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The Girl from Everywhere Paperback – February 7, 2017
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“One of my absolute favourite reads of 2016, Heidi Heilig’s debut captured me completely from the first page. A lushly written time-traveling adventure with an imaginative magical twist, real heart and real heartbreak, and a major dash of swoon.” (Alwyn Hamilton, author of Rebel of the Sands)
“A skillful mashup of science fiction and eclectic mythology, enlivened by vivid sensory detail and moments of emotional and philosophical depth. …A nonstop time-travel romp.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“With time travel, fantasy, Hawaiian history, mythology, cute animals, and a feisty female protagonist, romance and fantasy readers will find much to enjoy.” (Booklist)
“[A] time-travel adventure…Heilig’s writing is richly immersive, and a mature exploration of complicated love, both familial and romantic, underlies the story. A riveting and far-reaching fantasy that crosses seamlessly across the centuries, posing questions about fate, loyalty, and belonging.” (Publishers Weekly)
“This thrilling swashbuckler-steeped in history, myth, and legend-finds a solid anchor in its colorful characters. …Fascinating, thought-provoking and wonderfully imagined, The Girl From Everywhere will spark the adventurer inside every reader.” (Shelf Awareness)
“The world Heilig has built is a creative blend of actual history and fantasy elements grounded in ancient and modern myths. Her novel is simultaneously an adventure story, a love triangle, and a meditation on big topics like the idea of home and the tension between fate and free will.” (BookPage)
“Heilig presents a dizzying array of intermeshed events, dates, and maps. The plot is rooted in actual Hawaiian history, and redolent with realistic details and Hawaiian folklore. …The reader may ultimately be surprised at how smoothly the fantastical elements here mesh with the real.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
“This debut catapults delightfully from one map to the next, offering a fresh and captivating approach to time travel.” (NPR Books)
“A truly exciting book, brimming with adventure, history, and sinuous potential. … “The Girl from Everywhere” is a bewilderingly good book. …Heidi Heilig is one to watch.” (Christian Science Monitor)
From the Inside Flap
The one thing she could never buy was more time.
Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father's ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination. With the right map, her father 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. But the end looms closer every day.
Her father is obsessed with obtaining a map of Honolulu that can take him back to his lost love, Nix's mother. Even though 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.--BookPage
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And like with that series, reading it has sent my mind racing in so many different directions that I can barely hope to articulate my thoughts. So instead, I’ll throw open the hatch and let them spill out in any given order.
I have a huge fascination with the materiality of media, and Heilig scratched that itch hard with her incorporation of the book’s various maps. First off, each map the crew Navigates into is actually printed on the page, with an art style that matches their description in the text. Second, there are specific rules for what kinds of maps work and which ones don’t. For the sake of avoiding spoilers, I won’t list them here, but the sum effect of these rules mean that maps only work for Navigation if their creators crafted them thoughtfully and if the map reader develops a relationship with the map. I love that. It’s a perfect microcosm for how all media affect us.
The whole cast is lively, diverse, and fun, but the relationship between Nix and her father really steals the show. Heilig perfectly captures the subtleties of a dysfunctional child-parent relationship. Nix’s ultimate decision—to stay by her father or leave him—truly feels like it’s hanging in the balance right until the very end, and I think in large part that’s because of the raw reality of their relationship. They push each other away, pull back together, accept each other, reject each other, witness each other, and fail to witness each other, and the sheer messiness of it all resonates as beautifully true to life.
On a thematic level, Heilig artfully dances with topics that don’t come with many clear answers. Is love a meaningful connection between people, or a one-sided neurological glitch? Is truth an external object that we can find, or is it an internal creation that we have to nurture ourselves? Which paths in life are more important: the ones we choose ourselves or the ones that choose us? Heilig honors these tough questions by letting her characters (and by extension, the reader) explore the ambiguities and paradoxes implied. Like all the greatest authors, Heilig seems less interested in making a final “point” about any of the topics and more interested in inviting readers to think them through themselves.
In short, The Girl from Everywhere is a fun, enlightening, heart-tugging read. Go for it!
Quick & Dirty: This was an incredible, original novel that was a lot of fun to read.
Opening Sentence: It was the kind of August day that hinted at monsoons, and the year was 1774, though not for very much longer.
Nix and her father travel the globe. They are not restrained by any time, place, or even mythical regions. All they need is a map, signed and dated, to steer themselves to a brand new world. Kashmir, Nix’s best friend and possibly more, was from the early Persian empires before he was picked up by the crew. But Nix’s father, the captain, is planning a voyage that could mean danger to Nix and the only version of herself she’s ever known. She doesn’t know what will happen when they return to save her mother, who died in Honolulu in 1868. But she does know that it will change everything.
