Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Next Stop: Nina is a contemporary fiction novel written by Robin Raven. Nina's childhood was a sad and frightening mix of love, warmth, and cruelty. Her father seemed to get a vicarious thrill out of inflicting pain on his little daughter and then boasting about it afterwards. Seeing the people in her life support his cruelty and not speak out against it hurt her almost as much as the beatings themselves. On just such a day, when her father slapped her in the face as she left the car for a field trip to the museum, causing her to fall on the pavement and skin her knees, Nina saw a canvas that transformed her life. The colors and the composition spoke to her soul, and the legend bearing the artist's name and particulars became engraved in her memory. That museum and that painting kept Nina whole even through the horrific night when her father murdered her mother and brother, Davey, and then turned the gun on himself.
Robin Raven's time travel coming of age novel Next Stop: Nina is a poignant and haunting tale about a young woman whose horrific past has marred her existence. The legacy of parental abuse continued on in her adult life, leading her to accept an abusive boyfriend who then became a terrifying and abusive husband. And while she finally found the courage to escape that relationship, she still was unable to get past the harm and injury that seemed a part of her destiny. Nina's destiny is so much more than that, however, in this remarkable and intriguing debut novel. Next Stop: Nina is beautifully written, and the plot is wonderfully complex as its main character follows her echoes from time to time. In the process, she gradually allows herself to become the person she was always meant to be, and it's a joy to see her twirl and revel childlike in wonder as she makes her way through life. Next Stop: Nina is sheer pleasure to read and is most highly recommended.