A large wave with human eyes looking through and a small ship

About the Book

Title: The Girl From Everywhere (The Girl From Everywhere #1)
Published: 2016

Cover Story: Private Eyes
BFF Charm: Yay
Talky Talk: Modern History
Bonus Factors: Diversity, Alternate History
Anti-Bonus Factor: Awful Grownup
Relationship Status: Look Me Up

Cover Story: Private Eyes

They’re watching you. They see your eve-ry move …

I really like everything about this cover—the strong text, the colors of the ship and the wave, the overall simplicity—other than the eyes in the wave. (Also, sorry not sorry for that earworm, but I can’t get it out of my head, and I need someone to share this with me. *clapclap*)

The Deal:

It’s not unheard for people to become world travelers before the age of 17. However, Nixie “Nix” Song’s case is slightly different: in additional to having traveled the world with her father, Slate, and the crew of the ship The Temptation, Nix has also traveled through time, thanks to Slate’s ability to Navigate. Using hand drawn maps, Slate can move The Temptation from one time period to another, even into fantastical worlds that shouldn’t really exist.

It’s a good life, albeit an unusual one, but there’s an underlying need to Slate’s Navigation—to get back to 1868 Honolulu, Hawaii before Nix’s mother died—that causes Nix unending stress. If they travel to a point earlier in her timeline, will she disappear completely?

BFF Charm: Yay

Yay BFF Charm

It would be difficult to be friends with Nix, if I wasn’t a member of her crew, considering that she is never sure where/when they’ll go. But I’d certainly be game to try, because she seems like she’d be a good one. She’s super intelligent, both book-wise and street-wise, and can read between the lines in a lot of situations. Plus, she might be able to Navigate, too (after Slate finally gives in to her requests and teaches her), and that would be an unforgettable experience.

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Nix finds herself having feelings for a couple of guys over the course of the book, but even when they’re supposed to be Big Feelings, I never really felt the swoon.

Talky Talk: Modern History

Although much of The Girl From Everywhere takes place in late 1800s Honolulu, reading it from Nix’s perspective puts a modern colorization on the story—her being a world- and time-traveler gives her a much more modern viewpoint than she might have had had she grown up in the time period she was born into. Nix finds herself thinking, more than once, about how to behave and what she can say that’s appropriate for the time period. (Side note: I’d totally screw up, and often, trying to keep all that straight in my head.) I appreciate that Heidi Heilig actually wrote scenes like this; it certainly made Nix seem much more real, knowing that she wasn’t infalliable.

The Girl From Everywhere’s plot is a unique and engaging idea, and I enjoyed the characters and world building well-enough, but I often found myself wanting more. I wanted to dive deeper into their emotions and experiences, and get lost in their stories and travels. This book felt very much like an origin story; hopefully the subsequent book(s)—yes, it’s a #1—will have a bit more substance.

Bonus Factor: Diversity

Faces of all different races, ethnicities and genders.

As one might expect from a time-traveling story, the other members of Slate and Nix’s crew are from a variety of times and cultural backgrounds. One is a former monk, one is a thief straight out of One Thousand and One Nights, one is a former cattle rancher from North Africa who has a “ghost wife” (and is female herself). Nix is also half-Asian, on her mother’s side. Despite all of their differences, the crew is one big (mostly) happy family.

Bonus Factor: Alternate History

President Truman holding a newspaper incorrectly declaring Dewey as the winner of the 1948 election

I love books with plots that are adjacent to what actually happened in history, and play with unusual or mysterious true stories. In the Author’s Note at the end of the book, Heilig outlines some of the history she played with in the plot of The Girl From Everywhere, and it’s a fascinating (if a little short) addition to the plot.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Awful Grownup

Boxtrolls characters

Nix spends much of The Girl From Everywhere in a snit over her father’s actions, decisions, and the way he treats her. She’s not wrong to do so—he’s kind of a terrible father. But much of their struggles stem from not sitting down and talking about things, which is why I wouldn’t go so far as to give him a Dan Scott Award.

Relationship Status: Look Me Up

Next time you’re in my ZIP code—and time zone—Book, look me up. I’d love to hear more about your adventures, and see the items you’ve picked up along the way, but I’m not quite willing to drop everything and go with you just yet.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Greenwillow Books, but got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. The Girl From Everywhere is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.