It’s finals week in San Diego, so I’ve been stressed stressed stressed. It just so happened I was brushing up on my AP World textbook when I was reading something about the early Chinese dynasties, and the ruthless ruler Qin Shingandi. For those who don’t have any background on Qin, he led a highly centralized empire that died very quickly after he did, but he was brutal and ambitious, and any scholars or writings that questioned him were burned alive. He was killed when he drank mercury, which he believed to be an elixir to mortality, but was poisoned; a tomb was built with hundreds of terra cotta soldiers, rivers running with lethal mercury, and models of his realm.
What did this little history lesson have to do with my review? Well, one, it makes me feel like I’m studying (which is definitely what I should be doing now), but also, while I was reading about this ruthless leader, he turned up in the book. Nix and the crew travel back to the time of late Qin china, and you can’t imagine how excited I was to draw parallels to my studies. It also demonstrated how well researched the book was; everything was matching what my textbook said. It was a lot of fun for me, and that really increased my reading experience tenfold, because I related to it much more. This was a random little note – believe me, I know.
Anyway, even without my fun relating it to my favorite class, this novel was a good one. The characters were well developed and had depth. My favorite was Nix’s father the captain, Slate, who had so many layers and was very intriguing. I did enjoy Kashmir, who I also related back to my studies – he came from the Persian empires and was an Arab thief before Nix’s crew picked him up. His different upbringing made him interesting as well. There seems to be a romance between Nix and him, but it was only one part of the novel, not the main focus by a long shot.
The concept of the book was also so unique. I absolutely adored the idea of traveling all of those amazing places, all with the help of a map. The book had so many different plotlines going at once, but by the end they all connected and came full circle. When it ended, I was excited to hear it was a series, because it could very well have ended as a stand alone. Rejoice! Another book of Nix and her adventures is to come!
“And I’m glad to earn my keep. I never learned to beg.” He shrugged. “Besides, liked you said, it’s for love.”
“Love?” The word was bitter as hemlock. “It’s just another addiction.”
FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of The Girl from Everywhere. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
Top international reviews
There were some disappointing realities to this story. The beginning for example, I really didn't enjoy. I felt like I'd been thrown into the adventure and worse, thrown into the relationship between Nix and her Father, which was complicated to say the least. It led me to very vocal questions such as 'Well if you hate it all that much why do you keep on doing it?'. What's worse is that Heilig wrote Nix to be very weak and desperate to please her also weak and desperate Father, despite the misery and the worry that she could never quite bring herself to vocalise and it made me roll my eyes on more than one occasion. The crew around them didn't seem to care less either. All in all, this book didn't start well, though the captivating writing style got me through it and helped me to move onto the far more impressive middle and end!
Once our band of seafaring time travellers landed in Hawaii, I found myself far more on board with what was going on. The mysterious offer put forward by a band of dangerous men that we still, even at the end, don't know much about. Madame Joss was a great addition - probably my favourite character. I even liked the love triangle, and that is a BIG compliment because I am not a fan of that trope AT ALL, but this felt more like a girl exploring her feelings about stability and home than a silly heroine who can't decide between two striking young love interests. I was rooting for Kashmir, but I liked Blake too which is again very rare. Nix got stronger as the book went on, I liked that she had her own mind but didn't flout rules for the sake of it or do anything TOO stupid. And most importantly, the best part of this book is the sheer amount of work in building the setting that Heilig has put into it. I shall certainly be reading book two!
This fascinating premise was generally delivered well. The characters visited numerous times and places "on page" and told tales of many more. And the rules seemed broadly logical and entirely internally consistent. It was definitely an enjoyable read, but it just didn't blow my away to the extent I was hoping for from the blurb and the first few pages. I love a good time travel story, but for me, the main attraction is when the concepts make your head spin - things in the past affecting things in the future that in turn affect things in the past. There was one sequence where this sort of thing was played with brilliantly, but on the whole, it was all presented a little too straightforwardly, almost linearly. In terms of places, there were some really evocative descriptions. However, I felt it lingered a bit too long in Hawaii, and all the luscious descriptions didn't make me fall quite as in love with the place as the author clearly wanted. I'd have preferred to have explored a wider range of locations.
My other concern was that there were some intriguing supporting characters, but their backstories were only hinted at. As these hints seemed to suggest they were probably more interesting than some of the main characters, I'd have liked to learn more about them and see more done with them. On the other hand, I really disliked Nix's father. Which would have been fine if he were meant to be a villain, but I think he was meant to be at least vaguely sympathetic. All credit to the author for going for a character presented in shades of grey, but for me, he just didn't quite hit the mark.
Finally, while the plot never went down a full blown love triangle route, it definitely seemed to be drifting in that direction, and I wouldn't be surprised if it went all out i the sequel. I'm not one of those people who hates all love triangles on principle - in fact, a well done one is a real guilty pleasure of mine. But firstly, the hints of one here didn't capture my imagination, and secondly, there was so much else going on here that it seemed an unnecessary distraction.
Looking back at this review, there seem to be a lot of negative points. I'd still broadly recommend this as an unusual and enjoyable read, it just didn't quite hit the heights I was hoping for.
