Alice's Reviews > The Girl from Everywhere

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
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it was ok
bookshelves: potential-but-bad-execution, reviewed

What the hell did I just read? Interesting concept. Lackluster everything else with a few good sprinkles of Kashmir, the best character in this whole damn ordeal.

I would have enjoyed this book if the writing were something different. The concept of a time-traveling ship and alternate realities based on cartography was very interesting as a premise. One of the main detractors of my enjoyment for this book was the narration from Nix. Heilig seems to be going for a writing style where everything is implied through dialogue. While some of her dialogue is pretty great, I had to read a passage multiple times to make sure I was picking up what Heilig was putting down. The passages without dialogue were hard to get through even on skim-mode. I had to rely on YA recaps to help me figure out what was going on. I could infer what happened and why, but I was never 100% sure.

Here's another review that describes the issue I had pretty well with the writing: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Nix's narration was uninspiring and underwhelming. Objectively, I suppose there is supposed to be an arc of her deciding whether to stay on the Temptation or not, but I was never convinced that she would actually leave the ship for Blake of all people. I would have bought her relationship with her dad more if 1) she stopped refering him with 3 separate titles: dad/father, captain and Slate; 2) if her father didn't talk like a fucking child all the time "Nixie this Nixie that" 3) and also Slate just didn't feel like someone who took Nix under his wing for 16 years.

Going onto Blake. He was the most shoe-horned love interest I've read in recent times. I know Kashmir is the only viable way to go. The thing is, if the writing were different, I would have found Blake compelling in theory. In practice, I felt he didn't need to be here. Kashmir, on the other hand was THE BEST CHARACTER. It's a shame we don't get anything in his perspective because it would have been VASTLY more interesting than anything from Nix. If there is one character with anything resembling depth, it would be this guy. From the dialogue, it's implied there's a lot more going on under the surface than a charming thief. He seen some shit. He also has the most memorable quotes of any character. His friendship with Nix was nice, but from the very start I thought they were dating when they really weren't LOL.

I'm still not sure about how the Joss timeline works (I had to use YA recaps again to make sure!) It was a nice touch to include a bit of Chinese numerology into this story. I'm not sure how five/wu sounds like me/I (wo/我) in Chinese. Which dialect if at all??? I was scrambling on wikitionary to look up different pronounciations of the pronoun "I" in Chinese languages because I didn't think that was the case in Mandarin or Cantonese. I have definitely heard five (wu/五) sounding like wu (无/無) or "not" as Joss says. But Wu and Wo don't sound alike at all. They have completely different vowels. That's some shakey transliteration.

Also if Joss's from the 200's BC when Qin Shi Huang was buried, I'd struggle to make sense of how she adapted from an ancient Chinese language to a more modern language in the 1880s Hawaii. It's unclear what kind of Chinese the book is referring to because there's no reference of which Chinese they use with Joss. *shrugs* Plus Nix using Ni hao in an ancient Chinese tomb is funny to me. Modern Mandarin wasn't a thing in the 200s BC, was it? But in the end a nice touch to include something from my family's hometown Xi'an, even if I don't get how linguistics in this book are so streamlined. Then again, does anybody really know what ancient Chinese languages sounded like lmao.

It's also an interesting touch that this book takes place in Hawaii in the 1880s. It's not really a setting you see often in YA. They do mention the political situation in the kingdom of Hawaii and the threat of future annexation. I also liked how they poked fun at Victorians a bit too. The added diversity of the ship crew isn't done in a ham-fisted way like *wink wink look at how clever and inclusive I'm being*. The characters simply just ARE what they are. Bless Heidi Heilig for at least doing that. I guess you could argue the other way that why have "diversity" at all if you don't make it relevant to the story and characters, but I'd say this never felt like a "I added this, I've checked all the boxes, now I can stop trying" situation either. For Nix in particular it's not as if she were raised by her Chinese side of the family.

So there it is, 2 stars. 1 for the concept, another for Kashmir. I own both this and the sequel, so it seems like a waste not to read the next one if only for Kashmir.
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Reading Progress

