Maya Davis is headed back to her hometown of Asheville, North Carolina for a wedding. Not just any wedding, though. She’s going to be a bridesmaid for Nina, her best friend from college, who broke her heart two years ago with the vicious things she said after their single night in bed together. But hey, maybe forcing herself to watch Nina marry the most boring guy in the world will be enough to help Maya finally get over her and move on.
Nina’s drifting through her life, marrying a guy who’s nice enough (even if he doesn’t really listen to her) and teaching at a charter school because that’s the life her narcissistic mother has told her she’ll have. But with Maya coming back to town for the wedding, she hopes they can finally repair their friendship. She knows the current state of things is her own fault, but she misses the closeness she and Maya had, and how Maya’s friendship gave her the courage to be her whole self and not just the shadow version that her mother and her fiance, Drew, want her to be.
Things are not easy between them, but they just might be able to fix their relationship, especially when they start to get real with each other about the past and what they’re feeling today. But can Nina really grasp the life she wants and be her best self?
This is Nina’s book, since she’s the one who needs to take that big girl pill that’s referenced in the title. When we join her at the beginning, she’s living her life on the path of least resistance. That means being told what she likes to eat, what type of school to teach at and which committees to join there, and how to limit her time with certain people, regardless of what she thinks and feels about any of these things. It was uncomfortable at times to see her interactions with her mother, since her mother is flat-out abusive, and with Drew, since he’s so patronizing, and I was relieved to see her become stronger and more determined to chart the course of her own life as she spends more time with Maya, as well as her cousin Rachel.
Maya doesn’t have the same level of character growth as Nina and, honestly, that’s for the best. Nina has so much going on that the book could have become overwrought if Maya had her own personal overhaul to go through too. That said, I really liked her and spending time with her. Her positive relationship with her brothers is in stark opposition to the garbage Nina goes through with her mother, and I liked seeing her figure out what it means to come home as an adult.
Rachel is a fabulous, fun character, and exactly the kind of family member we all need. She’s not afraid to give Nina a healthy dose of tough love, which always comes from a place of wanting Nina to find what’s best for herself, not what anyone else thinks is best for Rachel. Also, she’s a lesbian so I’m hoping that means we get to eventually see her find her own love in a future book.
The Writing Style
KD Williamson is known for writing some serious angst bombs, so I was a little surprised to see that Big Girl Pill doesn’t have much angst to it. There’s no doubt that Maya and Nina will end up together, even if we don’t know how it’ll happen, and there’s no breakup only to have them make up later. That said, there is a healthy dose of tension and conflict between Nina and Drew and her mother. That element keeps things interesting, and the pacing is so perfect that this was a hard book to put down.
Too often, books that showcase toxic familial relationships end with some sort of compromise, so that the person who has been abused turns the other cheek and has to trust that their abuser truly has changed. I loved, loved, LOVED that Big Girl Pill has a different message, one that says you don’t owe a relationship to anyone, including family. This is so needed and if you’re looking for a book that showcases healthy boundaries, this is the one for you!
Also, this isn’t a pro or a con, but I want to call out that no cheating happens in this book. Nina and Maya don’t get together until after Nina splits with Drew, so you can rest assured about that.
I’ve covered this very well already, but just a content warning about toxic family relationships and emotional abuse. Nina’s mother is also homophobic and racist, so keep that in mind too if that’s a problem for you.
Big Girl Pill was the first book I read in 2020 and what a way to start the year! I love Nina and Maya, how they come back to each other and how they build something that I can truly believe in. I highly recommend this book and hope you love it too.
Excerpt from Big Girl Pill by KD Williamson
Rachel looked from one to the other. “Uh-huh. Well, I’m gonna go to the bathroom.” She stood up and gave Nina a pointed look, but what the hell was Nina supposed to do about Maya? She couldn’t force her to talk. Or even meet her halfway. Now that they were alone, the noise of the other patrons seemed to increase, but the silence between them was cavernous.
“Uh, so are your brothers happy to have you home?” Nina asked, trying to fill it. “You haven’t been back for a while, right?”
“Yeah, pretty much. It’s been almost three months.” She fiddled with her glass.
“I wasn’t sure, since there were probably times you came to town that I didn’t know about.”
Maya dropped her gaze back to the table, and Nina wondered when the conversations between them had become so painful and bare bones. They might as well be strangers. She looked down at her hands and whispered, “I don’t understand.”
“Understand what?” Maya sounded tired and aggravated.
Seconds passed, another silence between them. “Nothing,” Nina said. “Sorry.” She wasn’t sure what she was apologizing for. College? The night they’d shared? The long stretches of time that they didn’t talk? She was getting married in a few weeks. She should at least do her best to bridge the gap between them.
“Okay, fine. Nina, what exactly is going on?” The tone she had used before was gone, but she still sounded tired.
“Look, I know that night messed something up between us, and I know what I said didn’t help any. But it’s been two years. Plenty of time to move past it. Don’t you think? All I know is I want my friend back.”
Maya stared at her. “I’m sorry, what?”
“Don’t. I know you heard me.”
She started to respond but Rachel returned, and she sat back down. “I love that their bathrooms are so clean.”
Nina glanced at her then back at Maya.
“Okay, then,” Rachel said, gaze bouncing from one to the other. “Do I need to go back to the bathroom?”
Maya looked away and Nina’s stomach twisted.
Get This Book On Amazon
(this link works for Amazon US, Germany, and Canada)
Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number 9781947253353
- Publisher Dirt Road Books
- KD Williamson Online
If you enjoyed this book then you should also look at
Note: I received a free review copy of Big Girl Pill by KD Williamson. No money was exchanged for this review. When you use our links to buy we get a small commission which supports the running of this site