Nix is the daughter of one such navigator on a mission to go back to the time when his wife was alive. The wife who died giving birth to Nix. So as you can imagine, going back may have a significant effect on...well Nix even existing! A risk Nix's awful father is willing to take. The dynamic between Nix and her father, Slate, is interesting and certainly has it's heart-wrenching moments; for the most part I just wanted her to push him overboard or strangle him. She's much nicer than me luckily otherwise this would be one short book!
Nix also has an amazing friend on the ship and this guy is the reason I kept my head firmly in the book - funny, witty and absolutely besotted with Nix is Kashmir. One of the most likeable characters I've come across in a long time; he fills this book with rich colours and beautiful descriptions which made everything come to life so spectacularly for me. Unfortunately his existence is put into question a few times too as Nix, Slate and the crew start meddling with time. And then there is the question of that love triangle. Not a dreadful love triangle because to me, and basically every other reader whose review I've come across, the choice seems so simple! Pick Kashmir you crazy fool! But as a reader who usually loathes love triangles, there's a warning/red flag for any similar readers out there.
The major problem I have with this book (because this has been a heavily positive review so far for a 3 star rating so there must be something up!) is that the intensity of the description in this book is so apparent that it started to become boring. I genuinely started reading this and devoured the first quarter thinking this was a book, and a series, I'd be pining over for a while - an easy 5 star read But the more I got into the nitty gritty of it, the more I was starting to think of the next book I might read. Because overly descriptive books for me, when they're not in a high fantasy setting where it can be expected, detract from the excitement I get from the plot. And so my love for The Girl From Everywhere started to dwindle and the guilt set in for not loving it.
So whilst this is an utterly fantastic book in parts, with really clever and interesting ideas and crazy beautiful, imaginative prose, I still have to admit to finding it a bit tedious towards the second half and so it's a three star rating from me.
I was intrigued by the time-travelling aspect, but I found it confusing and not well explained. Not many details were given about the 'Navigators' who can make time-travel happen and how the maps they use actually work.
I also liked the premise of the story, but found the execution not so exciting and a bit too boring. I also dislikes the sort of love triangle that develops later in the book, it felt forced and out of place.
Overall, I liked the book but there was clearly something lacking.
Good old-fashioned adventure story with a really likeable and believable 16-year-old protagonist in the lead.
I particularly loved the rules of navigation that Heilig sets out - it makes for exciting events and adventure. Truly fantastic and I can't wait to read it to my daughter once she's old enough.
A time-travelling pirate ship? Count me in right there. But there was so much more to love about this novel. Lost love, adventures through time, romance, action, myths brought to life, redemption. Plenty to keep you busy.
The story revolves around the Captain’s plot to get back to a certain date and place in history before his beloved wife died. He intends to bring back medicine that’ll help her survive, but Nix, the Captain’s daughter, isn’t sure what this’ll mean for her. Will she be erased from existence if the Captain gets his way?
Nix is a strong young woman, written as a believable and well developed, as were the main supporting characters. There’s a deep friendship with another character, Kashmir, which evolved naturally throughout the book without being overly romantic. He’s master thief, or has mastered the art of thievery, and was pulled from a fantasy map before the story began.
When Nix and the crew of The Temptation (a fantastic name for a pirate ship) arrive after following a map, they find they’ve arrived years too late. A dark force has reached out across time, a group of men who engineered their visit to help ensure Hawaii passes from self-rule to a state annexed by America. It is here the pace picks up as Nix tries to outwit the players to help ensure her own survival.
Of course a potential love triangle develops between Nix, Kashmir, and a local boy Blake, son of one of the men forcing Nix and the Captain to help them achieve their goals.
Ms Heilig has a fantastic way with words that make you feel immersed so deeply in the plot you feel like you’re actually there, be it Honolulu in the 19th century, a street market in Calcutta, 1774, or the mercury-filled tomb of Qin Shi Huang, first emperor of China.
I was fortunate to find this book after the sequel had already been published, so I’ll be picking that up soon to continue Nix’s adventure.
I was thoroughly confused about a lot of things. I did enjoy the book but I have way too many questions. Like I don't understand Nix's past and past-present relationship with her mother's friend. Also, one of the female characters in the books comes from a very distant past but had a wife?? Was that even allowed in some cultures many hundreds of years ago? Or was that a fictional world?
Despite my strong confusion, I did read the whole thing and I did enjoy it for the most part. I'll definitely have to read it again before reading the sequel. Hopefully some of my questions will be answered.
I really liked the characters Kashmir "Kash," Blake, and Slate. It's not entirely clear if there's a real love triangle between Kash, Nix, and Blake, but I don't think I'd mind one. Slate, Nix's father, is deeply obsessed with being reunited with Nix's dead mother, even though it could mean erasing Nix's existence. I hated him at times but as a character he was always interesting and engaging. I look forward to seeing what happens to them all.