Today’s post is another book review! Life’s been quite stressful lately which has meant sacrificing some blogging time, but luckily I’ve been reading a lot, hence why I’m posting two book reviews in one week.
About the book
I received this book from NetGalley as an eARC and audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: Contemporary, romance.
Representation: Mixed-race protagonist, black secondary character.
Content warning: Suicidal thoughts, depression
Summary: Meet Nora Hughes—the overworked, underpaid, last bookish assistant standing. At least for now.
When Nora landed an editorial assistant position at Parsons Press, it was her first step towards The Dream Job. Because, honestly, is there anything dreamier than making books for a living? But after five years of lunch orders, finicky authors, and per my last emails, Nora has come to one grand conclusion: Dream Jobs do not exist.
With her life spiraling and the Parsons staff sinking, Nora gets hit with even worse news. Parsons is cutting her already unlivable salary. Unable to afford her rent and without even the novels she once loved as a comfort, Nora decides to moonlight for a rival publisher to make ends meet…and maybe poach some Parsons’ authors along the way.
But when Andrew Santos, a bestselling Parsons author no one can afford to lose is thrown into the mix, Nora has to decide where her loyalties lie. Her new Dream Job, ever-optimistic Andrew, or…herself and her future.
Add it on Goodreads. Add it on Storygraph.
It took me three attempts—and switching to the audiobook—to get into this book. This is mostly because although I was expecting a cute romance novel, this wasn’t that. This is a contemporary book about a woman, Nora, trying to find purpose in life. It is also not a light read at all as it deals with pretty heavy topic that aren’t glossed over in the slightest. Despite there being some great aspects like the depiction of the publishing industry and the struggles of finding a job as well as the secondary romance, the pacing was slow, which made this drag on.
The very reason I decided to read this book was that it was about a woman working in the publishing industry. Through Nora, we get to see what an editorial assistant job entails, which I found to be really interesting. However, Nora doesn’t like her job and so her journey of looking for a new one begins. The miserable yet realistic depiction of what this process is like really struck a chord but I still failed to truly empathise with our protagonist. I understood her struggle yet I didn’t really feel for her.
The romance, although much more secondary than I thought it would be, was quite sweet. Andrew, the love interest, was easily my favourite character in the novel despite how little he’s actually in it. I loved that there was no unnecessary drama or conflict and instead the characters communicated their wants and needs.
My main issue with Must Love Books was the pacing of the novel. This starts off painfully slow and it doesn’t really pick up until the very end. Usually, I really enjoy slow-paced stories but seeing as I felt to connect to Nora, I had no interest in exploring her character and I wished there had been more going on rather than focusing on her inner thoughts so much. I was glad I ended up opting to listen to this on audibook, as it made the reading more enjoyable. However, the narrator was truly slow and I had to listen to it on 2x speed—which is obviously a personal preference.
All in all, although this wasn’t the book for me, I can still see how other people might enjoy it. It is a realistic depiction of what it’s like to try to find your purpose in life and being disillusioned with your job.
About the author
Shauna Robinson’s love of books led her to try a career in publishing before deciding she’d rather write books instead. Originally from San Diego, she now lives in Virginia with her husband and their sleepy greyhound. Shauna is an introvert at heart—she spends most of her time reading, baking, and figuring out the politest way to avoid social interaction. Must Love Books is her debut novel.
Have you read Must Love Books? Do you like to read books about books?