The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Title: The Girl from Everywhere
Author: Heidi Heilig
Series: The Girl from Everywhere #1
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Source: eARC obtained from Publisher in exchange for an honest review (thanks HarperCollins!)

Summary from Goodreads:
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, 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.

In The Girl from Everywhere, Heidi Heilig blends fantasy, history, and a modern sensibility with witty, fast-paced dialogue, breathless adventure, and enchanting romance.


The Girl from Everywhere has a lot going for it. The premise - being able to navigate through time using maps as a gateway - was wildly exciting and the fact that they did so on a pirate ship of sorts only added to the nostalgia. And I LOVED the fantastical piece where they could travel to long lost places and time to collect things straight out of myths and legends - like fire salamanders and a bottomless bag for example. The ending really capitalized on this and I highly suggest reading the Author's Note to learn about the inspiration behind certain elements of the story. It was really fascinating. I was enthralled by the whole concept and loved when Heilig revealed more about the workings of time-travel and navigating - like why certain maps didn't work and the notion of fate.  It kind of blew my mind (as the ins and outs of time-traveling usually do).

I thought the plot was a solid one - Nix's father is searching for a very specific map so that he can go back and save Nix's mother but Nix worries that if he succeeds, he will erase her past. Most of their adventures to date have been a means to this end with Nix helping him because she doesn't know how to say no. But along the way they are manipulated into agreeing to a very dangerous mission - so most of this book actually takes place in 1868 Honolulu. We get bits and pieces of what island life was like back then but this was something I wish was more pronounced since I didn't really feel like I was in 1868 Honolulu. The ending was exciting but also a little rushed and disjointed at times. But I don't know if my lack of enthusiam had something to do with my reading experience since by that point I was somewhat frustrated with the story...

I kind of struggled with the characters in this book. Nix's father infuriated me. For most of the story, he was a pretty terrible father in his single-minded pursuit of his long lost love and treated his daughter pretty poorly. And Nix frustrated me for allowing him to use her so easily, especially when she did have bargaining power and her life was on the line. She also frustrated me in her choice of love interests. She has a loyal and witty friend pining over her, but instead she gives her attention to this hot-and-cold island boy who in my mind, hasn't earned her affection. All of these wrongs were righted in the end so my frustration was gone by the time I finished but it didn't erase how I felt while reading 70% of the book and my mindset going into the ending.

Because I had my ups and downs with the characters, I didn't love this book. But I still easily liked it. And I can see why so many do love this book, especially since my feelings are a very individual experience and the ending does make up for a lot. And again, the concept was great and the story holds a lot of potential. I am curious to see what adventure the next book in this series brings. I definitely was not expecting that kind of ending!

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