Title: The Girl From Everywhere
Author: Heidi Heilig
Publication: February 16th 2016 by Greenwillow Books
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Time Travel, Historical Fiction
Pages: 464 pages
Format: Library book
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.
Or she could disappear.
Shelf it on Goodreads
So here’s the alphabetical run down:
I love the cast of characters in TGFE. I was worried at the beginning of the book because it took me a while (about 75 pages) to get into Nix’s character, but she grew on me, and I grew to love her. Nix grew up on her father’s ship, the Temptation, and doesn’t know life outside of sailing and adventure and Navigation (which is how they time travel). I really enjoyed that Nix is smart (she loves to read and learn about the places they travel) and adventurous and independent, while you could still feel her need to be loved and accepted by her father. The relationship between Nix and her father is one of the main themes of the book.
So moving on to him, Captain Slate… I honestly picture a Steven Tyler-esque character: thin, covered in tattoos, occasionally on drugs. There are some mature themes in this book, one being Slate’s opium addiction. His obsession with finding the map back to 1868 Honolulu is so complete and all consuming that you really begin to understand his addictive personality and the lengths to which he’s willing to go to get the map. The way that Nix and Slate’s relationship changes throughout the book is so believable and really well done.
Kashmir (Kash) is the best part about the whole book. He is a thief who came aboard the Temptation on one of their trips to “the land from One Thousand and One Nights” as stated by the summary. He is so charming, always the perfect comic relief, has the best one liners and is generally just the character overflowing with personality.
None of the characters, the rest of the ship’s crew or the people they meet on Oahu, are lacking in characterization. I felt like I really knew each character by the end of the book.
This cover is beautiful. I had the book in my possession for about two weeks before I even noticed the reflection of Nix’s eyes in the water, such a cool detail. I love the simplicity of the black background and the white block lettered title.
First of all, this book has been compared to Passenger numerous times, I assume for their shared themes of time travel and pirate ships. Having read both books within the span of three weeks, I can tell you confidently that they are quite different stories. I won’t go into detail about the differences between the two, but TGFE came out on top for me, and I think it had mostly to do with the writing style.
Heilig does an amazing job coming up with an original concept for time travel. Using a very detailed map of specific place and time in history, a Navigator can sail anywhere, including mythical places, as long as the map maker believes that the place exists. This is my favorite detail in the entire book, the fantasy element isn’t contained in just time travel itself, but includes myths and fairytales and creatures that should not exist and things like bottomless bags. And all of these things can be brought aboard the Temptation and still exist there when they leave that location… so stinkin’ cool!!!
In a previous review (for The Siren) I mentioned that I had trouble believing the fantasy element: “I feel like in order to be a good fantasy novel, to really sell me on the world you have created, the story needs to be so compelling that I’m willing to suspend my own reality for the time that I spend reading it.” TGFE did that in the best possible way. Not only was I able to suspend my reality while I was reading it, I got completely lost in 1884 Honolulu and had a really hard time returning to 2016 when I finished it.
My only complaint about this book was that the last 100-150 pages were so complex that I feel like I missed something. There is a bit of a “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” concept in the time travel. There are characters who know their fates based on something that will happen, but at the same time already has happened. But honestly, it’s something that just makes me want to start back at the beginning and read the book all over again to make sure I figure out the whole puzzle. So it’s not really a complaint I guess. 😉
“You know, if I had your morals, I could solve all my problems.”He shrugged one shoulder and slipped the watch back into his pocket. “If I had your problems, I could afford to have better morals.”
I rolled my eyes. “You’re blocking the view.”“I am the view, amira,” he said, framing himself with his hands – his crisp line shirt, his careless hair – then laughed.
“Farmers may rise to roosters, but sailors rise to swearing.”
After much deliberation, I decided that I just have to give this one five hearts. Although it took me a bit to get into the story, I was absolutely blown away by the end.