Format: E-Galley, 464 pages
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time traveler. 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.
"It was the kind of August day that hinted at monsoons, and the year was 1774, though not for very much longer."
The Girl From Everywhere is Heidi Heilig's debut teen fantasy duology. The story follows 16-year old protagonist Nix Song as she and the crew of the Temptation sweep across the globe, and across various centuries looking for a way back to 1868 Honolulu. The crews adventures take them from modern-day New York City to 19th-century Hawaii to places of myth and legend. Nix's father Slate is looking for a specific map to return to 1868 Honolulu. But, what happens to Nix once he changes history?
I love the idea of using maps to travel, or as Heilig calls it, Navigation. Slate, as well as Nix, has the ability to take the ship and crew to points in history where they can find riches, and fantastical animals. Nix is a realistic character which means that she has angst, and anger issues. Comes with the territory of knowing that her father intends on returning to 1868 Honolulu. Nix knows that the only way her father will ever be happy, will be if he tries to save the love of his life, and Nix's mother. But, he is also gambling with Nix's very existence. This really sets Nix off on a path to learn all she can about maps, about Navigation, and finding a path of her own.
The father/daughter dynamic is hard to talk about without spoiling a whole lot. Slate's actions cause a rift between the two which takes some time and major action plots to finally resolve. Who can blame Nix when her entire future may be at jeopardy? Then there is the action, and the adventure, and the traveling to the Qing Dynasty where the Nix leads the crew to his Terra Cotta Warriors.
I love that this story is fixed, mostly, on 19th century Hawaii. This was an interesting time for the Kingdom of Hawaii which the author does a remarkable of capturing. I love that the author was born in Hawaii, thus you actually get the feeling as though you are there in person. I love the attention to detail, the ability to put a reader there with very descriptive world building. I am eager to read the sequel, and final installment in this duology. There is so many avenues for the author to explore, and we haven't even had a realistic romantic moment yet!
People have been shouting for diversity in Young Adult novels. Well, people, pay attention! The protagonist is half-Chinese on her mother's side. Her best friend, Kashmir, is Persian and such an extraordinary fun character to read about. Bee is from North Africa, and had a love interest with another woman. And, Rotgut is a former monk, who is now the ships cook. Stuff that in your pipe and smoke it!