Review: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

by Heather Caliendo
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman review

Editorial note: I received a copy of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill in exchange for a review. 

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman is a love letter to bookworms everywhere!

The book community continues to get bigger and bigger—case in point, all the lovely people on bookstagram! So a novel about a book lover is such a delight! Featuring bookstores, book clubs and even a mention of Book of the Month, you’ll have a lot of fun reading this one.

The story follows Nina Hill, a 30-something woman in LA who is perfectly content with her books, trivia team and cat. She loves her job at the bookstore and a perfect night is when she’s alone with her books. The daughter of a single mother, her life suddenly takes a sharp turn when the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews. They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! However, she’s super freaked out by that—so many strangers! 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. 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.

Character arc

While I’m a fellow bookworm (obv), I’m not similar to Nina—I actually like being social, haha. But I did really enjoy her story and the author Abbi Waxman gives plenty of context to why Nina is so withdrawn from the world. While her mom loves her, she pretty much abandoned Nina to a nanny so she could travel the world as a photographer. As a result, Nina never felt like she fit in with others and so she closed herself off from others—except for her books. I think anyone who is a reader can understand that feeling of wanting to escape with novels.

Family dynamic

So, this one actually covers genetics—what is inherited and what is earned? When she gets to know her relatives, she learns that many of them also experiences anxiety, which she founds out her dad had as well. While Nina’s upbringing did quite influence who she is as an adult—she also learns some of her traits seem to be inherited.

Nina’s new family is full of interesting characters! Her father had children until late in life, which brings about all kinds of dynamics. I very much enjoyed the scenes where she’s getting to know her family and opening up more.

The romance

It’s not a romcom without the romance, right? The love story between Nina and Tom is really cute and is a twist on the enemies-to-lovers trope. It’s a slow progression, which felt a little more real than most romcoms and there’s plenty of sweet scenes and a hint of steam, too.

As you can see, there’s lots going on in The Bookish Life of Nina Hill! This novel is more comedic than not but there are many heartfelt scenes as Nina comes out of her shell. This is a cute book that will make you smile—a perfect story for a summer day.

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