The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

The Girl From Everywhere (The Girl From Everywhere #1) by Heidi Heilig
Published in March 2016 by Hot Key Books.

Links: Goodreads.

Source: publisher via Netgalley. Thank you Hot Key Books for providing me with an e-copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Genre: YA time travel fantasy.

My rating:

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. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever.

srcek

The Girl From Everywhere was a very interesting novel. I saw some good reviews of the US edition, so when the UK/EU edition became available on Netgalley, I jumped at the chance to read it. I’m partial to stories with ships (though I dislike ships myself, I get seasick + they look dangerous) and if there is piracy involved, I’m definitely in.

I really, really liked Nix. She’s such a well-developed character! Her motivations, worries, and decisions make her a very interesting person to read about. Her relationship with her father is so complex, I disliked him for most of the time, he is really unfeeling toward her and while I tried to understand his reasons for such behavior, I couldn’t really sympathize. But Nix is a good person despite this lack of love, this sense of never being good enough.

Then there’s Kashmir, the ship’s boy and thief, from a far-away Persian fairy land. He’s a great love interest, I really enjoyed the friends-to-something-more-and-undefined-and-unexplored story arc. I wished to find out more about him, so I’m hoping he stays a prominent character in the sequel.

There’s a bit of a love triangle, though it’s not the usual obnoxious kind where the girl wobbles from one hot guy to the other. Nix is rather exploring her life for the first time, and goes for the “tomorrow, everything will be different” approach, so I couldn’t really fault her for being interested in both boys. I think it’s also the case of her never getting any real attention and/or compliments, so she’s discovering herself as a young woman for the first time, which was interesting.

I read that some people had trouble following the changing timeline. Personally, I love stories with switching timelines if they’re done well and I didn’t think this one was too confusing. I did get a bit lost when it came to the explanations of Navigating and time travel (it’s always interesting to see how the author handles the cause and effect problem of time travel, the consequences of one’s actions throughout history, etc). But it wasn’t really a deterrent for me, I still enjoyed the story very much. 

I was a bit wary about the setting – one of them, anyway. Most of the story takes place in 19th century Hawaii, and while there was mention of political unrest and outside forces having a bad influence, I thought the world was perhaps too romanticized. It’s kind of like with Orientalism and romanticizing the past – we got a glimpse of this perfect tropical paradise into which the “civilized” world was intruding with its corrupt influence. It wasn’t a huge problem but it is the main reason I knocked off a star/heart in my rating – though maybe the author portrayed Hawaii in such a way intentionally, to show Nix’s view of the place? The paradise does contrast nicely with her fears of the place and the unhappy thoughts she has about it.

All in all, this was a very good beginning of a series – and a debut, if I’m not mistaken! So I’m looking forward to the sequel, which is scheduled to be published in 2017. 

srcek

Have you read The Girl From Everywhere? What did you think?

Do you have any good time travel recommendations?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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  • Great review, Kaja! I think you’re right that the 19th century Hawaii felt overly romanticized. I didn’t have any problems following the timeline/explanations, but the “love triangle” was a bit of a problem for me. I understood Nix, but I really didn’t like the non-Kashmir leg of that triangle, his portions of the story felt weaker, and I especially didn’t like what they did with him in the end. :P

    • Thanks, Kel! :)
      I thought that the “weak” leg of the triangle would get left behind, too. I don’t see how he could ever win over the readers’ affection over Kashmir! I’m all for the Persian fairy tale guy. But I’m really interested in how the story will progress in the sequel!

      • I don’t think it’ll happen, but I’m actually hoping the sequel has a different protagonist/narrator. I feel like we left Nix in a good spot (character development-wise) and now it would be great to watch someone else grow and see more magical lands and relics!

        • Really? I’m hoping to see more of Nix. I liked her, it doesn’t happen often that I don’t find a teenage heroine at least a bit annoying but Nix seemed like a complex individual. But yes, more magical lands and relics would definitely be great! :)

  • This is a really good review. I totally get what you’re saying about the setting of Hawaii being romanticised but I thought that had something to do with the fact that every place they visited was done so through the maps and so each place they visited was partially influenced by the mapmakers own perspective of the place, so every where they visited ended up being a slightly romanticised version of it if that makes sense?

    I liked the romance in this too because it didn’t really overwhelm the story at all, it was just hinted at as the main story developed. I do feel like it wasn’t until they arrive in Hawaii that I actually became interested in the story and then I really enjoyed it.

    Great review, by the way. I know you mentioned it in a comment before which I missed but are we posting The English Patient on Monday?

    • Thanks, Becky!

      YES, that is a very good point, I haven’t thought of that! It’s definitely a coloured impression of the past, and seen through some very rosy spectacles. Your theory would also explain how they managed to get into mythical lands – the mapmaker AND the navigator had to believe in them. Hmm. I’ll be thinking about this when I read the sequel.

      And yeah, it’s nice to read a YA book where romance isn’t absolutely overwhelming and dead-center. I mean, I know they exist, these YA books without romance, but I like a bit of that in books, it just doesn’t always need to be the most important thing.

      And OH MY is it really the end of March already?! Gah. You post your post and I’ll follow in a couple of days, I would hate for you to miss your opportunity – I’ll definitely write the damn thing but somehow I completely missed it and wrote 5 reviews instead, so I’m covered for those in April (my blogging is very erratic these days). I can’t wait to hear your thoughts, especially as you said you didn’t enjoy it as much!

