Book: The Girl From Everywhere (The Girl From Everywhere #1)
Author: Heidi Heilig
So this was my October #RockMyTBR read and I was really excited about it because I had heard such good things (although of course this is always a danger as you’re more likely to be let down with higher expectations). I’m happy to say though, that I really enjoyed The Girl From Everywhere! September was a bit of a down month for me (shame because it was my birthday month) as both the books I read were a little underwhelming, so I was really happy to read something that I genuinely enjoyed. I’ll admit that the time travel elements kind of went over my head, but I love the characters and the historical setting, I’ve never read anything set in Hawaii before and I have no idea why because it was such a wonderful setting. Here is a short synopsis of the book:
It was the kind of August day that hinted at monsoons, and the year was 1774, though not for very much longer.
Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She, her father and their crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times – although a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix’s father is only interested in one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her mother was alive. Something that puts Nix’s existence rather dangerously in question…
Nix has grown used to her father’s obsession, but only because she’s convinced it can’t work. But then a map falls into her father’s lap that changes everything. And when Nix refuses to help, her father threatens to maroon Kashmir, her only friend (and perhaps, only love) in a time where Nix will never be able to find him. And if Nix has learned one thing, it’s that losing the person you love is a torment that no one can withstand. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever.
So first off, obviously the premise is awesome. A ship that can travel through time? Yes please. I would have loved if there had been more explanation as to exactly how the whole Navigation thing worked, as I didn’t really understand it, but Nix (our narrator), didn’t really either so I guess that worked well? I did love it though, the whole idea of using maps to travel through time is really creative and it’s not something I’ve ever seen before, so I give props to Heidi Heilig for coming up with such an awesome idea. I absolutely love maps as well, I always say a fantasy book can be improved with a good map, so I loved having a book that centred around them and we got some pretty awesome illustrations through the book which was amazing.
I felt like the main character Nix was kind of outshone by the main guy character in this book? Well at least for me. Kash was smart and sly and sassy and funny whereas Nix felt kind of dry to me? I didn’t feel like I got a great sense of her personality, which is not exactly what you want from a main character. I did like that she loved to learn and was keen on adventure and liked all those different mythologies though, I could definitely connect to her on those things. Her dad, Slate, was kind of a contradictory character, he seemed to be switching between protective, loving father and “I don’t really care if you die when I go to get your mother back”. Still I did love that this book explored father-daughter relationships, because it’s so rare in YA! It was nice to see a parental character not just there, but actively involved in the adventure.
I loved the inclusion of different mythologies throughout, I’m a bit of a mythology nerd and I loved getting to see lots of different ones included.
The writing was incredibly pretty, but there were a few grammatical errors and typos here and there, which is slightly jarring to read in a finished copy.
The setting was amazing! I’ve never read anything set in Hawaii before, and I loved it. It was such a great setting for this book, really added to the magical feel. I also liked the little author’s note at the end explaining some of the historical aspects, as I really didn’t know anything about Hawaii before reading this book, so it’s nice to come out feeling like I’ve learned something! All the little aspects of Hawaiian culture she weaved into the book were amazing.
I did feel like the plot was a little confusing? I didn’t understand why they needed to go to all the places they went to and honestly sometimes the plot just seemed a little thin, the entire book mostly felt like set up for the part at the end. I also found it kind of anticlimactic, although I can’t really explain why because it would be spoilery. Honestly my liking of this book was more for the feel and the history and the characters than the plot. It wandered a little and a lot of the book felt like jumbled puzzle pieces that didn’t quite fit together.
I was also sad that the sea dragon didn’t seem to have any real purpose. I mean you give me this dragon and it has no role in the story? Don’t tempt me with dragons and then yank them away!
There is a little romance, not a lot, but a little and Nix and Kash were a very shippable couple. There’s also a bit of a love triangle with Kash and another guy she meet in Hawaii which I didn’t love because it brought out the worst in both male characters!
There were plenty of animals in this book between the dragon and Blake’s dog and horse, which made me very happy.
There was also a ball which made me very happy because I’m sure you all know by now, I love a good ball with pretty dresses and boys dressed up in suits.
I did love the diversity in this book, Nix is half Chinese, Kash is Persian, one of the crew members Bee was African and a lesbian, it was great to see. Also the author is biracial just like Nix and actually comes from Hawaii!
I don’t feel like this necessarily needs a sequel? I mean it’s quite open ended, but it feels like a standalone in the way it’s written. Still I am very happy that there is going to be a sequel as I want to spend more time with this crew, I want to get to travel to more places (as they are largely in Hawaii for most of this book), I want to know how Navigation works (like how can you travel to mythological places? How is that possible?) and I want to get to see Nix’s personality evolve more. Okay, so I guess it’s quite good there is a sequel! (Point still stands though, it reads well as a standalone).
My Rating: 3.5/5
The next book I will be reviewing is Neal Shusterman’s Scythe, I’m almost halfway through and enjoying so far. I’m hoping to have a discussion post and something else a little special up during the rest of my time at home, so stay tuned for those things!