I received this book for free from Netgalley 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
Series: The Girl from Everywhere #1
Published by Greenwillow Books on February 16, 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.
As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.
But the end to it all looms closer every day.
Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.
For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.
She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.
Or she could disappear.
This is a book that I was so, so excited about. The premise sounded awesome, and I’ve heard high praise from my blogging friends. And it didn’t disappoint! I enjoyed it a lot. I liked the main character Nix. I liked the unique, historical Hawaiian setting. I liked the time travel and how they time traveled. I liked the fairytale-ish, fantasy aspects. I love the father-daughter relationship that YA is seriously lacking. One thing that wasn’t my favorite was the love triangle…But let’s just talk about these things, alright?
Nix is awesome. She’s a strong girl who’s trying to fend for herself. I think she has a hard time letting people in, but once she has, she’s fiercely loyal. AND SHE’S SO UNIQUE. The title kind of says it all: The Girl from Everywhere. She’s literally been everywhere…and not just everywhere, but every time. She was born in Hawaii in the 1800s, but she’s lived everywhere since. She knows modern technology, but she also knows how to dress and act as if she were in the Victorian era. It’s just something I’ve never seen before, and I loved getting to know her and getting to know all these places through her.
And the setting is awesome. Like I said, they’re in a lot of places throughout the story, but the majority of the time, they’re in Hawaii in the late 1800s. Again, this isn’t something I’ve ever seen before. Two of my roommates last year were Hawaiian, so maybe I appreciate it more, I don’t know? And Heidi Heilig is from Hawaii, and you can really feel her love of the culture and history shine through the story. There’s tons of Hawaiian mythology and true history that are present, and I just loved, loved, loved it.
And this is a time travel story…which I haven’t read a lot of. I’ve read The Time Traveller’s Wife, which is phenomenal (I think I want to re-read that, now that I’m thinking about it)…and that’s the only one I can think of off the top of my head. I feel like a broken record when I say that this time traveling aspect was just so incredibly unique. At least from my experiences. They can sail to any time or place, real or imagined, as long as someone created an authentic map of it. So they’ve been everywhere, places not even in the known, real world. They’re basically time-traveling pirates. Which is super awesome, no question.
So I already touched on this, but there’s a lot of Hawaiian mythology that comes through in the story, which I love. Paired with the ability to travel to any imagined world as long as there’s a map, this story is in many ways a fairy tale (which are some of my all-time favorite things, if you didn’t already know). There’s magic and romance and family and a girl who is just trying to figure out who she is and where she fits in the world. It’s definitely not a traditional fairy tale, but in my eyes, it has the right atmosphere and the right qualities that it felt like one.
Probably the most important plot-line of this book is the relationship arc between Nix and her father. Which I think is so cool and something that’s not super present anywhere else. We need more good father + daughter relationships. And I mean, Nix and her dad don’t have the best relationship by any means. But it grows, and the love I see they have for each other is really beautiful. *Tear slowly falls down cheek*
Okay, and my one negative comment: I didn’t like the little love triangle that was going on. And I’m not a person that is inherently against love triangles (I’m all about that Hunger Games life), but I just didn’t like this one. Maybe it’s just because I didn’t like one of the guys at all for Nix…I don’t know. But my ship better sail fully in the next book (Get it? Because they’re on a ship and they’re sailing? Eh? Eh?). Also, if love triangles or romance/lovey-dovey stuff turns you off, don’t let this bother you. It’s a small arc in the book, and there’s so much other cool stuff in there that you probably won’t mind it.
ALSO, LET’S TALK ABOUT HOW THERE’S A SEQUEL. Because I had no idea until I started writing this review. It kind of sets itself up as a standalone. I mean, there’s definitely room for a sequel, and I’m all for it. But I had no idea. I guess there wasn’t much to talk about there, haha.
“He was making a joke about something, something silly, I couldn’t even remember what it was, because I had turned my head to reply when I found myself staring directly into his eyes, and he into mine.
And in that moment, I saw the horizon unbounded and I reeled with the vastness of it. What new shores would I discover if I could only travel those few inches? A storm—a tempest in the pit of my stomach—but I was the skiff tossed on the waves, and my father’s lesson like thunder in my ears: don’t get too close.”
“I have to try, Nix. If I don’t, what am I? I love her. Do you understand? I can’t just elt her go. And maybe—even if it does change everything—maybe you’d be happier too. Did you ever think of that? If none of this had happened? If I’d never disappointed you? If I could do it all over again. I could have been the best father. I still could.”
“I woke naturally before dawn and went to stand watch at the water’s edge. The sky lightened from the color of stone to the soft purple of lavender blossoms, then to the rich blue and orange of a gas flame, all reflected in the mirror of the morning sea. As the sun began to glow gold, Kashmir came to stand beside me, very close but not touching, giving me space. Flecks of foam washed our feet. Words came to mind and then melted away like spun sugar on my tongue. Last night, there had been so much to say, but tomorrow had become today, and everything was different.” (I love this quote so much, oh my heck).
Overall, I loved it and give it a solid 4.5 stars. The writing was beautiful, and everything was so completely unique that I was sucked into its pages. I love the little subheading on the cover, and I think it summarizes the story pretty well, so I’m going to just leave you with that:
She is myth. She is history. She is gone.