The Bookish Life of Nina Hill – Review

img_1755Oh my goodness. I loved Nina Hill and I’m ridiculously happy this was the book to start my 2020 reading! What book lover doesn’t love and relate to a book about a bibliophile?

My favorite characters in books, and even in real life, are the ones who are a little quirky, sarcastic, and set in their ways. I loved seeing how Nina’s life evolved, despite her wishes for it to remain unchanging. I wish I was half as hilarious and full of useless knowledge as Nina was. She may not necessarily be the “cool” girl, but she was definitely cool to me as a reader, and lots of fun to read about.


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.

I laughed my way through much of this story – the humor was exactly the kind to tickle my funny bone. I had to stop reading and share many lines with my husband, who affectionately rolled his eyes while playing Minecraft. Abbi Waxman’s sarcastic descriptions of silly social settings and awkward moments between mothers in the bookstore had me rolling.

I also enjoyed the unconventional family dynamics in this story. It made the idea of a random father and an unknown, crazy family sound oddly appealing. Naturally, besides Nina, Peter was the highlight of this story for me.

“Nina worried she liked being alone too much; it was the only time she ever fully relaxed. People were . . . exhausting. They made her anxious. Leaving her apartment every morning was the turning over of a giant hourglass, the mental energy she’d stored up overnight eroding grain by grain. She refueled during the day by grabbing moments of solitude and sometimes felt her life was a long-distance swim between islands of silence. She enjoyed people—she really did—she just needed to take them in homeopathic doses; a little of the poison was the cure.”

The planner pages at the beginning of each chapter were a nice touch, too! It made Nina feel more like a real person, with “her” handwriting on the pages and goals for the day. I’ve become a bit of a planner nerd in the last few years, so it was just another aspect of Nina’s life to relate to. I honestly couldn’t get enough of this book and I’m sad it’s over!

Thank you to Katie from @3heartsandawish for the copy of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill. I hoped to read this last year and was denied on Netgalley. It was a treat to start my Beat the Backlist Challenge with such a fun book!

Rating: 4.5 stars

Purchase on Amazon.

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Carol says:

    I loved most of it! I could have done without the crass jokes in chapter 5!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I started one of her other books and had to DNF it, partly for that reason. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Carol says:

        Crassness annoys me and I expect better!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. alisbooks says:

    I had this on my TBR already, but I was on the fence about whether I really wanted to read it or not. You had me at planner! Great review!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jorie says:

    Hallo, Hallo Ashley,

    I was keenly interested in this when I saw the audiobook avail via my library’s OverDrive catalogue – however, the crass humour you’ve mentioned could either take me ‘out’ of the story and/or not be as bad to mark this as a DNF. I’ll have to wait/see once my time turn in the queue line arrives – I do agree, stories which equate an equally bookish life which is a direct composite of ours is a wicked brill concept! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    PS: Whenever the stories I want to read are a miss for review I ask my library to purchase. So far, I’m thankful they’ve been as receptive as they have been approving my selections.

    Liked by 1 person

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