Book Review: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill – Abbi Waxman

3.5 stars

I won’t lie, the book cover caught my eye. From the colors, with its bright colors and fun, vibrant feel, to the eyeglasses as letters, I was drawn in.

When I read the eponymous Nina Hill was a modern-day Elizabeth Bennett of sorts, I immediately went to my Amazon cart to checkout. Turns out, she’s not, but that doesn’t matter because she’s her own relatable character.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is quirky.

It’s not one I would normally pick up, but I’m so glad I did. If you’re an introverted bookworm, Nina Hill is your girl. She shy, has social anxiety, likes people but also doesn’t, and works at a bookshop.

You may think you don’t have much in common with her – but trust me, you do. I did.

“No, I’d rather stay home and read.”

Nina Hill finds out her mother slept with a married man – but dumped him as soon as she realized his sin. The “48 hours of sweaty nights” left her pregnant with Nina. When Nina’s father dies, he mentions her in his will, though they’ve never met, and for all intents and purposes, didn’t exist to Nina until after his death.

Now Nina, once an only child, finds out she has siblings, and nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews! She has a family!

Nina grows in the book from wanting to be alone with her books to realizing that, well, books are great, fictional boyfriends are better, but sometimes, people aren’t so bad after all.

Hilarious and forthright, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill made me laugh out loud, both at home and at work (during my lunch break, of course ;)). Nina left me with a litany of new quotes to love and insightful lines that I more than related to.

“It also meant she thought of books as medication and sanctuary and the source of all good things. Nothing yet had proven her wrong.” 

I did think some of the growth was a bit shallow and probably wouldn’t take, and her relationships with her newfound family seemed unbelievable, but Nina was such a quirky, lovable character that I can forgive all the illogical or unrealistic things in the book.

Nina is one of my new favorite characters, mostly because she reminds me of me (and of every other introverted bookwhore I’ve ever met).

I look forward to reading more of Abbi Waxman.

Bonus: In reading the description of Abbi Waxman’s A Garden of Small Beginnings, the MC is featured in Nina Hill, which makes me that much more excited to read A Garden of Small Beginnings.

Favorite quotes from The Bookish Life of Nina Hill:

“We’re very romantic, aren’t we?”

“Very,” he said, and kissed her again. “Let’s go home and be alone together.” 

“It didn’t matter what they weren’t; it only mattered who they were.” 

“Does everyone else feel like this?”

“Like what? Worried? Uncertain? Hopeful and cynical at the same time?”


“Sure they do, baby. That’s how it feels to be alive.”

“It’s not a good feeling.”

“Well, who knows what a fish feels; it might be even worse.” 

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill – Abbi Waxman

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