In Abbi Waxman’s novel The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, the protagonist Nina is a literature-loving single millennial who works in a bookstore. Nina adores getting lost in a book. The world of books is her safe place, and books seem much less complicated than her real life. Nina grew up as the only child of a single mother, and she knew nothing about her father. Now she has learned that her late father had multiple marriages and many children, and for the first time Nina finds herself as part of a big family – though some of her family members want little to do with her. Nina also finds herself drawn to Tom, the cute guy she met at trivia night. But starting a relationship with Tom, or getting to know her half-siblings for the first time, doesn’t come as easily as just reading a book. Real life is messy.
Though Nina sometimes seems stubborn and set in her ways, her resolve to follow an orderly life makes her character endearing to the reader. There is something very warm and inviting about this novel, and the world Waxman has created – one where books are treasure troves, and trivia night or movie theater outings are the highlight of the week – is a nice place for a reader to escape to.