The Girl From Everywhere

November 7, 2016
The Girl From Everywhere Book Cover The Girl From Everywhere
The Girl From Everywhere, #1
Heidi Heilig
Magical Realism
Greenwillow Books
February 16th, 2016
Audiobook
443
Library

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.

(via Goodreads)


The Girl From Everywhere
is everything and nothing like I expected it to be. Time-travelling pirate ship? Check. Sexy Persian man? Check. Tiny pocket dragon? Check. Spies, intrigue, and theft? Check. This beautifully written story very neatly tied together history and mythology while a spunky female character narrated. Yet, as we can discover with time travel, it’s easy for the story to unravel.

Sometimes fate makes choices for us.

Growing up, I quickly learned that I adore time travel. I watched Back to the Future so many times we broke the VHS and I could still quote the entire movie. I would stay home sick and lay in my parent’s bedroom with my Mom watching Quantum Leap reruns forever. There is real drama in time travel. It’s so easy to accidentally break the world. The brilliant thing about The Girl From Everywhere is that the book more or less starts out with us being introduced to how very unstable time travel really can be.

Nix is the daughter of Slate, the captain of the time-traveling ship Temptation. the-girl-from-everywhere-oahu-map-2The crew acquires maps which have been dated and hand-drawn, and then can travel to the place and time on the map. But, once they use the map, they can never return to that location ever again. Slate is searching for a map of Honolulu 1868, the year that Nix was born and her mother died– both events that Slate missed. He wants to go back and save his wife, but Nix is terrified that in doing so she will be erased from time. Desperate for a map, the crew arrives in Honolulu 1884 and is captured in a plot to overthrow the Hawai’ian government. Why does the crew of the Temptation get involved? Obviously, they have a map of Honolulu 1868…

It is not difficult to tell the future of a woman who only has a past.

What captured me the most about The Girl from Everywhere was how Heilig wrote the relationship between Slate and Nix. Father-daughter relationships are not frequently the focus of YA, particularly the semi-abusive and semi-neglectful kind we see here. the-girl-from-everywhere-tall-shipCaptain Slate and Nix’s relationship is complicated and tense. Nix frequently has confrontations with her father which left me anxious for her. They are very similar (for example, they both avoid their problems), yet complete opposites (Nix adores learning, Slate adores opium. Trust me, in this case, they are opposites). Growing up as the tool instrumental to helping her father achieve his ultimate goal, Nix is jaded. She has experienced little of the traditional father-daughter relationship and craves his attention. Watching both Nix and Slate grow throughout this novel is heart-wrenching. A love-hate relationship that goes both ways, is twisted and bitter, yet both just want to forgive the other. Amazing.

There are so many beautiful things about this story. The crew of the Temptation for one. Kashmir is a debonair thief, Rotgut is a food-loving runaway monk, and Bee is African lesbian who’s dead wife’s spirit follows her around playing at mischief. How can you not love that? Nix grew up with a passion for learning on a ship. She is constantly quoting literature, making allusions to great moments in history and mythology, and describes everything with a nautical twist. That last part I really love. It stuck out a lot to me at first, since I have little experience with boats, but by the end of the book I barely noticed it. I also adore Honolulu.

Jealousy is nothing but a fear of being abandoned.

Heilig was inspired to write this novel because she found a newspaper article about a group of pirates who plundered the town and royal treasury in 1884 without firing a single shot. She couldn’t find any additional details, the-girl-from-everywhere-hawaii-2so she made the story up herself. It’s obvious that Heilig adores her home of Ohau. The tenderness in her descriptions come through bursting with love. But we also get to experience an extreme turning point in Hawaiian history. As an American, I never studied the annexation of Hawaii, but it’s easy to find historical accounts of how the charm, culture, and experiences of an ingenious people were overrun by foreign influence, power, and the drug trade.

I adore the time-travel theory Heilig has developed. The concept that a penned, dated, accurate, and original map can take a Navigator to that exact location is brilliant. Not just that, but this is the world as the map-maker believes it to be. If the map-maker actually believes the mythos of a world, Slate can go there and live it. the-girl-from-everywhere-indiaBut, you use a map to Navigate you can never return with that map– you need a new one. Yet, this brilliant form of time travel unraveled a bit by the end for me. When I finished the book, it felt like Heilig had over explained Navigation to the point where her own time travel theory holes were obvious. It was disappointing to see this appear when I feel if we had left the mystery a bit the story would have been more solid.

