Review: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

Meet Nina Hill: a young woman supremely confident in her own… Shell.

42431386. sy475 The author of Other People’s Houses and The Garden of Small Beginnings delivers a quirky and charming novel chronicling the life of confirmed introvert Nina Hill as she does her best to fly under everyone’s radar.

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

4.5 Stars

In which Alexandra attempts to compose a coherent review.

Okay, first of all, this book is so freaking CUTE. Second, why am I basically Nina Hill? Just you know, substitute Phil the cat for Flopsy the rabbit [who may or may not be secretly a cat anyway].

Meet your new favourite adult contemporary. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill will just worm its way into your heart and never let go. It’s also the sort of book that continues to grow on you, even after you’ve finished reading. I mean, it’s been over a month and I’m still thinking about this book. I’m also considering a re-read because I have no chill. 

Anyway, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is a charming story about broadening one’s horizons and venturing outside of one’s shell. The prose is warm, no-nonsense and witty, the characters leap off the page and Abbi Waxman just sweeps you away into Nina’s bookish world. Basically, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is wholesome and comforting – like a weighted blanket for the soul.

Nina Hill is a twenty-something woman perfectly happy living in her own little shell. She has a seemingly perfect life working in a bookstore and playing competitive trivia. But everything is about to change and Nina’s quiet life is about to spiral out of her control.

Okay, so I need to start off by saying that I freaking loved Nina Hill’s character. Like, we would be BEST FRIENDS if she actually existed. Not only does Nina consume a LOT of wine, but she’s an introverted planner. Not to mention the fact that books are basically her life – I mean, sound familiar? Nina also suffers from anxiety and struggles in social situations which mostly stem from her turbulent and lonely childhood.

Besides Nina herself, I absolutely adored the setting. This Book feels like a love letter to LA and I’m here for it [did I mention that California is actually my favorite place???]. The plot kinda meanders about as we follow Nina around the city. Not only will you feel like a tourist but you might even learn a thing or two about LA’s culture and history. You’ll also fall in love with Abbi Waxman’s portrayal of Larchmont. There’s this definite sense of a small town community which only adds to the overall warmth.

Another thing I loved about The Bookish Life of Nina Hill was Abbi Waxman’s writing style. The narration, reminiscent of the classics, evokes a sense of timelessness. Abbi’s prose is nonsense with a dry sense of humor – all but guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. It’s also spattered with pop culture references with I always appreciate.

As the plot progresses and Nina’s life becomes messy, we’re introduced to a whole network of characters. And the family/friendship dynamics are so lively and wholesome – I wasn’t lying when I said these characters just leap off the page. But the side characters aren’t just measly fodder. Each character really challenges Nina, forcing her to adapt to her changing situation and try new things. Change can be daunting but it’s unavoidable and Nina learns that you can’t plan for everything. I especially loved Peter, Lili and Clare and, of course, little Millie.

The one thing that let me down however, was the romance. I wasn’t an overly huge fan of Tom. That said, it could probably be chalked up to the fact that I felt their relationship underdeveloped. I mean, we just didn’t see enough of Nina and Tom together – their relationship felt rushed. And there was an overall lack of steam which was disappointing. But, at the end of the day, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is NOT a romance. There’s definitely more of a focus on self-growth and family so it didn’t really hinder my reading experience.

Whether you’re an introvert, extrovert or introverted-extrovert like me, there’s really something for everyone in The Bookish Life of Nina Hill. Abbi Waxman perfectly captures and beautifully romanticizes the ups and downs of live as a book lover. It’s cozy, comforting and an all round uplifting reading experience. I cannot recommend this book enough.

Alexandra
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