Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig: A Book Review

The Girl from Everywhere
Author: Heidi Heilig
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date:  February 16, 2016
Pages: 464
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Synopsis: 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. It's 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.

     My Review: The Girl from Everywhere is a time travel novel that surrounds an actual pirate heist in Honolulu. Nix lives on the ship, The Temptation, where they travel through different eras by navigating old maps. However, Nix’s father wants to find the map of Honolulu 1868, where he can see Nix’s mother again. However, because that is also the time when Nix was born, she knows that if her present self is in the time period of her past self, then she cannot exist. Nix knows that she must stand up to her father if she wants to exist. Luckily, she and her father arrive in Honolulu at a different time period. She realizes that this is because the map they were using was inaccurate. In order to obtain the accurate map that could get them to her father’s desired destination, they are forced to steal from Hawaiian’s Royal Treasury. Will their heist be successful, and what would happen once they have the map?

     As a Hawaiian, I am always looking for books about Hawaii to learn more about my history and culture. I grew up learning all the myths and history of Hawaii. While I was disappointed that the book only scratches the surface and does not really go into a deeper level of the Hawaiian myths, for instance why the Hawaiian Night Marchers roam the night, or that this novel is not filled with rich historical details about Honolulu, it is still a great read for those who are not familiar with our history and culture. Hawaii is a very religious island filled with mysticism and superstition that make it a perfect setting for a fantasy novel.

     Nix is a fun character. At first, I was a bit annoyed with her. When her father is threatening with her basic existence, I would assume that she would stand up to her father. Instead, she does nothing. She just goes with the flow. Later, as the novel progresses, she soon finds her inner strength and begins to take a stand. She slowly grows into a mature young woman. She also becomes very independent. She comes to rely more on herself and becomes very confident.

      Overall, this book is about friendship, family, love, choices, and sacrifices. This is a coming-of-age story about a young woman who is trying to find her place in the world. The message of the book is to appreciate what you have right now because you never know when you may lose it. The story has some slow parts but it mostly moved at a steady pace. The characters were very interesting. I also love the father-daughter relationship which was the centerpiece of the novel. This book leaves you waiting for the sequel. I recommend this novel to anyone interested in historical fantasy, time-travel, and Hawaiian culture.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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