Being on the Hot Key bloggers book list is pretty awesome, because it means I get the chance to read super books like this one which I might not have otherwise picked up on my own.
The Girl From Everywhere is the kind of book that I never knew I wanted – time-travelling pirates! Hawaii! Terracotta soldiers! Pearl-eating dragons! These are not things I would put on my wishlist for a really excellent book, but The Girl From Everywhere has ALL of those things and it was excellent.
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.
I loved everything about this book. I don’t know exactly what it was – I think it was a combination of the wonderful writing style, the evocative descriptions of lush Hawaii, the clearly carefully researched use of multiple different types of mythology, the innovative use of time-travel, the intricately woven plot with a mixture of reveals that I saw and didn’t see coming, and a tiny dragon that eats pearls.
Nix, the main character, is a beautifully written sixteen-year-old girl struggling with feelings of belonging and wanting to be acknowledged by her father, things which any teenage girl can relate to, but set against the backdrop of a mighty heist and a web of intrigue that drew me in like a spider into her web. I devoured this book, and enjoyed every minute of it.
The author, Heidi Heilig, grew up in Hawaii, and it’s clear from her writing that she loves where she’s from. I felt like I was exploring the island with her, learning parts of its hidden beauty and struggling with the class divide between the native Hawaiians and the settlers and their new way of life. I finished the book with an aching sense of longing to go to Hawaii (it’s going on my bucket list) and a hunger for the sequel, which is due to be published in 2017.
This book has jumped right onto my favourites list, and is one which I can see myself reading and re-reading regularly – even if only to keep myself from going mad while I wait for the sequel!