Friday, April 18, 2008

"The Next Thing on My List," by Jill Smolinski

June Parker takes mercy on fellow Weight Watcher Marissa, whom she sees teetering down a sidewalk on high-heeled shoes, and offers her a ride. A freak car accident leaves Marissa dead and leaves June wracked with guilt, especially after cleaning the blood off of Marissa's purse in order to return it to the girl's family and finding a slip of paper that details all the things she'd hoped to accomplish before her 25th birthday. After months of moping and depression (and being dumped by her boyfriend), June visits Marissa's grave on the six-month anniversary of her death. She meets Marissa's brother and mentions the list she'd found. Because he is angry that June hadn't returned the paper, she blurts out that she intends to finish Marissa's list.

With the deadline of Marissa's 25th birthday, June sets out on tasks great and small, such as see a sunrise, change someone's life, and "Make Buddy Fitch pay." She enlists the help of a friend and a few co-workers to help her make her goals.

The Next Thing on My List was a very quick read and packs an emotional punch. Sure, it has its moments of predictability. On the other hand, it's always nice to read something that isn't mainly about getting a guy and wondering why he hasn't called. This book also shows how one person can have an amazing amount of influence on others' lives. I suggested Smolinski's book to co-workers, and each one loved it. Librarian approved!

I wasn't completely with the ending, as the guy June ends up with kinda skeeves me out. Points docked for the ick-factor.

4 stars

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