Book Title: Next Stop: Nina
Genre: Coming of Age/Romance
Author: Robin Raven
Date Published: 18 July 2015 (E-Book)
Nina is pushed to the edge, then falls over that edge into a whole new world.
There's something different about Nina; she never felt comfortable in this world. As she struggles to cope with the pain of her present and past, the young girl's life is changed through the beauty of art.
When Nina grows up and winds up in over her head in a dark place, she finds herself somehow transported to another time when nothing is quite what it seems. She must fight the horrors of her past all over again. Along the way, she faces greater challenges than she imagined and enjoys sweet surprises when she discovers true love.
This is a character-driven novel with a heroine who faces suicidal depression on her own terms, and that's just the beginning. At its heart, Next Stop: Nina is a love story that takes on the types of love that change us and allow us to discover the truth in ourselves.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
This is an intriguing time travel story. I enjoyed it, with some reservations.
Nina is an intriguing character. Unfortunately, although I empathized with her, I just couldn't find it in me to like her. She is a young woman in her thirties, who has suffered a traumatic childhood. Suffering with depression (un-diagnosed), she finds herself thrust back in time to her eight year old self, unable to change a crucial event in her life.
I started reading this book and, although I hate to admit it, was not really hooked by the story. I am normally one of the first people to admit that I love time travel stories. Unfortunately, I felt that the story was too long-winded. In a way, it was a mix of Groundhog Day and Freaky Friday (though without the body swapping).
Nina, as a character, felt slightly one dimensional and, unfortunately, so did the other characters. The one thing that did shine through was the author's love of art. Her descriptions of the paintings were vivid and brought them to life. Nina's journey of going back to that awful event and making different choices over and over again quickly became a little stale. However, I felt her love of Leonard (Lens) became obsessional in the end, rather than heartfelt.
Nina is a character who seems to have slipped through the cracks and did not get the medical assistance she needed after the traumatic event in her young life and spiraled into depression as she grew up. I guess the time travelling was a way for her to learn valuable lessons in life and love. Depression is a very difficult and complex emotion to deal with. Many sufferers feel unloved, unwanted, ugly and suicidal. They suffer with low self esteem and self loathing. Whether brought on by physical trauma or emotional overload, many people who suffer in silence are the ones that really need the help. The hardest lesson to learn for someone who suffers with depression is that they are loved, are wanted and are beautiful.
I reached the end of the book with mixed thoughts. I was happy that Nina managed to find what was important in her life, but wished she had found out a lot sooner! As an outsider looking in, I could see she needed help, but no-one else in the book ever did apart from Lens. But, if you decide to read this book, you may have a different take.
This is Robin Raven's debut novel. I enjoyed her writing style, but felt that she needs to work on her characterizations. They didn't feel as lifelike as they could have done and needed a little more fleshing out. The flow of the tale was a little bogged down by the repetitive nature of the story, but it was fast paced enough for me to keep turning the pages. I urge her to keep writing, as I feel she has potential to become a wonderful author.
Unfortunately, this book was just not my cup of tea. However, I recommend this book if you love time travel, coming of age or romance genres. - Lynn Worton
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Robin Raven is the human who once belonged to the greatest dog that ever lived. "Next Stop: Nina" is Robin's debut novel. She has several other works of fiction that she hopes to share in the near future.
Born in Mobile, Alabama, Robin grew up in a nearby town called Saraland, and her hometown is a lovely place that still inspires her. As an adult, Ms. Raven has mostly lived in Los Angeles and New York City, so she also considers those cities to be home.
Robin blogs at RobinRaven.com and often has her nose in a book. If she's not reading or writing, you can probably find Robin daydreaming about adopting a rescue donkey. Delicious vegan food rocks her world. So does effective altruism. In addition to being an author, Robin has worked as a professional actress. She loves to connect with fellow writers and readers, so feel free to say hi to her on social media.