      • That’s how I viewed the whole map/time travelling concept because how else would you explain all the magical stuff? I may be wrong, but that is my chosen interpretation.

        I know, I feel like those YA books which aren’t about romance may be a bit of a myth sometimes. They’re out there but they are never shouted about as loudly for some reason.

        Welcome to April. It happened and I don’t know how. I get like that, I’ve just sped through about 6 reviews tonight and I’m slowly catching up on blog reading and comments. Ugh, I think I may sleep now, but I’m back on it in the morning. I need to rename my weekend to something blog related.

        • No, it totally makes sense! I just didn’t think of it. I’ve even been telling other people about your theory. :D

          And yeah, romance (be it of ANY kind) is SUCH a big part of adolescence that any books that are supposedly completely without it are kind of suspect to me. I’m not saying there should be happily-ever-afters everywhere (because seriously, who meets their soulmate at 16?!) but some attraction to other humans is usually expected. Unless there’s a reason it’s absent (like the person being asexual?). I mean, it doesn’t even have to be ROMANCE or love – just pure teenage lust. :) It’s the hormones. They’re unavoidable.

          • I feel special now, I have a theory which is worthy of telling others, that’s an achievement.

            And I always forget how important romance is when you’re growing up, you do get a bit love crazy. I remember being convinced I was in love with a different boy every few weeks for a while. Turns out I really wasn’t and I had very poor taste in crushes, but who knows any better in their teen years?I think it’s important in YA to have romance not continually be the focus of a book as a reminder to teens that being in love is not the most important thing ever, it just happens to be nice when it happens.

          • Oh, absolutely. I like your theory.

            And yep, having a different crush every other week was the norm. Though I do remember a couple of boys better than the rest (not that I dated them). I think it takes a lot less to be attracted to someone then, it’s enough that your friend likes the boy or that he smiles at you or whatever. :) And I think that teenage couples are rarely both IN LOVE, I think it’s often a case of societal expectations and whatnot, but it does seem very, very important at the time. And though we can now look back fondly on those crushes and failed relationships, they meant absolutely EVERYTHING back then! :D

  • I’ve heard mostly positive things about this one so I really want to read it too! I love stories set on ships and well the characters and the adventuring sound right up my alley. Of course, I can never say no to time-travel books either XD Lovely review^^ x

    • I think you might like it. Give it a go if you get a chance! :)

      And yeah, this story combines really fantastic features: ships, time travel, piracy, daddy issues… :D I could go on and on! ;)

  • Hmm, interesting thought about the romanticisation of Hawaii. I hadn’t picked up on it!

    • Another commenter suggested that the view of Hawaii might be the image that the map maker had of it – because every land they access through Navigating is a bit different and this is how they can get to mythical lands, because both the map maker and the Navigator believed they existed. I’m not sure! :)

  • Maraia

    I only skimmed your review, since I’m (hopefully) going to listen to the book soon, but I’m glad it has your stamp of approval. I’ve heard other people criticize the historical inaccuracies of the setting as well, so it’s good to know that it didn’t ruin the book for you.

    The most recent time travel book I enjoyed is Time Salvager by Wesley Chu. I did try to read Passenger, but I didn’t make it past the prologue, haha.

    • SEAL OF APPROVAL! (Seals are better than stamps. :p )

      Nah, I didn’t think the setting was historically inaccurate (I really know NOTHING about Hawaii history, it’s sort of embarrassing), I just thought any country presented as a paradise is suspicious. :) I’m cynical like that. Like I said, it’s a common think with Orientalism and romanticizing the past – we studied examples like that at Uni.

      Wait, Passenger as the hugely popular one that was released a month ago? That’s a time travel story, too? Huh. Why did you DNF??

      • Maraia

        Haha, seal of approval it is. :D

        I don’t know anything about Hawaiian history, either, which is even more embarrassing as an American. I don’t actually remember learning much (or anything) in school.

        Yeah, the one by Alexandra Bracken. It was so boring! Based on reviews I’ve seen since, DNF’ing was a wise decision.

        • Haha, OKAY, no Passenger for me, then! It sounded like it might be a good idea but like you said, the reviews aren’t exactly favourable.

  • [email protected] Friends Are Fiction

    Great review! I’m glad you enjoyed this one. I really enjoyed it myself. I really wish the triangle hadn’t been present just because KASH and it wasn’t necessary to me. I hope it doesn’t drag into the next book. As for Hawaii being romanticized I didn’t actually think about that when reading. I don’t’ know enough about that time in history there so I don’t know. I do know that Heidi is from Hawaii so I wonder how much is taught there in the school system etc. Very interesting to think about! Sort of makes me want to research! I’m with you I loved the changing timeline. I thought overall it was really well done!

    • Ha, yes, I agree, Kash would have been enough! He’s such a great love interest – he’s essentially a really good guy but also mysterious as hell and so pretty. *sigh*

      One of the commenters told me she thought that the romanticized version of Hawaii had to do with the mapmaker’s view of the place, which really makes sense to me, as they also accessed mythical lands in this way – both the mapmaker and the Navigator had to believe, right? So I’m going to be more watchful of this in the next book and see what happens. :) And yeah, I saw the author was from Hawaii, it must be good to write about a place you know really well.