I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Published by Greenwillow Books on February 16th 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fiction, Historical, Romance, Science Fiction, Time Travel, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon, B&N, iBooks, GooglePlay, Kobo, BAM, Book Depository, Publisher
Heidi Heilig’s debut teen fantasy sweeps from modern-day New York City to nineteenth-century Hawaii to places of myth and legend. Sixteen-year-old Nix has sailed across the globe and through centuries aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. But when he gambles with her very existence, it all may be about to end. The Girl from Everywhere, the first of two books, will dazzle readers of Sabaa Tahir, Rae Carson, and Rachel Hartman.
Nix’s life began in Honolulu in 1868. Since then she has traveled to mythic Scandinavia, a land from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, modern-day New York City, and many more places both real and imagined. As long as he has a map, Nix’s father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place, any time. But now he’s uncovered the one map he’s always sought—1868 Honolulu, before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. Nix’s life—her entire existence—is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix’s future, her dreams, her adventures . . . her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who’s been part of their crew for two years. If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own.
In The Girl from Everywhere, Heidi Heilig blends fantasy, history, and a modern sensibility with witty, fast-paced dialogue, breathless adventure, and enchanting romance.
I’m not sure where to begin with this book so I’ll just dive right in. The Girl From Everywhere is a novel that isn’t quite YA but not really Adult lit either. I’m not entirely sure how successful this novel will be with young readers, but I can see the allure for older young adult readers. The novel deals with independence, family and the struggles experienced on the cusp of adulthood which I think probably makes this book in a strange quasi-YA land rather than fitting into either niche. Either way, it was the imagery and world building of this book that really impressed me rather than the characters themselves.
This being said, The Girl From Everywhere isn’t really YA. I think this would have fit better with an older cast of characters – but this is purely personal preference.
Not much really happens until close to the end when things REALLY start to take off. It’s a shame since the novel tends to ebb and flow without really getting around to the point of Nix’s story until the middle of the book. I’m not going to lie, this book wasn’t a one sitting kind of read and there were plenty of parts where I had to push through flowery imagery and unrelated historical details to get to the meat of the tale. It looks like later in the series we may see more romance with Kashmir, but I’m hoping not since I don’t particularly like Kash and the lack of romance in this series is refreshing.
On the subject of flowery imagery and unrelated details – this book excels at being beautiful and interesting. The reader is introduced to local Hawaiian lore, ghostly processions, ancient Terracotta warriors and political struggles Hawaii faced before moving away from its royal roots. I found the back story of Hawaii (a place I’ve only read about it Kathy Reichs’ Spider Bones) very fascinating and the cultural lore a wonderful side story. In retrospect, the lore was important to the events later in the book, but at the time it was an irrelevant side story for pure info dumping. As an anthropology major with focus on cultural anthropology I could really appreciate the depth, detail and beautiful language Heidi used to describe the Terracotta warriors and Hawaii while also bringing cultural lore magically to life. Seriously, this book is beautiful and insightful in unexpected ways even if it doesn’t really add to the characters themselves.
Warning to romance lovers: there’s very little romance. This is more of an adventure tale than a romantic endeavour.
Regardless I already plan to purchase The Girl From Everywhere to go on my bookshelf because it looks great (that cover!) and also the eloquent writing bears re-reading at a later date (and I don’t re-read anything!).
This book will appeal to readers who enjoy historic fiction, nautical related novels, unique adult literature and is definitely a bonus for those who hate YA romance. I don’t suggest this to younger YA readers or people looking for epic romance – you won’t find what you’re looking for here.