112 reviews

The Next Thing on My List: A Novel
by Jill Smolinski

Published: 2008-03-25
Paperback : 304 pages
700 members reading this now
321 clubs reading this now
197 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 101 of 112 members
“You’ll be hooked by this charming story. . . . Smolinski gives us a quick-witted heroine . . . with just the right amount of romance and a tad of suspense.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch

After a car accident in which her passenger, Marissa, dies, June Parker finds herself in possession ...
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“You’ll be hooked by this charming story. . . . Smolinski gives us a quick-witted heroine . . . with just the right amount of romance and a tad of suspense.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch

After a car accident in which her passenger, Marissa, dies, June Parker finds herself in possession of a list Marissa has written: “20 Things to Do by My 25th Birthday.” The tasks range from inspiring (run a 5K) to daring (go braless) to near-impossible (change someone’s life).

To assuage her guilt, June races to achieve each goal herself before the deadline, learning more about her own life than she ever bargained for.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.


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. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

From the author:

1. Marissa died soon after she lost 100 pounds. Was the timing of this was significant to the story, and if so, in what way?

2. Why do you think the author had June complete someone else’s life list and not write it as a woman completing her own?

3. Which items on the list were most challenging to June? Which would you have the hardest time completing? Did any appeal to you?

4. Have you ever written a “life list?” If so, what sort of items were on it, and have you completed any of them? If you haven’t, why not?

5. Life lists aim to help people live more dynamically by doing things—how does fit in with your philosophy of what makes a person’s life important?

6. After the accident, June says that there are two types of horrible events: the type that make you grab life by the throat and never take it for granted, and the type that make you watch a lot of reality TV. Was her reaction realistic? How would you feel if a passenger died when you were driving?

7. What did you think about the relationship between June and Deedee? How would June’s experience have been different if she’d been given the type of “Little Sister” she’d been

8. At Sebastian’s party, guests who learn about the list assume that Marissa must have been unhappy if she was fat. Were they being, as one woman put it, “size-ist?” or it is impossible to be overweight and happy in this society?

9. What characteristics attracted June to Troy? Do you think she would have been drawn to him if he wasn’t a traffic reporter? If he wasn’t Marissa’s brother?

10. Several of the items on the list were open to interpretation—do you think June did it in a way Marissa would have liked? What other ways might she have completed some of the tasks on the list?

11. If someone you loved died (or has died), what dream of his or hers would you most want to see fulfilled? What dream of yours do you fear might never happen if you died suddenly?

12. By the end of the book, June feels that she’s changed. What do you think had the biggest impact on her transformation?

Suggested by Members

Have your book club make a bucket list of sorts to bring to meeting. This book will defintely inspire lists.
Discuss each list with the rest of club. Could bring on an interesting evening full of insight .
by nascardc (see profile) 11/01/10

What is on your list? Do you think it relived Juneof the guilt to complete the list?
by MimiH (see profile) 11/01/10

This is was a cute, fun read and our book club enjoyed it.
by sjones (see profile) 09/16/10

Discussion needs to be centered around "bucket lists" - Are they good, bad, etc.
by CarolN (see profile) 07/02/10

What is on your list?
by Cupcake_Princess (see profile) 03/15/10

If you where in June's shoes would you have completed a strangers list?
Do you think that June is doing the right thing, becoming envolved?
by Kathy E. (see profile) 02/17/10

The most popular I assume would be what some things on peoples lists would be....
by PECHEMAN (see profile) 02/15/10

What would you put on your list and why.
by Lauradf (see profile) 11/09/09

Would you have a list?
by kabarn (see profile) 11/05/09

The end of the books has some great suggestions.
by dawnv (see profile) 08/23/09

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

A note from Jill:

Does your reading group have THE NEXT THING ON MY LIST or FLIP-FLOPPED on its list? I'd be happy to “join you” at your meeting, either by answering a few questions by e-mail or scheduling a 20-minute conference by speakerphone. I’ve actually been part of a reading group myself for 15 years—and while we boast that we’re possibly the worst book club in the world (we’ve had entire meetings that have consisted of, “I liked it,” “Me, too,” “Is there any more wine?”)—more often the discussion leads us to sharing ideas and reflecting on what we’ve read in a light we might not have otherwise considered.

Please email me at [email protected] so we can set up a mutually convenient time. In your email, let me know how long your group has been meeting, number of members, the city and state where you’re located, a preferred date and time (if you have one) and any other information you think might be pertinent. I look forward to talking with you!

Book Club Recommendations

Jill Smolinski states she loves to skype or have a speakerphone conversation with book clubs.
by beach (see profile) 06/16/13

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
by Allison W. (see profile) 11/01/22

by Kelli B. (see profile) 09/28/19

by Janet B. (see profile) 08/19/18

by Leslie P. (see profile) 06/09/18

  "The Next Thing on My List"by Debbie H. (see profile) 05/19/16

I thought this was a good book club book and an easier read. It prompted good discussion in our group. The writing style and the way that the story went reminded a couple of us of Janet Evanovich... (read more)

by Donna P. (see profile) 01/08/16

  "Sucks you right into the book!"by Jessica L. (see profile) 01/08/16

This is such a fun book, it truly sucks you right in within the first few pages. It is a quick read and would suggest it to anyone looking for a good book.

by Shari H. (see profile) 02/18/15

  "the next thing om my list"by susan w. (see profile) 02/18/15

A cute book that lead our book club to examine and share our own bicket lists.

  "The Next Thing on My List"by Kati S. (see profile) 06/16/13

I absolutely loved this book. It reminded me of the ever-so-popular movie "The Bucket List." Here's the difference: "The Bucket List" was a wonderful movie that made a lot of people talk and possibly even... (read more)

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