February 17, 2018 – Shelved
February 17, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
April 27, 2018 – Started Reading
April 27, 2018 –
page 5
1.08%
May 6, 2018 –
page 22
4.74% "So is the captain her dad or not"
May 11, 2018 –
page 32
6.9% "Ah Ok so the captain IS her dad."
May 15, 2018 –
page 39
8.41% "idk if it's because of time travel, but things are so hard to keep track of so early on with the writing."
May 15, 2018 –
page 50
10.78%
May 15, 2018 –
page 50
10.78% "Is it me or does the captain not speak like an adult"
May 15, 2018 –
page 53
11.42% "Nix alternates between calling her dad "dad" and Slate. Can Nix pick one?? I went 50 pages thinking they were two different people."
May 15, 2018 –
page 61
13.15%
May 15, 2018 –
page 68
14.66% "I wish Nix could just pick which term she wants to use for her father. now we have "my father", "Slate" and "captain.""
May 15, 2018 –
page 76
16.38% "Oh what I thought Kashmir and Nix were dating."
May 15, 2018 –
page 86
18.94%
May 15, 2018 –
page 100
21.55% "Nix is so boring gaaaaaaahhhh"
May 15, 2018 –
page 101
22.25% "The “my dead wife made me a better person so I’ve been trying for 16 years to revive her through time travel” is getting in my nerves"
May 16, 2018 –
page 116
25.0% "Love interest #2: spotted."
May 16, 2018 –
page 132
28.45% "Shakes Nix. Why are you so boring"
May 16, 2018 –
page 152
32.76%
May 16, 2018 –
page 153
32.97% "I like Kashmir at least."
May 16, 2018 –
page 172
37.07%
May 16, 2018 –
page 174
37.5% "Nix: You know, Kipling was a horrible racist.
Kashmir: Well, I stole the book, so he wasn't paid. Plus this version was published in the 1960s. He's long dead.
IS THIS SUPPOSED TO BE COMMENTARY? LMAO"
May 16, 2018 –
page 176
37.93% "It's like I'm trying to keep up with Gilmore Girl references and I can't"
May 16, 2018 –
page 180
39.65% "LMAO KASHMIR. I'm surprised that they aren't actually a couple tho? This is pushing the envelope"
May 16, 2018 –
page 190
40.95% "Thank god this is picking up"
May 16, 2018 –
page 216
46.55% "What's happened so far: they plan to steal a map.
That's it."
May 16, 2018 –
page 222
47.84% "idk I'm not a big fan of finding maps to be the main conflict of this book"
May 16, 2018 –
page 235
50.65% "Again, Kashmir is great. The dialogue's good. The rest I can skim along."
May 16, 2018 –
page 260
56.03% "WELL I COULD HAVE PREDICTED *THAT*. I actually did I can't believe I was right I was joking when I thought Mrs Hart had a thing for Kash."
May 16, 2018 –
page 272
59.91% "Bye Blake"
May 16, 2018 –
page 277
59.7% "Why is Nix so lacking in the brain department"
May 16, 2018 –
page 290
62.5% "I find it hard to believe Blake is even a contender to be a reason for Nix to leave the ship. This is so shoehorned in lmao"
May 16, 2018 –
page 293
63.15% "Did Nix just reference everything from my world literature class lol. Even Grendel."
May 16, 2018 –
page 296
63.79% "I'm sorry this whole thing with Nix wanting to get off the boat doesn't make sense because she doesn't even have a game plan or obvious desire to get out other than be rid of her dad's childish ass antics"
May 17, 2018 –
page 332
71.55% "I wish Kash were the main character LOL"
May 17, 2018 –
page 352
75.86% "Ok I like how Heilig included Chinese numerology into this but in what dialect does "wu" sound like I/me? Do you mean "我"??? Am I being stupid or does this not line up. Five and 无 makes sense but 我??? IDK IDK."
May 17, 2018 –
page 356
76.72% "You bet I'm searching on wikitionary and other sites to see if the five and "me" thing is true I'm going down the numerology rabbit hole"
May 17, 2018 –
page 357
76.94% "what if I spent all this time to research the numerology and there's a footnote in the back i should just check first"
May 17, 2018 –
page 357
76.94% "Don't get me wrong, the terra cotta army is where my ancestral home is. I'm glad it's included but the "wu" and I/me thing made me scratch my head and this book is Anachronism the Novel I shouldn't think too much about it."
May 17, 2018 –
page 359
77.37% "Ok Nix, I don't think they had modern mandarin in 200 BC. I'm already trippping over modern dialects I don't want to trip over Ancient Chinese language"
May 17, 2018 –
page 374
80.6% "WAS THAT SUPPOSED TO BE AN INTRIGUING REVEAL? That's some convoluted time logic"
May 17, 2018 –
page 390
84.05% ""Paradise is a promise no god bothers to keep." KASHMIR IS THE BEST CHARACTER. I wish we had more lines like this."
May 18, 2018 –
page 399
85.99% "Kash: rips open shirt
Kash: reveals he's wearing kevlar
The man thinks ahead for the mission I respect that."
May 18, 2018 –
page 409
88.15% "Bland Blake: You expected honor among thieves
Kash: It's more common than honor among gentlemen.

lmao"
May 18, 2018 –
page 424
91.38% "Ugh there seems to be no resolution to this love polygon"
May 18, 2018 – Shelved as: potential-but-bad-execution
May 18, 2018 – Finished Reading
May 20, 2018 – Shelved as: reviewed

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