THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL by Abbi Waxman

From the Back Cover

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.

My Thoughts

Every bookworm loves a book about books!  Abbi Waxman’s THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL satisfies that marketing ploy with main character Nina, a young woman who loves to read, works in a small bookstore, and is a member of several book clubs.  Nina is content to be the stereotypical bookworm, spending her free time at home reading, planning, and snuggling with her cat.  These elements of Nina’s personality are relatable for many readers, which definitely made it a sweet, enjoyable story.

“She thought of books as medication and sanctuary and the source of all good things.  Nothing yet had proven her wrong.”

THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL is an enjoyable read, but I did have some issues with it.  For one, Nina’s personality is incredibly contradictory.  She claims all she wants to do is stay home and read, yet she has an active social life as part of her trivia team.  She doesn’t know how to talk to men and walks out of a date without saying a word, yet quickly afterwards drops everything to have sex with the same guy.  As a character, Nina is all over the board.  Even the plot is all over the place; the summary projects Nina’s newly discovered family as a major plot line, but once Nina meets Tom, her family moves to the back-burner until a conclusion is necessary.  Unfortunately, these small character and plot inconsistencies grew to be very frustrating and took away from my overall enjoyment of the book.

“Some people take energy; some people give energy . . . Occasionally, you get lucky and find someone whose energy balances your own and brings you into neutral.”

As a whole, THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL is an enjoyable read if you don’t look too closely at the character and plot issues!  It is a sweet story with a main character that many readers will be able to relate to.

2 Comments

  1. Literary Elephant

    Great review! I’ve been on the fence about this one and appreciate seeing such a thoughtful balance of the book’s pros and cons. It’s too bad the plotting and characterization aren’t a bit stronger, but good to know it might be fun to check out anyway for something lighthearted and fun!

    Liked by 1 person

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