A Possible Case of 'Right Book, Wrong Time' for Me | Review: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

8:00 AM

While this book didn't work out for me, I'm SO glad it has resonated for so many. I can definitely see why it gives them the warm and fuzzies and just connects with its fans!


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.

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.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman 
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

There were a lot of things I liked about The Bookish Life of Nina Hill. There was a lot, too, that I just didn't connect with. It makes me wonder if this was more of a "right book, wrong time" time of read for me, and there's a good chance that I'll revisit it in the future to see. For right now, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill just wasn't my cup of tea and I can't pinpoint why it wasn't. I think that, perhaps, was the last quarter or so of the novel that truly put the nail in the coffee and disconnected me further from it.

Then again, perhaps I expected something more from it and got my hopes up based on the love for it I've witnessed since its publication. Which, of course, would be my own fault. Regardless, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill just didn't click with me. There were moments in the writing where it felt like the right fit--Abbi Waxman's writing is lovely and to the point; the core of the story felt very much so like something so many readers would see themselves in. Yet I couldn't help but feel like the further I got into the story, the further I disconnected from it.

There were a lot of moments in The Bookish Life of Nina Hill that were meant to be funny. I wasn't terribly keen on it, though, and felt myself blinking at several "snarky" things like, uh, right I'm going to ignore that. Which was off-putting and drew me away from liking it even further.

When The Bookish Life of Nina Hill was good, it was good. Light, fluffy, but with just the right dosage of reality tossed in for good measure. I felt a glimmer of admiration that I knew many others did for the story. Still, for me, at this stage in my life, this novel was wholly underwhelming and not my cup of tea. 

Find me on Instagram and/or Twitter.

You Might Also Like