Book Review: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman (eARC)

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

Author: Abbi Waxman

Publication Date: 09 July 2019

Genre: Adult Fiction – Romantic Comedy

Pages: 352

Publisher: Berkley Publishing

Meet Nina Hill: A young woman supremely confident in her own…shell.

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.

29 year old Nina Hill loves her life just the way it is. She has a great job at a local bookshop (Knight’s), a cozy apartment to herself, and a cat named Phil that has an attitude that rivals her own. In her free time, Nina runs several book clubs at Knight’s as well as competing in pub trivia, which she takes very seriously.

Nina is the type of person that much prefers books to people (even though she does have a huge crush on Tom; her top competition from pub trivia). She has endless lists to keep her focused. She plans everything down to the second, so nothing is left up to chance. She has anxiety that can be debilitating when she is overwhelmed, so avoiding most social interactions is how she keeps this at bay.

Everything changes for Nina when life decides to throw a huge wrench into her plans. Overnight, Nina went from being an only child who was raised by her nanny Louise while her famous photographer mother jet-settled across the world to being one of several children of the late millionaire William Reynolds. To make matters worse, Nina is expected to appear for the reading of the will and actually interact with these family members that she knew nothing of. With the new family, a potential boyfriend, and Knight’s not making ends meet, Nina’s world is crumbling quickly, and her anxiety begins to crush her.

This is one of those stories where all of the side characters were integral to our MC Nina. I loved watching Nina interact with Liz and the girls of the bookshop because you saw Nina when she was at ease. Also, the conversations that these women had were absolutely hysterical. There’s a certain scene that takes place where they discuss the male fascination with unsolicited d*ck pics, which literally made me spit out my wine.

While I thought that this book was purely a romance, I really enjoyed the fact that the romance was only a small facet of this book. This story is actually about Nina learning how to fall in love with people and herself around people. One of the best lines in this story is that ‘you should find someone who makes you feel like when you’re alone’ because when we are alone, we don’t have to put on a facade and alter our identity to conform to what others’ expectations are (definitely wish I had that advice when I was in my early 20s lol…and that I would’ve listened).

Overall, this book is a fantastic myriad of romance, new beginnings, self-discovery, humor, family, and friendships. This is one of those books that will have you laughing and crying, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Also, I now would love to quit my job and own a bookshop.

Thank you to Berkley Publishing and Edelweiss for providing an eARC. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

Is The Bookish Life of Nina Hill on your TBR? Have you read it yet? Let’s discuss!


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