Publish Date: July 9, 2019
“Grilled cheese in any form was her spirit animal.” — The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
Nina Hill’s life may not seem like much, but for a person battling anxiety, it’s more than enough. She enjoys her job at a bookstore and her small circle of friends. Until a visit from a lawyer changes everything…
The father that Nina never knew existed has died, leaving behind an enormous extended family. Nina now has innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, and cousins all living within a twenty-mile radius—some welcoming and some not so welcoming, but all demanding her attention. If that’s not enough, Nina’s talent for worrying is taking the thrill out of falling in love. Tom, a fellow trivia nerd—who’s totally into her—is obviously too good to be true.
Everything is moving too fast for Nina. Caught in a whirlwind of new people, emotions and experiences, she feels the need to protect herself. But maybe opening her world—and her heart—is a risk worth taking.
Nina Hill is indeed bookish. She has an amazing memory for random useless facts, she’s an introvert, very schedule-minded, a cat owner, a trivia buff, and works in a bookstore. She reminds me of Eleanor Oliphant and she is very endearing.
This book is about Nina Hill’s journey of change. Nina wants to stay nestled in her predictable little world, but the circumstances don’t allow her to do that. This makes Nina uncomfortable and she struggles to cope with the big changes in her life. She doesn’t realize that change is unavoidable, and that nothing is going to stay the same. Change forces her to deal with things in her life that she is trying to ignore.
Introverts will relate to Nina and her struggles with transition in her new world. Change brings new things into Nina’s life – new people, relationships, and experiences. She is transformed for the better and she will never be the same.
Nina’s handwritten planner pages are scattered throughout the book and they are charming! The story has many nods to pop culture, literary references, and self deprecating humor. Nina’s conversations with her pet cat Phil also add to the entertainment factor of this book.
My favorite quotes:
“As with all things Hollywood, the lighting guy is God.”
“A schedule was a schedule, people, and without a proper schedule, the day would descend into madness, anarchy, dogs and cats living together, etc.”
“Nina might battle crippling anxiety once or twice a week, but she also worked in retail, and rudeness is the special sauce on the burger that is the Los Angeles shopping public.”
“I’m lonely,” the younger character Ulysses said, “And I don’t know what I’m lonely for.”
This book is about love, family, relationships, introspection, trivia, books, and change. It’s heartwarming, made me laugh out loud many times, and the characters are eccentric, charming, and unforgettable. I enjoyed this book just as much as Abbi Waxman’s first two novels. Characters in Abbi Waxman’s The Garden of Small Beginnings also make appearances in the book like Lili, Annabel, and Clare. I loved the tie-ins. The story had a higher romance aspect compared to Abbi Waxman’s other books and it’s cute and old-fashioned.
Abbi Waxman’s writing is stellar because she writes in a way that makes you feel like you are catching up with an old friend. Her books always have a wide, diverse cast of likeable characters. Her style is humorous, warm, laced with snark and wit, and just a tad of crass. I loved this book just as much Abbi Waxman’s other books.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Note: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.