The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

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“Reading isn’t the only thing in the world, Nina.”
“It’s one of the only five perfect things in the world.”
“And the other four are?”
“Cats, dogs, Honeycrisp apples and coffee.”

Nina is a bookworm who works in a bookstore and lives a quiet and well planned life. She has her book club, trivia team, and loyal cat, Phil. But her world gets a little chaotic once she learns of the passing of her father, a man she never but but who has named her in his will. Now, she finds herself surrounded by a family she never knew she had, and one that consists of numerous siblings and nieces and nephews. While she is content with her life just the way it is, she finds that this new concept of family is not a totally unwelcome one, as she slowly starts to get to know all the strangers that feel so very familiar. Throw a potential new love interest into the mix and Nina has to figure out how it all fits into her carefully planned schedule.

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The Bookish Life of Nina Hill aims to be one of those quirky and somewhat cliche novels that you can dive into for a cute read. It has a bookworm protagonist that fellow bookworms can relate to combined with a sarcastic sense of humour that I tend to really enjoy. And while it is and does feel cliche, if you are in the mood for a quirky read, you can always look past that and just go for the ride. I do have to say that overall the book did not work for me for a couple of reasons, and as a result I could not just go along and be swept away by the attempts at cute quirkiness and quirky cuteness. For one, all the characters sound exactly the same. Everyone is witty and sarcastic, and while that does start to feel like a bit much at a certain point, the real problem is that I had a hard time distinguishing the characters from one another. Children sounded like adults and it was kind of odd picturing them as children. And while Nina is supposed to be twenty-nine she came across like a teenager, along with her love interest, Tom, which leads to the second reason the book completely lost me.

The romance is one of those “I’m insane about this person even though there is no basis for it whatsoever” that seems to be the norm in books these days. I am totally able to suspend disbelief with that kind of thing and enjoy a story but at a certain point the whole thing felt so juvenile for a couple of people that are supposed to be in their late twenties and early thirties. The worst of it is a response to an anxiety attack and everything that happens afterwards, which really bothered me and left me very disappointed when it was all said and done. Of course this may not be the case for all readers, so if the premise of this novel appeals to you, you may not have the same issues with it that I did. However, it is not one I would run out to recommend.

Have you read The Bookish Life of Nina Hill? What were your thoughts?

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