Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Review & Giveaway- - Christa Comes Out of Her Shell

Christa Comes Out of Her Shell
by Abbi Waxman
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: April 16, 2024
Reviewed by PJ

After a tumultuous childhood, Christa Liddle has hidden away, both figuratively and literally. Happily studying sea snails in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Christa finds her tranquil existence thrown into chaos when her once-famous father—long thought dead after a plane crash—turns out to be alive, well, and ready to make amends. The world goes wild, fascinated by this real-life saga, pinning Christa and her family under the spotlight. As if that weren’t enough, her reunion with an old childhood friend reveals an intense physical attraction neither was expecting and both want to act on . . . if they can just keep a lid on it. When her father’s story starts to develop cracks, Christa fears she will lose herself, her potential relationship, and—most importantly—any chance of making it back to her snails before they forget her completely.

PJ's Thoughts:

This was my first Abbi Waxman book so I really had no idea what to expect. What I discovered was a well-written story with well-developed characters, a fair amount of humor, dysfunctional family dynamics, emotional depth, a nerdy heroine, and an unexpected romance with her teenage crush, the one who had seen her at her rock-bottom worst. 

In a way, this was a healing, coming of age story for Christa, a woman with a tumultuous childhood in the spotlight which transitioned into wild teen years, also in the spotlight. She has finally found peace, on a remote island, with the snails she’s studying and locals who couldn’t care less about her past or her famous father. Of course that’s all thrown into chaos when her father (believed dead the past 25 years) suddenly staggers out of the Alaskan wilderness, throwing Christa back into the path of intrusive media, a complicated relationship with her mother, an estranged relationship with her sisters, a father she doesn’t remember, and a second chance romance with the focus of her teenage dreams. Complications aplenty!

The book started off a bit slow but quickly picked up speed, holding my interest through a series of twists and turns to the end. I enjoyed how the author explored the different relationships in Christa’s life, both familial and romantic, as well as her fraught relationship with the media, not to mention hordes of fans who still viewed her as a fatherless two-year-old thrust into the spotlight along with her mother. I find mother-daughter relationships fascinating and appreciated the time taken by this author to portray the evolution of the fractured one between an adult Christa and her mom. 

Overall, Christa Comes Out of Her Shell was an enjoyable journey with a good blend of women’s fiction/romance vibes, a protagonist I could root for, a genuinely good romantic interest who won my heart (as well as hers), and an array of characters (nice and not so nice) who kept things moving along and oh, so interesting. It was a fun read with surprising depth, a somewhat cynical (but well deserved) look behind the Hollywood curtain of high-powered agents and stars, a second chance at romance, and a fractured family that…well, you’ll just have to read the book to discover what happens there. 

Have you read Abbi Waxman yet?

Do you enjoy books with nerdy/STEM/scientific characters? How about dysfunctional/fractured families?

One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, April 26 will receive a print copy of Christa Comes Out of Her Shell.

*U.S. only
*Must be 18


  1. I love Abi Waxman books !!! I love Nerdy main characters too !!! This books sounds great

  2. This sounds like a great book! I've read a few Abi Waxman books and really enjoyed them. I don't have a preference with characters, as long as it's a good storyline that hold my attention.

  3. I have read one novel by Abi Waxman and look forward to reading more. I enjoy unique characters and situations.

  4. This author is new to me. It does sound as though I have been missing some good books. I do enjoy nerdy characters. It generally shows me topics that I know nothing about but many times it will lead me to go down a rabbit hole to learn something new. Thanks for the review and the introduction.

  5. Read Bookish Life of Nina Hill. Love Ali Hazelwood who has nerdy stem protagonists. Dysfunctional families who are loving and have good hearts are not problems for me. Not thrilled about stories about dysfunctional families who are messed up with tragic story lines. Like happy ever after, lighter stories.

  6. I haven't read any of Abbi Waxman's books, but do love the books with STEM/scientific/nerdy characters and the characters themselves! It helps that I've always been a bit (or a lot) nerdy! ;-) Fractured and dysfunctional families can be wonderful reading as well!

  7. I checked her Amazon page and haven't read any of her books. By the looks of her books, she takes a different approach with her books than many. She seems to be looking more at how a person fits into her surroundings and life and how everyone's actions impact the lives of those around them.
    I enjoy "nerds" and those who are into science. It is an interest of mine and I can understand their motivation and interest. As for families with issues, that gives an author so much to work with. It can be painful and infuriating to watch, but interesting.

  8. I haven't read any books by Abbi Waxman yet

    Rose Ward

  9. I like books with quirky and nerdy characters