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.
Description taken from Goodreads.
The one thing that remained true throughout this entire story was how much I admired Heidi Heilig’s writing. It’s gorgeous without being preachy or contrived. Unfortunately, the writing infuriated me at the same time that I loved. It remained beautiful, like it didn’t know that it was going way too far.
Because, unfortunately, this book was muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuch longer than it needed to be.
The pacing and plotting in the first half of the story were perfect. I loved getting to know Nix and her father’s ragtag crew of pirates. Now that I think about it, I don’t remember the book mentioning age, but the crew seemed to be, in general, made up of adults. I appreciated that. There was no adult-hating in this story, and there was no Disappearing Parent Syndrome.
Things really got thrown off the tracks when it came to the romance and the second half of the story. Don’t ask me what happened. All I can say is, I appreciate and, occasionally, enjoy a good love triangle. This is not a good love triangle.
The romance unhinged the pacing completely. It threw off the entire story, and it made me want to stop reading on occasion. Because here we are, and we have this amazingly cool best friend named Kashmir. WHAT WAS SO WRONG WITH KASH? Why couldn’t he be allowed to be happy? Nix genuinely does care about him, but she plays with his feelings in her attempt to figure out how she feels about another boy.
Granted, the other boy did matter to the plot. His relationship with Nix changes a few of the things in the plot, and it actually surprised me in the end. Due to that, I do feel like his appearance in the book was necessary, but I never grew attached to him. In the end, I appreciated him more than I actually liked him.
Broken down realistically, the first half of this story is about a lovable pirate crew with a captain who can travel across the world and bend time with a single map.
The second half of this story (and by second half, I really mean last 2/3) is about a pirate captain trying to get back to the woman he loves and willing to do anything to get the map that will allow him to go there. It’s a lot more boring than it sounds and ends up going around in circles. I did like the politics and mystery behind it. I also loved the fact that it was based off a true story, but I wanted to love more it more than I actually did.
That being said, the writing and most of the characters were spot on. They were real, beautiful, and perfect for this story. The plot and pacing were near-misses for me.
What really saved this story was the world-building. Never once did I feel like Heilig failed to capture the character or the history of the places that they visited. There was nothing lacking from her characterizations of place, and that was really important to me going into The Girl From Everywhere.
All in all, not a bad read. I feel like it was drawn out too much, and that was its fatal flaw. If it had been a little bit shorter and all the characters were a little tighter, then I might’ve gotten everything I wanted out of this story. In the end, it fell short, but I would still recommend it. 2.5 stars.
Series: The Girl From Everywhere #1