handwritten on a sheet of ordinary notebook paper. "One of the things on it is that I need to kiss a stranger. So I was wondering--"

    "You want to kiss one of us?" Alfonso asked eagerly.

    Frank chimed in, "What--you on a scavenger hunt?"

    "Not exactly," I answered.

    "So would this kiss be on the mouth?"

    "Yes."

    "Tongue?"

    "Optional."

    Three sets of eyes gave me a once-over, but--bonus points for them--they tried to make it appear as if they weren't.

    "Aw, Christ," Alfonso said with what appeared to be genuine regret, "we're all married."

    "I'm not that married," Ted added. "I mean, if it'll help the girl out . . ."

    "That's okay," I said, starting to back away. Why hadn't I thought to check for rings?

    "No, we want to help you. None of us can do it, but we got a buddy here from work who might be able to. Hey, Marco!" Frank shouted across the bar, and who should turn around but the underwear model. Terrific. "There's a girl here needs a hand!"

    Marco trotted over. Well, he seemed eager enough. Trying not to blush--and knowing Susan was probably bursting a spleen laughing--I repeated my story. Before I could finish, he snatched the paper from my hand and started reading it aloud.

    "Let's see what this list is about," he boomed. "'Twenty Things to Do by My Twenty-fifth Birthday.'" Then he paused to look at me and smirk. "Twenty-fifth birthday?"

    Oh, real nice!

    I'll have him know that I may be thirty-four, but in certain lighting I still get carded.

    "Give me that." I made a grab for the...
Reviews-
  • Kirkus Reviews "Smolinski crafts a believable heroine, and her chipper carpe-diem message may have readers devising their own Top 20s. . . . Sweet."
  • Jane Heller, author of Some Nerve and Lucky Stars
    "Cheers for Jill Smolinski, who has transcended the chick lit category by giving us a heroine who really tries to make a difference in this world. What a concept! I loved this book- its humor and its humanity. You will, too."
  • Isabel Rose, author of The J.A.P. Chronicles "Instantly engaging, original, and funny, Jill Smolinski's new novel charmed me from the first page. Put this on your list: you won't be sorry!"
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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