Book Review : The Bookish Life Of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill (Amazon Affiliate Link)

Author : Abbi Waxman
Published By : Berkley
Year Published : July 9th, 2019
Genre / Tags : Contemporary, General Fiction, Chick Lit, Light Romance
Formats : Paperback, eBook, Audiobook
# of Pages : 352 pages (Paperback)

Summary

The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.

1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

Review

After being on a waiting list for several weeks, I highly anticipated this read. It definitely has some fans and many positive reviews, so do keep in that mind if you’re considering this title for your to-read pile. I might be in the minority for considering it just on the average side rather than ‘great’.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is about a lifelong and devoted bookworm, our titular character Nina. She works at a little bookstore and goes home to her cat and extensive collection of books.

A small circle of bookish co-worker friends and trivia nights at a local bar make up the extent of her social life and exploration of the world around her- outside of books.

Raised by a nanny and an eccentric absentee mother, she became an adult accustomed to and preferring near-solitude. She maps out her life with a micro-managing eye for detail. The entries of her planner are also integrated into the storyline via illustrated pages between the chapters. She also struggles with some form of anxiety. In short, Nina’s sheltered and managed life is set off course with two major events that fill up these pages.

The first event is Nina finding out who her birth father is and discovering a tangled and eclectic family tree. This plotline was the one that I found most interesting to read about. However, the prevailing lighthearted and contemporary tone kept this part of the story from getting as deep as it could have been. I was left feeling like only the surface was scratched in what are otherwise some complex family dynamics. There is one family member who stands out more than any of the others in bonding with Nina. The two do have some entertaining and illuminating conversations along the way. The resolution to this part of the story was well-handled, without going into detail I’ll just say that we get a better insight into Nina and her family and there are some well-written sections where it counts most.

The second main event involves Nina getting to know a guy at trivia night. She has some awkward run-ins with him that eventually result in a cute little romance. I usually like and readily welcome romance sub-plots, but this couple didn’t click with me. Their moments were kind of bland and his persistence and warm understanding in the face of her awkwardly rejecting him was a bit beyond belief, though I think some will find their eventual romance cute and endearing.

I feel like a lot of people will relate to Nina’s bookish interests and the writing style can be very entertaining, particularly the often flavorful conversations between characters. I did feel like books and her bookish interests eventually fell away in the background before long though. Plus overall, the juxtaposition of a light and airy contemporary with issues that usually call for more thoughtful insight (Nina’s anxiety and difficulty forming relationships) didn’t blend so well as it could have.

Overall Rating – 7/10

Why You Should Try It – An easy and inviting, potentially relatable contemporary. A definite mood read, and a good break from more taxing reads. The writing style is simple yet brimming with personality, leaving a good first impression.

Why You Might Not Like It – When all is said and done, this book was almost too light on plot and some of Nina’s day-to-day concerns and relationships inspired minimal interest or lasting appeal by book’s end.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill (Amazon Affiliate Link)


Wish I was more deeply impressed by this title since reading books about books/bookish people sounds like fun! Do you know of any books about books or bookworms? Thanks so much for checking out this review and there are more to come in the near future. ~ Kitty

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