By: Abbi Waxman
Published Year: 2019
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way shape or form influenced my opinion of this book.
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): he 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 read Waxman’s first novel Garden of Small Beginnings and loved it. This cover is also so much fun and is 100% one I would pick up off of the shelf to find out more. I’m a sucker for main characters that like to read and, when done well, I enjoy quirkiness. I was very excited to read this book.
What I thought
I really loved this book. It was so much fun and definitely grabbed me. I finished it in like 3 days and most of that was on day 1.
Nina works for a bookstore and is a massive introvert. She has her people that she is connected to and that she loves, but for the majority of humans she doesn’t feel the need to interact. All of a sudden, Nina, who has one mom, non dad and no siblings, is given an entire family. A lawyer finds her to tell her that the father she never knew has died and she has a whole clan of brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.
I think this book was advertised as being for people enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant and The Rosie Project. I was a bit wary reading a story about another person with Autism or on the spectrum, but I liked how this was done. To me, if she is on the spectrum, she is very very mildly on the spectrum. She has her quirks with anxieties and some social awkwardness, but she is a flexible human being and knows how to interact with people when she does. She has her core group of friends and finds love pretty easily.
I really liked Nina’s found family and do wish there had been a little bit more with them. I think maybe I wish the book had been a little bit longer to include more family interactions and growth, but I did love the interactions that we got. I also liked how unique the situation was and I appreciated how Waxman took something that could’ve been very confusing but made it very clear and easy to follow.
I also loved how Waxman handled the bookish-ness of Nina. She was nerdy and into books but it was never over the top. Like, her nerdiness seemed realistic and not irritating. I also greatly enjoyed her trivia knowledge. While that did seem a bit unrealistic, with the amount of random knowledge she had, I still enjoyed it.
One of my only irritants with this book, which is super random, was how many characters had “L” names. Her store manager had a name that started with “L”, two of her triva teammates had “L” names, and I think at least one of her family members did too? Plus, the friend of her love interest. It just made it a little hard to keep track of who was who since they were all secondary. Like I said, this is a random and probably very personal irritant, but it still bugged me.