Sometimes a person has to let go of something to take hold of something else.

Like most time-travel stories, there was confusion and there were plot holes. Now, this could just be my experience: I listened to this book via audiobook. Kim Mai Guest was an amazing narrator. I loved listening to her cadence and timbre. She provided each character a distinct voice, so if I missed an introduction to who was speaking, I knew immediately. That said if I missed a sentence or two at a critical juncture I was suddenly super confused (since this is time-travel, I should have paid closer attention). A few times I rewound, but it was hard to find the critical information I missed. Instead, I just kept going. In the end, I’m not certain if there really are plot holes or I just wasn’t attentive enough– but I was engaged enough in the characters, descriptions, and setting to let that go. (I let the plot go?! And I still enjoyed it?! Fascinating….) I wonder if I will reconsider this thought on a re-read?

Chance favors the prepared mind, and there’s no mind more prepared than yours.

November is also Indigenous Peoples month in the United States. While this isn’t a #OwnVoices author, it was great to read a book that addressed the native Hawaiian people even if it was briefly. Brendon at Gaming for Justice is featuring Native Hawaiian’s in literature this month. If you are interested in learning more, check out his blog!

In the end, reading The Girl From Everywhere was a really enjoyable experience. The characters, setting, and time travel theory all really resonated with me. While there are some pacing and plot concerns, that doesn’t mean I won’t recommend this book to people. You take a gamble sometimes with time travel, and I’m willing to risk it.

4 stars


What do you think?

  • Have you read The Girl From Everywhere? Did you enjoy the book?
  • What do you think of time-travel stories? Do you ever struggle to follow them? Do you question their believability?
  • Are you willing to let plot go for any reason? Character development? Relationships? Setting?

27 Comments

  • ChicNerdReads November 7, 2016 at 9:55 am

    This book sounds fantastic. I like all the elements mentioned. Except, I’m not a huge time travel fan though this one sounds very different from other reads. Awesome detailed review here, thank you!

    • Jackie B November 8, 2016 at 2:42 pm

      I understand– time travel can be pretty hit or miss. And, honestly, it was confusing sometimes. But that could have been just my lack of paying attention… O_o But overall I loved it. Thanks for the compliment. 🙂

  • Resh Susan @ The Book Satchel November 7, 2016 at 9:57 am

    I am glad you really enjoyed the read. Many have recommended this book to me as a YA read for magical realism.And I love magical realism. Great review

    • Jackie B November 8, 2016 at 2:43 pm

      Yes! That’s probably one of the reasons I really enjoyed it; magical realism is slowly turning into one of my favorite genres. I also think this book could easily stand alone. There aren’t enough stand alone books in YA right now, in my opinion.

  • Marie @ drizzleandhurricanebooks November 7, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Fantastic review! Also, I’m a massive fan of Back to the Future as well, and I could quote the entire movie. I loved it too much ahah, I still do. I heard great and not-so-great things about this book, this is probably why I haven’t read this yet, and to be honest, with all the books there are, I ended up putting in the back of my mind to forget it. Which is too bad because…Well now I’m convinced I need to read it right now ahah. Thank you for this!

    • Jackie B November 8, 2016 at 2:44 pm

      Isn’t that why we read each other blogs? So we can be inspired and make our TBR’s grow endlessly? No? Oops. I am constantly finding books I want to read, but I never manage to find the time immediately to get to them. Do you like time travel in your literature? If so, I encourage you to keep it somewhere on the TBR. 🙂

  • wordsandotherbeasts November 7, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Great review! The blurb of this book never really captured my attention, I’m not sure why, but after reading your review I’m definitely going to pick this up! The crew of the Temptation sound like a lot of fun.

    • Jackie B November 8, 2016 at 2:53 pm

      The crew *is* fun! I wish that we had more about Bee and Rotgut, but their involvement was perfect for this story. It’s just one of those things… Heilig keeps me wanting more, which is perfect. I hope you enjoy this when you finally get to it!

