Title: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
Author: Abbi Waxman
Publication Date: July 09, 2019
Genres: Women's Fiction, Contemporary
Add to: Goodreads / Amazon
Rating: ★★ (2 stars)
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.

This book took me a while to finish thanks to the mix of feeling unmotivated and wondering where this book was going. 

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill was filled with trivia nights, family relationships, books, and quite a bunch of pop-culture references thrown around which was actually fun to read. The part where Nina said in her head "gum would be perfection"? I smiled so wide because that's one of the most memorable lines by Chandler Bing from the TV show Friends. I love it when certain things like quotes from TV shows or even films are added to a book and is used by the main character. Like I said, it was fun.

Nina as a character was both endearing and complicated. I found her love for books amazing and how passionate she is about them. But my issue lies with how people who love books are stereotyped into this weird, quirky person who doesn't like to socialize and like to create scenarios of most situations in their head. Back then, it was cute to read this kind of character but nowadays, for me, it feels repetitive. Still, I admire Nina's love for all kinds of book-related things. She also feels anxious when she meets with new people or random strangers and that was understandable, REALLY. I only wish her anxiety issue was tackled more and given depth to her character.

Another thing that went downhill for me was the overwhelming introduction of her new family members. This should've been the highlight of the book where she meets her new family and form a bond with them. She did do that though and I like her relationship with Peter but there's just too much going on. It also didn't really sit well with me how she was "resented" (kind of a stretch actually) just because she was a product of an affair. And I wasn't a fan of her mom since she wasn't really there in the picture and didn't even bother, but I hated it how her mom gets called degrading names for sleeping with their dad yet their dad still gets praised (even to his grave) just because he's some kind of "family man" despite them knowing he's a narcissist and speculating that he's a cheater.. to which he is. I just feel bad for both Nina and her mom even though I really didn't care about the latter that much. It was just unfair.

And the romance. I won't even bother elaborating this. I thought it was "cute and alright" but I didn't really see that much progress. I wouldn't blame this book for being a women's fiction because it's understandable that romance isn't the center. But like... give me some chemistry perhaps? I swear the whole time, I didn't even feel the slightest amount of spark that lights up every time I read something romantic or if a couple starts developing feelings for each other. It seemed like the romance was just added there for... I don't know.. There was just no chemistry for me. 

This was a slow read, sadly. I was excited to read this book but unfortunately, it let me down and the whole time I was just waiting for a drop. The reading of the will wasn't even all that interesting anymore because at that point, I just wanted the book to end. I didn't know where Nina Hill was going with her life aside from her discovering she has a father and a huge amount of new relatives. I think I was just waiting for something big to happen, maybe a change in Nina's life. But nah, there wasn't anything exciting.


  1. I’ve been on the fence about this one. I kind of want to read it but it’s not one that I think I’m just going to love, so I’ve been putting it off. Reading your review makes me think it might not be for me. There are too many other books that I am truly excited for.

  2. I am sorry you didn't like this book, I LOVED it! I also flew through this book. I guess if you're not a fan of the main character, it could make reading the book quite a chore.

  3. Oh, no! I'm sorry this wasn't for you. I'm thinking I'd lean more into your feelings and judgment on this one so I may skip it. I've been debating about it for a while now so I'm just like... eh, you know?

  4. I really hope to read this one soon, so I'm sorry to hear it wasn't really for you!! Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts. :)