Thursday, January 12, 2017

Book Review: The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Title: The Girl From Everywhere (The Girl From Everywhere #1)
Author: Heidi Heilig
Publication Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 464
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//I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review//

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he 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. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.

But the end to it all looms closer every day.

Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and 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.

Nix lives a very unique life. As long as her father has a map, he can sail his ship to any place or time, real or imagined. Can you imagine the possibilities? Traveling to anywhere in the world, visiting your favorite fictional lands. Sounds absolutely amazing.

I'll be honest...when I first read The Girl from Everywhere, I enjoyed it. Was it life-changing? No. But it was a fun, quick read that let me escape from the real world for a bit. It was well-written and a fun story. But when I took a step back and started looking at this book critically, there were a lot of places where it fell flat.

This book had so much hype around it when it first released, and I have to admit, I was really excited for it. I was so excited to travel the world (and the fictional world) with Nix and the crew of her father's ship. But unfortunately, I didn't get the adventure that I was hoping for. The majority of the book took place in Hawaii, which is an awesome setting, but not what I had been led to believe was waiting for me. There was very little time spent in other lands. There were only a couple chapters spent in India, China, and modern-day New York. We spent a lot of time in Hawaii, and although it was awesome to read about a place that isn't often discussed in YA literature, there was one very important thing missing.....the Hawaiians! I understand that the book is about the daughter of an immigrant to Hawaii, but seriously, there were barely any actual Hawaiian natives in the story. How can a book take place in one place and not include any natives to that area??? I feel like that was such a missed opportunity because Hawaii has such an interesting history and rich culture.

I didn't feel very connected to Nix as a character, but I actually really enjoyed the supporting characters. Kashmir was amazing and I would have loved to learn more about him. I would definitely read a story just dedicated to his backstory. The rag-tag crew on the ship was also made up of other people from various times, places, and fictional worlds. I wish so much that we had been able to learn more about their stories. They were a really cool group, but they weren't developed as much as they could have been.

One other thing that I found a little annoying was the magic(?) system. I personally don't like unanswered questions, so this might not bother you if you are ok with that. But there wasn't really any explanation of why Nix's father can travel via map, or how it works, or if it is even magic or something else. I would have liked to learn more about Navigators, but I never got any answers. Perhaps these questions will be addressed in the next book? I probably won't ever find out.

Honestly, if I had read this series when the second book was already published and I could marathon them, maybe I would have continued on with Nix's story. But the next book won't be out for a while and I am already starting to forget a lot of details about the book. While I enjoyed The Girl from Everywhere while I was reading it, I don't feel connected to the characters or the story and I don't think I will pick up the next book.