I received this book for free from Publisher 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 HarperCollins on February 16th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure, Pirates, Historical, United States, 19th Century, Fantasy & Magic
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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, blends fantasy, history, and a modern sensibility. Its witty, fast-paced dialogue, breathless adventure, multicultural cast, and enchanting romance 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.
The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig was not on my radar until New York Comic Con. As one of the more elderly book bloggers, I just do not follow the latest and greatest upcoming books like I used to when I was a young whippersnapper. However, as I made the trek to New York Comic Con, I had followed some twitter conversations about the authors who would be there – including Heilig. There – I attended the Epic Reads meetup which was awesome and they had an author round robin with the different tables and at that event I made up my mind to read The Girl From Everywhere NEXT. However, I am the worst at plans and follow through (hello I am a FLAKEY PERSON). So, I did not end up reading until MONTHS LATER. As always, I regret my super slow reading choices as this book is quite the transporting read.
The Girl From Everywhere is about Nix – a 16 year old girl who lives aboard this pirate ship called the Temptation with her father the captain Slate, Bee, Rotgut, and Kashmir. The Temptation is not just any pirate ship though. You see, it is captained by Slate who is a Navigator, meaning that he can take a map and sail right into the year the map was made and the place depicted on the map. Slate is obsessed with finding a map to take him back to when Nix’s mother, Lin Song, was still alive. However, there is the risk that if he is able to sail to that year, Nix will cease to exist. In a story that spans from modern day New York City to pre-American Annexation Hawaii, The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig is a story that captured my imagination. And pretty much ALL OF MY ATTENTION until the very end.
I have been using the term RIDE OR DIE these past few days probably incorrectly, but I will say that Nix is a character that I would ride or die for. She’s the best. I mean, okay, so she’s got the skill to eventually be a Navigator, if Slate would just teach her. She’s someone who has never really known a home that stays in one place. She’s got great big choices to make in this book and I loved seeing her thought process for those choices. I loved each little nugget of information we got about Nix and her future as well as her past. I loved how brave she came across. There’s something to be said for how well written and compelling Nix is as a main character.
The back jacket copy on the arc of The Girl From Everywhere promises “enchanting romance.” I kind of feel like that’s an overstatement. Like, I feel like there was not an overt romance in this book. I mean, there’s a part where Nix has a flirtation, because she’s never flirted before. And there’s also hints at a possible something with Kashmir, however, there was not any sweep you off your feet grand and glorious romance — which is okay. Just, I had this expectation of lots and lots of kissing, but there was not. This being said, I could definitely ship Nix with Kashmir, his character is the best! And a thief! And I have quite the soft spot for characters who happen to be thieves. AND HE CALLS HER AMIRA. Super adorable.
Aside from potential romance, I loved the thorny relationship between Nix and her father Slate – evinced by the fact that she often calls him Slate instead of Dad. Slate absolutely has his issues. He is addicted to opium. He spends his time in the single minded pursuit of a map to get him to when Nix’s mother was alive, without regard for Nix’s feelings or the fact that returning to that time may cause Nix to cease to exist. He makes some pretty horrible choices in the face of this driving need. Yet, he has a tattoo of Nix’s name on one wrist and Lin on the other – so it isn’t as though he doesn’t love Nix. Just, it seems like he loves her mother more. Nix still loves Slate despite all of his faults. However, she has to decide about forging her own trail and learning to Navigate. I’ll just leave it at I loved how Heilig portrayed this complicated imperfect parent child relationship in The Girl From Everywhere.
The concept of time traveling through maps via sailing a pirate ship and the magic of Navigating was something I have never encountered in a book before – and I read a lot. I felt like this was such a cool, unique concept. I loved the different mythological elements that Heilig wove in the story alongside the navigating. Y’all, there are terracotta soldiers in this book – which is kind of super awesome to read about. Also — so much about Hawaii that I did not know and now I have wanderlust and want to go there.
The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig is a stunning debut with such a cool world building concept. Fans of time travel as well as history will certainly appreciate this book. I am beyond eager for book two which I am honestly just over here hoping contains kissing scenes. PS – I would recommend you get your hands on a finished copy rather than an ARC if you are a literary map fan because the ARC does not have the maps but the finished copies do.
Other reviews of The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig:
Pure Imagination – “definitely a debut you want to watch out for”
Bookshelfery – “wins all five hard-earned stars from me without question”
YA Books Girl – “The worlds were richly drawn with so much love I could feel it”
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