Review: The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

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.

Review: The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi HeiligThe Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Series: The Girl from Everywhere #1
Published by Greenwillow on February 16, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance, Historical, Time Travel
Pages: 464
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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four-stars

It was the kind of August day that hinted at monsoons, and the year was 1774, though not for very much longer.

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. And when Nix refuses to help, her father threatens to maroon Kashmir, her only friend (and perhaps, only love) in a time where Nix will never be able to find him. And if Nix has learned one thing, it's that losing the person you love is a torment that no one can withstand. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever.

One of my first 2016 releases I tried, right at the end of 2015, was Passenger. It also ended up being my first 2016 release to be DNFed. The Girl from Everywhere is everything that I’d hoped Passenger would be. It’s time travel done right with romance, adventure, lush history, and fantasy to top it all off. Heilig’s debut novel has epic scale and was hard for me to put down.

The Girl from Everywhere is a time travel story that will appeal to the detail-oriented reader. Heilig has built this really cool time travel worldbuilding atop a world of history and mythology. She seamlessly blends actual history with legends in a way that doesn’t seem like it should make sense but somehow totally works. There’s also just so much potential for where this series could go, and I love that I have no idea where the characters will journey from here.

Although the voice and characters didn’t quite hit that magic place where I get all feelsy, I do adore the cast of characters Heilig’s built here. For one thing, the cast is largely not white, and they don’t fall into simple stereotypes at all, even Kashmir, who’s sort of an amalgamation of what a Frenchman thought an Arab was. I realize that sentence I just typed makes only so much sense but I swear Heilig makes this stuff work in this amazing way. My only reservation is that I’m a bit unclear on how the parallel universes of fantasy and reality align View Spoiler ». I’m willing to roll with it for now, but I hope that the series elucidates how all of this works more later on in the story.

Nix has grown up sailing the world with her father. She’s visited many ages and so many places. They can even visit fantastical places of legend and acquire magical objects. That may sound idyllic, but her father’s temperaments have always been up and down; he’s obsessed with the idea of saving her mother who died shortly after Nix was born. The Captain’s treatment of her has led Nix to close off her feelings, and she’s planning to leave all the people she’s ever known and set out on her own. Nix is hardened, but a marshmallow inside.

In The Girl from Everywhere, Nix is literally confronting a different future she could have had. They end up in Hawaii, with Nix the age she would have been had she simply lived where she was born. Though she’s seen so much, getting to settle and live in one place, know a town and its people, is something she’s never experienced. She gets to weigh whether the life of time traveling adventure is really what she wants.

Much of that decision is encapsulated in the love triangle. Kashmir had my heart from the very beginning. He’s incorrigible and bantery and a thief, so I mean I really didn’t stand a chance. Blake Hart is the boy that could have been, maybe, if she’d grown up there. I’m pretty impressed that I didn’t end up totally loathing Blake, but I’m still Team Kashmir all the way.

The relationships in the book are messy and unpredictable in a way that I really like. Often, character arcs didn’t quite go where I expected them to. Just when I would think that Nix would hold back once again, she would decide to trust. Where I thought Blake would be a throwaway love rival, he turns out to have more relevance and personality than I would have thought. Everyone has hidden depths that you have to stick around to find out. View Spoiler »

I have absolutely no idea what will happen in the next book, but I do know that I hate how long I’ll have to wait to find out. The Girl from Everywhere is an absurdly good debut novel. Like, seriously how even.

Favorite Quote:

“How do you know? I had all that money from the captain.”

“Because I wasn’t born yesterday.”

“Doesn’t that depend on the map?”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif peter pan ship flying

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