  • Anne November 8, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    Much love for this review and the concept of the book. I had no idea! I mean, I’ve heard about the title before, but always assumed it was something contemporary for some reason. This is awesome, though! And I’m kinda glad we don’t need VCR’s anymore because I broke a few as well back in the day by watching stuff over and over again!

    • Jackie B November 11, 2016 at 3:50 pm

      I completely understand why you might have thought it was a contemporary based purely on title and cover. With Nix’s eyes staring through that blue swirl, it certainly looks contemporary (that said, I still love this cover!). I have definitely judged a book by its cover once or twice and been happily surprised when it wasn’t what I expected.

      • Anne November 12, 2016 at 2:14 pm

        I’ve mistaken books for YA as well because of coloury swirls. I really need to kick that nasty habit, but it’s so integrated!

        • Jackie B November 14, 2016 at 2:36 pm

          Coloury swirls will be the death of me, though. They are one reason my TBR is endless. I can’t resist a pretty swirl or explosion of colour! 🙂

  • Amanda @Cover2CoverMom November 8, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Loved your review Jackie! You have made me very excited to be picking this one up this month!

    I sometimes find my mind wondering while listening to audiobooks sometimes and often wonder what I miss without realizing it

    • Jackie B November 11, 2016 at 3:57 pm

      I’m glad you’ll have a chance to read this, Amanda. I’m definitely looking forward to hearing your opinions.

      I’ve actually re-read books I originally listened to on audiobook and found that my opinion completely changes sometimes. You just miss one or two critical things and BAM– the whole meaning of a character or passage or chapter or even the whole book has changed!

  • Miss B Blogz Thingz Over.. November 8, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    Great Review!
    ThnQ for Sharing!
    Hugz, Miss B.

  • Jasmine November 10, 2016 at 9:58 am

    I like time travel books. It’s a real treat to read father/daughter relationships that’s not the kind where daddy’s little girl is being spoiled rotten is a welcome change. How is the title apply into the story? Is it because they travelled to many places that’s why saying that she’s everywhere? I like the way you compliment the reader. I tried to change to different voice when I read for my son, but it’s tough.. hahaha..

    • Jackie B November 11, 2016 at 3:52 pm

      It’s VERY tough to read in different voices! I don’t know how voice actors do it. My mind is constantly blown.

      The title refers to Nix’s inability to identify with any location. She was born in 1800’s Honolulu but all her memories are from being aboard the Temptation. Whenever she is asked where she is from, where home is, or the like, she doesn’t know how to answer. A good part of this book is about Nix identifying who she is and what matters to her. After all, doesn’t our home define us in some way?

  • Diana November 15, 2016 at 3:03 am

    Great review. I have only read one book featuring time travel, 11.22.63 by Stephen King. I have Time Traveler’s wife on my TBR though. This sounds like a fantastic read.I like the setting and the time period.

    • Jackie B November 24, 2016 at 12:35 pm

      Did you enjoy reading 11.22.63? I haven’t heard any opinions from my blogger friends yet, and I’m curious– i know that I trust you! 🙂 If you have a review, can you post a link?

  • Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity November 22, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    I have a review copy of this that I still haven’t read, and now I am wondering why I haven’t! This is by far the best review I have read for this book because it has made me SO KEEN to read it. It sounds incredibly awesome and unique, and a lot of the things you mentioned are things I love to see in books.

    I adore time travel novels, as well, even if they never quite fully explain the whole time travelling aspect, haha. I guess I just suspend move on from my disbelief and go with it because every author has a different take on time travel, and I’m okay with that.

    Have you read All Our Yesterdays? Is is by far my favourite YA book that centres around time travel. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend that you do!

    Thank you for this review – it has definitely made me bump up this title on the TBR 😀

    • Jackie B November 24, 2016 at 11:54 am

      Aw, thanks Chiara! You make me blush! 😀
      This is certainly a unique book, and I strongly encourage you to read it if you are interested in time travel. I like to suspend my disbelief in these situations as well. I know in my review I mentioned that I suspended disbelief due to the audiobook, but I probably would have come up with an excuse for the printed book as well.
      I haven’t even heard of All Our Yesterdays. But I just read the synopsis and it sounds absolutely fascinating. I will have to read it. It sounds really fascinating!

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