I received this book for free from Publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
Series: The Girl from Everywhere #1
Published by Greenwillow Books on February 16th, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Time Travel
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
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.
Time travel. Those are magic words to me. Words to which I perk up and think, “OH YES PLEASE.” Throw in some pirate-y shenanigans and how on earth was I supposed to resist this book? Well, maybe I’ll take more care in the future. The Girl from Everywhere wasn’t exactly what I was hoping it would be.
The Girl from Everywhere tells the story of Nix, a sixteen-year-old girl on a ship that travels through time. Her father, the captain, is trying to find his way back to her mother in Hawaii, 1868, but to get there he needs to get the right map… which involves some thievery and some shenanigans. How cool does that sound, right? Right? Eh. Okay.
I am a character reader, so I do have to say it: I felt zero connection to these characters. Nix had practically no personality. No voice. She wasn’t completely cardboard, but there was nothing there to entice me. Her father seemed like a druggie fool that I couldn’t imagine wanting to be around. Her two love interests (yes, hello triangle) gave me basically zero feels. The feels should have been there. But they weren’t. The romance almost felt forced. I didn’t actively dislike anyone or anything but it was all. so. average.
I have some problems with the time travel in this book. Time travel, to me, is a science fiction concept that definitely needs some logical reasoning behind it. Heilig took a more fantastical approach to it, though. And maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t care for it. You see, Nix and her father can travel anywhere they have a map to. They travel to the date when the map was completed. I was okay till there. But then. If the mapmaker believed in mythological beings or stories and incorporated them into their map, that’s the version of the world they travel to. And they always need a “fresh” map to get back to where they were before – maps are a one-time use thing. See, that’s where it lost me.
I know I’m maybe being too nitpicky right now. Time travel is not real, therefore it’s fantastical, therefore it doesn’t HAVE to make sense. By all means, let go and enjoy the story. But no. I couldn’t. Because if they need a map every time they travel somewhere, and the mapmakers’ BELIEFS are incorporated into the world they journey to, really every time they travel they’re going to a parallel universe and getting farther and farther away from the real world.
Plot-wise, it also got confusing as hell. At a certain point I honestly didn’t know where they were going anymore and how it all tied together. The bare bones are clear enough: they need to pull off a heist in exchange for the map that will finally probably get them to 1868. But there are suspicions and backstories that all get jumbled together and I no longer knew what the goal was or what their plan was to get there. Not to mention Nix’s fragile relationship with her father – one minute she wants to leave him, then she doesn’t, then she does, then HE doesn’t. It felt like I was playing catch up to this book and that’s not a cool feeling to have.
The timestreams got so jumbled that I honestly believe there may be plot holes but my brain hurt too much to try to figure it out. In particular, I’m so confused about Joss’s timestream. View Spoiler »So she was FIRST in Emperor Qin’s tomb, then Nix brought her the map to… 1886? Then in the …fire? she found a map to 1841? And there had the kid and grew old… and is gonna die there in the fire? For real? « Hide Spoiler I mean, if I read over it three times, I would probably get it. But words cannot describe how badly I don’t want to do that.
The longer I think about it, the more frustrated I become. In theory, The Girl from Everywhere is an okay book – maybe even a good book, but it just confused me. And that alone I could maybe handle if it weren’t for the fact that I had such a low to middling connection to the characters that I did not for a second feel like putting in the mental effort to figure this book out. It actually gave me a headache. It actually made me think, “I don’t get it, but ugh, whatever, just keep reading and I’ll be done with it eventually.”