A light contemporary novel for bibliophiles, this is a fun read which also discusses serious issues. It’s set in a suburban community in Los Angeles and had a strong sense of place. The book is stuffed full of popular culture references.
The focus of the novel is the protagonist, Nina, whose life is all about books, movies and the quiz team she’s on. She works in a bookstore and lives with her cat. I thought her life was quite enviable really and nothing needed to disturb it. However, three crises occur – her attraction to a cute guy who’s not very bookish, the bookstore struggling to pay rent and the sudden discovery that she has family in LA after her dad (whom she never knew) dies and she is included in the will. Everything is going to get resolved by the end of the book, it’s very clear, no dramatic twists. I admired Nina’s sharp and sassy personality. She had anxiety and panic attacks, which I think are not usually included in this genre (although I could be wrong, as I don’t read many books like this one). I felt that there were too many characters in the book and I was forgetting who some of them were. I don’t know why she had to have so many new family members for us to keep track of.
I enjoyed the writing style, particularly of the first half of the book. I became impatient towards the end as sometimes it seemed repetitive and there wasn’t any big reveal waiting. It was also a little annoying how the narrator talked about ‘millennials’ (and not as one of them – rather from the perspective of an older generation), as if everyone between the ages of 25 and 40 [in 2021] thinks and behaves in a certain way and has the same experiences. As someone of that age bracket, I don’t appreciate these generalisations.
In summary, I liked this book and it had some great messages in it, particularly about women empowered through reading and knowledge exchange, but it didn’t make me want to read any more from the author.
First published in 2019.