There have been books about life lists in the last few years, but Jill Smolinski's novel, The Next Thing on My List, puts a whole new spin on life lists. What if you had to fulfill someone else's dreams on a list?
June Parker was adrift in her life, and in her marketing job for L.A. Rideshare. But, one Weight Watchers group completely changed her life, when she offered Marissa Jones a ride home, and had an accident. It could have been blamed on the truck that lost a dresser into the road ahead of them, but June blames herself, thinking she killed Marissa. For some reason, she keeps the slip of paper she finds, Marissa's list of "25 Things to Do Before My 25th Birthday". It isn't until six months later when she runs into Marissa's brother, Troy, at the cemetery, that she boldly announces she will finish Marissa's list.
It might have been a fun list for Marissa, but June, who has spent her life procrastinating, and not finishing projects, will have a hard time. She has to run a 5K, show her brother how grateful she is for him (a brother she doesn't appreciate), and "Make Buddy Fitch pay". There are eighteen items left on the list, and if June is going to finish it before the date of Marissa's twenty-fifth birthday, she's going to have to find resources she didn't know she had, and a support network of friends, people she never made an effort to get to know.
The Next Thing on My list should make you laugh, and think a little. June just drifted along, until suddenly someone else gave her a purpose in life. The reader feels sorry for June, a woman who feels guilty that she lived, when she had nothing to live for, while Marissa had so much. Sometimes, it takes someone else's death to give a person a reason to live. Smolinski's The Next Thing on My list is warm and funny, and a little bit wise.
Jill Smolinski's website is www.jillsmolinski.com
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The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski. Shaye Areheart Books, ©2007. ISBN 9780307351241 (hardcover), 304p.
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