Title: The Girl from Everywhere
(The Girl from Everywhere #1)
Author: Heidi Heilig
Genre: YA Fantasy / Historical Fiction
Length: 454 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publish Date: February 16, 2016
Drug Addiction, Death, Betrayal,
Piracy, Violence, Annexation,
Chinese, Arab (Persian), Hawaiian,
Wow, this book took so long for me to actually pick up but by the time I did, I couldn’t put it down. Part of it was because I got to see my island home when it was still the Kingdom of Hawaii, under the rule of King Kalakaua. It was totally different from what I grew up in, and wow. I grew up learning about the history of Hawaii, and I feel like this book helped me to appreciate my island home more than ever.
Nix. Well, she was an interesting character to say the least. Thanks to her father and Captain Slate, she grew up traveling throughout history and time, learning how to read maps and studying the history and myth of all the places they would go to and did go to. She’s smart. She’s tenacious. She’s stubborn. She does not have a good relationship with her father, who is addicted to opium and obsessed with going back to 1868 Honolulu to find Nix’s mother before she dies.
The crew of the Temptation – the time traveling ship – also consists of Kashmir, Rotgut, and Bee. All from different places and times, and some of them have been in existence on the ship longer that Nix has been born. They are a family, and it’s important because they all must trust each other with their lives in order to cross the maps.
Blake Hart is an aspiring artist living in 1884 Honolulu. He is intrigued by Nix from the moment he sees her. He shows Nix parts of Hawaii that she never knew about – not like it was her fault or anything – and showed her why someone like her father would want so badly to return to this time and place, no matter the cost.
Time traveling can be a tricky plot, but I feel like Heilig did well in this one. In this case, Nix and the crew of the Temptation travel by the use of maps. They need to use authentic maps that are hand drawn, accurate, and must be drawn in the same time depicted as the map. They will know if the map is useless because they will go back to Slate’s original time – 2016 New York City. Slate is a Navigator, and he’s the only one on the ship that knows how to travel through the margins, leading the crew and ship to their destinations. Everything that they do, and all the places that they go, is all to get back to 1868 Honolulu, to save Nix’s mother from dying, and to reunite Slate with his only love.
But if they make it back there, and change the past, will Nix cease to exist? Does her father even care?
I really liked seeing Hawaii before it lost most of its history. I know that this isn’t a perfect rendition or anything, but it was just nice to see Hawaii used as a setting but it wasn’t present day Hawaii. This book mostly focused on Honolulu, and when I was reading it, I could visualize where in downtown Honolulu we were, recognizing a lot of the streets that I would travel through when I was at university. Especially Chinatown. I missed it there so much.
I liked the little bit of history that we got to see from different areas in the world. I liked that Heilig included maps of the places that they went to in this book, so we could have an idea of what was happening and where they were on the map. Just little things like that made it enjoyable to read.
Seeing how much the Americans took advantage of the Hawaiian people and its land for their own benefit. It’s not like this wasn’t true or anything – it totally was – but seeing it from a perspective of someone that was taken away from her home island before she even had a chance to grow up there, and then the plot to overthrow the monarchy, which was a big part of the book and their time in Hawaii, was just irritating to me. Hawaii was a beautiful kingdom full of culture and promise and to have it taken away from the people for greed… maybe this should have been part of the discussion points part, but it was a part that I didn’t like.
Also, I felt like some of the pacing skipped a bit. One minute it would be about one topic, and other would be something completely different and it didn’t feel like it flowed well during this points. Also it seemed like there were some parts that were revealed to the reader, and I must have missed it because it wasn’t revealed in a way that made sense to me? Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention. I know I had to reread a few parts over and over again because I wasn’t understanding it the first time around.
Throughout the book, it’s clear that Nix and Slate do not have a good father-daughter relationship. I feel like part of it is because of his addiction to opium as well as his obsession with trying to get back to Nix’s mother. He left her for a time, and by the time he came back, she was dead but Nix was born, probably a year old. He took little Nix away from her home, and from that point he sailed across the seas and times searching for the map to bring him back to her alive, before she died. So he could save her from dying. Since they could never use the same map twice – could never go back to where they have been – he couldn’t just use the map he used before to go to her. Logic, and all.
But anyway, Nix would either refer to her father as Slate or Captain. Rarely did she call him dad, and she really didn’t know whether or not he cared about what would happen to her if he ever made it to Honolulu when he wanted to. It’s easy to see why Nix never allowed herself to truly love her father when she couldn’t tell if he loved her. He used her to get what he wanted, and didn’t care about the consequences for anyone but himself.
More on my point above… well I guess not so much because I feel like I talked about it enough. Just… how much would you be willing to sacrifice for one person, if it meant losing the person you stole away from their home and family before they even realized it? Would you really be okay with only caring about yourself when this person is the one that has gotten everything you wanted and desired despite putting themselves in mortal danger each time?
Would you even realize what you were sacrificing before it’s too late?
I think Nix is one of my newest protagonists that I like, and I want her to succeed in her adventures. She’s certainly knowledgeable and can run and fight if the need arises. I really just want her to be happy for once, not thinking about whether or not she’s going to blink out of existence. You know? This was one of the few time traveling books that I enjoyed, and I’m glad I gave it a chance.