Title: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
Author: Abbi Waxman
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Berkley Books
(Penguin Random House)
A physical copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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.
Going into this read, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d never picked up a book with a synopsis similar to The Bookish Life of Nina Hill before. My first impression, when I started reading, was that I really like Abbi Waxman’s writing style. She used some turns of phrase that just made the literature geek in me very very happy and she also set the atmosphere for the story very well. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill takes place in Los Angeles, but in a part of LA that feels decidedly different from the rest of the city–and Waxman definitely got that across to me quite effectively.
I connected with Nina in a variety of ways. Just like her, I had a hard time in school while growing up and found refuge in imaginary worlds (through reading). I also understood why she wanted to work at a book store (duh!) and why she competed in trivia challenges. I also liked the roles that these things played in the story! (I also liked her love interest quite a bit and just wish that he’d been featured in the story just a little more!) The other characters were great too, and I particularly enjoyed seeing how Nina’s relationships developed with each of them. And as a final note, I wanted to say that the tone of this book (and this is due to Waxman’s narrative style as well as character dialogue) gave me some You’ve Got Mail vibes!
Abbi Waxman was born in England in 1970, the oldest child of two copywriters who never should have been together in the first place. Once her father ran off to buy cigarettes and never came back, her mother began a highly successful career writing crime fiction. She encouraged Abbi and her sister Emily to read anything and everything they could pull down from the shelves, and they did. Naturally lazy and disinclined to dress up, Abbi went into advertising, working as a copywriter and then a creative director at various advertising agencies in London and New York. Clients ranged from big and traditional, (AT&T, Chase Manhattan Bank, IBM, American Express, Unilever, Mercedes-Benz) to big and morally corrupt (R. J. Reynolds) to big and larcenous (Enron). Eventually she quit advertising, had three kids and started writing books, TV shows and screenplays, largely in order to get a moment’s peace. Abbi lives in Los Angeles with her husband, three kids, three dogs, three cats, a gecko, two mice and six chickens. Every one of these additions made sense at the time, it’s only in retrospect that it seems foolhardy.
THANK YOU FOR READING MY REVIEW! HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT DID YOU THINK? AND IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT YET, DO YOU WANT TO, OR NOT? HOW COME? LET ME KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS!