Read Your Big Break Online

Authors: Johanna Edwards

Your Big Break

BOOK: Your Big Break
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Table of Contents
 
 
Why everyone is raving about Johanna Edward's debut novel
The Next Big Thing
“In this saucy sendup, a feisty young Memphis publicist . . . drops the pounds, but learns that fame has a cost . . . and that being skinny isn't always pretty.”
—US Weekl
y
 
“Edwards addresses image issues with wit and candor. . . . Fans of Jennifer Weiner's realistic female protagonists will find a new favorite here.”
—Booklist
 
“Reality TV meets actual REALITY! Take a bunch of women struggling with weight, body image, and relationship problems and lock them in a house with a gym, a trainer, a pantry full of treats and nothing but time, and what you get is a perfect combination of catfights and self discovery. In
The Next Big Thing
, Johanna Edwards asks us to wonder what life on such a reality show would be like, and through the eyes of her feisty herioine Kat Larson, we get a pretty good idea of the ups and downs. But more importantly, we get a very clear picture of the diversity and humanity of women who are dealing with their own feelings about their weight issues, as well as society's hang-ups. Kat is as flawed as any of us, and on her journey discovers that her flaws actually have little to do with her size and more to do with her attitude. Funny, but also honest with some real power,
The Next Big Thing
is a very entertaining read that makes you think. Great fun!”
—Stacey Ballis, author of
Inappropriate Men
“A deliciously dishy tale of life behind the scenes of reality television. Peeking into the lives of contestants on
From Fat to Fabulous
, Johanna Edwards has created a cast of characters who keep you rooting for them from start to finish (as well as a few you'd like to strangle!). Protagonist Larson is a sympathetic and complex plus-size gal who gives readers a real feel for what it's like to be an overweight woman in America. While poignant and touching, Kat's plight keeps readers laughing throughout this delightful tale.”—Jennifer Coburn, author of
The Wife of Reilly
 
“Loved it!”
—Melissa Senate, author of
Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?
 
“With tell-all honesty, pitch-perfect sass, and a generous and tender heart, Johanna Edwards brings to life the public burdens of being overweight . . . Like reality TV,
The Next Big Thing
is highly addictive.”—Jennifer Paddock, author of
A Secret World
 
“More addicting than any reality show,
The Next Big Thing
is a terrific read that kept me laughing and cheering until the last page.”—Sara Mlynowski, author of
As Seen on TV
 
“From the first page to the last, Johanna Edwards' debut novel is fabulous fun. I couldn't help cheering for Kat as she comes face-to-face with the reality behind TV.”
—Jennifer O'Connell, author of
Bachelorette #1
and
Dress Rehearsal
Also by Johanna Edwards
THE NEXT BIG THING
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3,
Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
(a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)
Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017,
India
Penguin Group (NZ), cnr. Airborne and Rosedale Roads, Albany, Auckland 1310, New Zealand
(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196,
South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
 
Copyright © 2006 by Johanna Edwards
eISBN : 978-0-425-20784-0
 
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
 
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
 
PRINTING HISTORY
Berkley trade paperback edition / March 2006
 
Berkley is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
The “B” design is a trademark belonging to Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
 
This book has been cataloged by the Library of Congress
 
 

http://us.penguingroup.com

To James Abbott
AcknowledgmentS
I am extremely grateful to all the readers who took a chance on a new author and picked up a copy of
The Next Big Thing
. You guys made my lifelong dream come true and put me on the best-seller lists for nearly three months! Thanks also to everyone who took the time to e-mail or come to one of my readings. Your kind words and encouragement have meant the world to me.
Many thanks to my savvy agent, the awesome Jenny Bent. Without her, I'd still be sitting around waiting for
my
big break. My undying gratitude to the phenomenal team at Berkley: Leslie Gelbman, Kara Cesare, and Tess Tabor. A big thank you to the Penguin marketing and sales force for working so hard to get my books out there. And, of course, many thanks to Allison McCabe, who got the ball rolling in the first place.
Publication is a crazy time. I owe a lot to my family and friends who put up with me during the most neurotic year of my life (and that's saying a lot!) and who offered much love and support. Thanks especially to my parents, Paula and Les, and my sister, Selena, as well as all my aunts, uncles, and grandparents, and cousins.
Two people were very instrumental in helping this book see the light of day. I am grateful to James Abbott, who read and critiqued both
Your Big Break
and
The Next Big Thing
on incredibly short notice. Thanks to my Boston buddy, Susanne Enos, for giving me the scoop on Beantown.
I am also grateful to: Candy Justice, Chris Allen, Christy Paganoni, Virginia Miller, Chris Carwile, Karin Gillespie, Stephen Usery, Dr. Cynthia Hopson, and Dr. David Arant. Thanks to everyone in Memphis for rallying around a hometown girl and showing your support.
Last, and definitely least, to all the boys who ever dumped me, rejected me, or otherwise broke my heart—thanks for the inspiration.
1
YBB INC. EMPLOYEE RULE #1
Always meet in a public place.
Coffee shops are ideal.
Never go anywhere that serves alcohol.
 
 
 
 
I am a liar. My job forces me to be one.
Every day I spin falsehoods, tell people what they want to hear.
“Of course he still finds you sexually attractive!”
He just finds you sexually attractive in that “we're better off as friends” way.
“It's not you. Yes, I know everyone says that, but it's so
not
you.”
“No, he doesn't hate you.”
He just never wants to see you again as long as he lives.
“Your receding hairline and beer belly have nothing to do with why she left.”
I say these things because that's my job, to sugarcoat the bad stuff.
I even lie to my family.
My parents have no idea what I do for a living. They think I write promotional copy for websites. It's not that I'm embarrassed by my job, but, well, my folks are kind of old-fashioned. Especially my mother. She's kissed three men in her entire life and was a virgin until she married, a fact she reminds me of on a semi-regular basis. If she knew I made my living busting up relationships, she'd be crushed, mortified. I made up the whole Web thing to buy time, so I could slowly introduce my parents to the idea of Your Big Break Inc. But the trouble with lying is you can't tell just one fib and be done with it. You have to make up more lies to cover your original lie.
Long story short, I still haven't gotten around to telling my parents the truth.
Maybe I
am
embarrassed.
But as crazy as it seems, I took this job because I wanted to help people. Breakups are horrific and devastating—Your Big Break Inc. makes them civilized. I do whatever I can to help people transitioning from couplehood to single life. But good intentions or not, the fact remains: I
am
a liar.
“Are you Jason Dutwiler?” I ask, entering the downtown Boston Starbucks and locating a forlorn-looking man nursing a cappuccino.
“I was expecting a guy,” he says, eyeing me up and down.
I clear my throat. “Jason Dutwiler?” I ask again, and he nods.
“My assistant said I had a meeting with someone named Danny,” he explains. “I thought it'd be a man.”
“Dani,” I tell him, extending my hand. “It's short for Danielle.”
Jason is clean-cut with light brown hair and eyes. He works as a CPA at FleetBoston. According to my notes, he's thirty-six years old, but I find that hard to believe. He looks much younger.
“I never thought Lucy would leave me for a
girl
,” he says, amazed.
I smile and slide into the seat across from him. I'm carrying a small, black duffel bag, which I place beside my feet. “She's not leaving you for anyone, Jason. It's not about that.” I pause. “Lucy's at a crossroads in her life,” I begin.
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