Opening sentence: “Imagine you’re a bird.”
This book gave me one of my, ‘I’m so glad I read this’ moments. I’d heard a few mixed reviews about The Bookish Life of Nina Hill over on Bookstagram and almost didn’t read it, but the gorgeous cover illustration and lure of finding out more about Nina’s (anyone’s, actually) bookish life drew me in.
I think I can see why I read mixed reviews; if rom-coms aren’t your thing, then maybe this isn’t for you. BUT – here’s the thing – a few months ago I would have said exactly that and still found myself falling for this charming read.
Nina lives in Los Angeles and works in an independent book store, Knights. (Dream job right there.) She is more than happy with her own company, a very big fan of organising, planners, schedules and, of course, reading. She owns a cat called Phil and takes great pleasure out of competing her weekly quiz team. Her life is thrown in disarray when she discovers that the father she didn’t know existed named her in his will and made her existence known to his large, complex family. Who are now Nina’s large, complex family. She has to adjust to suddenly having so many people in her life, while also catching the eye of Tom on a rival quiz team called – are you ready for this team name… You’re a Quizzard, Harry. Yep, amazing. Does romance bloom? How does Nina adjust to her new family? This is what the captivating story explores.
I found Nina to be such a likeable and relatable character in many ways. The perfect blend of assurance and vulnerability, she completely sold the book to me because I cared about her story and her happy ending. Plus, Nina’s approach to book clubs is genius: “after months of study, she’d decided to form one club that discussed a different genre each week, rather than four different clubs that each met once a month.” I’d join her club.
I love the tone that Abbi Waxman writes in: part diary entry, part film script, part sarcastic, always warm and something that definitely felt fresh, a little different than anything I’ve read recently. This is her debut novel, so I’ll definitely be looking out for more from her in the future.
I will say that the saccharine levels were quite high at points and plot-wise, I knew what was coming BUT I’ll overlook that as all the bookish references and general enjoyment from reading this won out. Ultimately, I liked The Bookish Life of Nina Hill so much I bought it for a friend. It’s uplifting, clever, funny, heartwarming and, of course, very bookish. Sometimes you just need to read a book that makes you feel good. And this most certainly does.
/ Published by Headline 2019
/ 333 pages