Review: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

Title: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

Author: Abbi Waxman

Publisher: Berkely

Genre: Contemporary

Publication Date: July 9, 2019

Nina Hill has a life she loves. She works at a bookstore, she belongs to a winning trivia team, has a book club that sometimes discusses the books they read, and, once a week, has a night devoted to doing nothing (aka reading). However, her life is thrown into turmoil when the father she never knew dies and she’s introduced to a complicated family tree. Now, surrounded by brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews, Nina has to come out of her shell and interact with these people, some of whom hate her for existing. To top it off, her trivia rival, Tom, a sexy man shows interest in wanting to get to know her. Nina likes things simple, but her life is suddenly not so simple. She’s going to have to come out of her shell and drastically revise her planner to keep up the sudden cascade of people in her life.

To be perfectly honest, the further away from this book I get, the less I like it. It was okay, I guess. Nina was an interesting character. I liked that while she was an introvert, she wasn’t a shut in. She had an active social life and plenty of friends. I guess that’s actually one thing about the book that bugged me. She’s got things to do and people to see every night. She’s social and active and happy, but the book seems to indicate that her life isn’t complete because she doesn’t have a romantic partner. And maybe I’m taking it too personally, but as a happily single woman who would kill to have Nina’s social life (although, honestly, right now, my social life is more booked than it’s been in the past) I don’t get what’s so bad about being single. And even when she began to notice Tom as a romantic partner, it didn’t take much for her to go for it. She clearly wasn’t single because she was shy, but because she’d not found someone she was interested in.

I loved her family members, particularly the nephew who reached out to her (whose name is escaping me) and her brother Archie. I liked how naturally they came together and got along, seeing similarities in each other. The wider family was okay, but those two relationships were great.

I really didn’t like the handling of Nina’s anxiety, however. As someone who’s suffered for years and didn’t realize how bad it was until this summer, I found the fact that she was so anxious and not even trying to do anything but cope a little irritating. At one point, she suggests to herself she might want to find a therapist, but nothing comes of it, as happens to much in books. And I hated the way Tom reacted after she had a full blown anxiety attack. It made me really want her to kick him to the curb.

I wouldn’t discourage someone from reading it, but I wouldn’t actively recommend it unless the person mentioned wanting a book very similar to this one. If they were looking for a book about a bookish person that’s also a romance, I’d suggest it. But it’s not on my list of favorites.

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