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Extended Audio Sample The Next Best Thing: A Novel, by Jennifer Weiner Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (9,991 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jennifer Weiner Narrator: Olivia Thirlb Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Actors aren’t the only ones trying to make it in Hollywood. At twenty-three, Ruth Saunders left her childhood home in Massachusetts and headed west with her seventy-year-old grandma in tow, hoping to make it as a screenwriter. Six years later, she hits the jackpot when she gets “The Call”: the sitcom she wrote, The Next Best Thing, has gotten the green light, and Ruthie’s going to be the showrunner. But her dreams of Hollywood happiness are threatened by demanding actors, number-crunching executives, an unrequited crush on her boss, and her grandmother’s impending nuptials.

Set against the fascinating backdrop of Los Angeles show business culture, with an insider’s ear for writer’s room showdowns and an eye for bad backstage behavior and set politics, Jennifer Weiner’s novel is a rollicking ride on the Hollywood roller coaster, a heartfelt story about what it’s like for a young woman to love, and lose, in the land where dreams come true. 

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Jennifer Weiner is a dynamo of a writer: witty and engaging.”

    USA Today

  • “Snappy…Weiner’s tenth novel, showcases her humor and style. It’s also a gentle reminder that, as Mick Jagger sings, ‘You can’t always get what you want,’ but with enough effort you might get what you need, and that makes the next best thing feel all right.”

    Washington Post

  • “Olivia Thirlby’s reading captures the heart and soul of Weiner’s novel. The narrator’s portrayal of the young, naïve Ruth is convincing and nuanced. In turns, Thirlby embodies Ruth’s varied emotions, sounds excited, exasperated, embarrassed, sensuous, petulant, funny, and sad.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Olivia Thirlby captures the youthful cynicism and insecurity of youth Ruth Saunders…Thirlby’s consistently clear characterization keeps the listener engaged with the story.”


  • “Ruth is a multidimensional heroine, and Weiner gives her real heart and soul…Contemporary women’s fiction at its finest.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Spares no bon mot in exposing Hollywood’s sexism, ageism and incurable penchant for extravagant silliness.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A Los Angeles Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Nicole | 2/5/2014

    " Too much exposition! I liked this better than some of her other books, but it was not as good as Good in Bed or In Her Shoes (which was made better by the very good movie adaptation). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Julie | 2/4/2014

    " This is another book I was gifted for my birthday. And since summertime is always a great time to delve into some chic-lit, I thought I would try it. Weiner presents a story about twenty something Ruthie, who was raised by her grandmother after a deadly car accident killed her parents and left her slightly disfigured. When Ruthie and her grandmother move to LA so Ruthie can fulfill her dreams of writing + producing a television show, she realizes how ruthless Hollywood can really be. A story about following your dreams while finding confidence and love along the way. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Laura | 1/28/2014

    " If you like Jennifer Weiner (which I do), you will like this book. I don't think it's her best book, however. It's the story of a young woman who moves with her grandmother to Los Angeles to pursue a writing career. It's an entertaining story, but not particularly moving or deep. Still, a good summer read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Ashley | 1/27/2014

    " Just as a note: read this, don't listen. Olivia Thirlby has an interesting voice, just not a flair for narration(or variety). "

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