The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

the-girl-from-everywhereBibliographic Information:

  • Publisher, Date: Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2016
  • Edition: First
  • Description: 454 pages; map; 22 cm
  • Interest Level: YA
  • Summary: Nix’s life began in Honolulu in 1868. Since then she has traveled to mythic Scandinavia, a land from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, modern-day New York City, and many more places both real and imagined. As long as he has a map, Nix’s father can sail his ship, The Temptation, to any place, any time. But now he’s uncovered the one map he’s always sought—1868 Honolulu, before Nix’s mother died in childbirth. Nix’s life—her entire existence—is at stake. No one knows what will happen if her father changes the past. It could erase Nix’s future, her dreams, her adventures . . . her connection with the charming Persian thief, Kash, who’s been part of their crew for two years. If Nix helps her father reunite with the love of his life, it will cost her her own.  Retrieved from https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062380753/the-girl-from-everywhere
  • ISBN: 978-0-06-238075-3
  • Subjects:
    • Time Travel – Fiction
    • Pirates – Fiction
    • Fantasy & Mythology – Fiction
    • Father/daughter relationships – Fiction

Reader’s Annotation: He loved her, my mother, more than anything in the world.  To get her back why wouldn’t he sacrifice me?

Plot Summary: Nix is a time traveler and the daughter of a time traveler.  Born in Hawaii in 1868 to a Chinese mother and a 20th century time traveler, she has sailed aboard her father’s ship from one port and one time to another her entire life.  Her father, a man of many weakness, uses special maps to chart their movement from place to place and time to time, where they plunder and collect items they can use to obtain the greatest map of all: a map that will take him back to the moment before Nix’s mother dies giving birth to her and that will allow him to be restored to the love of his life.  He seeks this obsessively even if finding it would mean losing Nix, his only child since changing the past might me she would never exist, at least not as she is.  Nix is torn by a desire to help him and a desire to be free of his quest.  She is also torn by her attraction to a young man in Hawaii and a friend she has known for many years who works on the time traveling ship.  Now the map lies within their reach if they can twist the strands of time in their favor but will her father really pay the price to get back one loved one at the cost of another?

Critical Evaluation:  Nix is a very interesting character; born in one century but living in many.  She is also character who has seen things that should exist as the maps can take them not just to other times and places but to other realities where myths and magic really do exist.  But she feels like a 20th century teenager, which makes her believable because she was raised by a 20th century man and spent time in that century herself.  Regrettably of the various characters hers is the only one that feels fully developed and believable.  Her father is too much the selfish, hippy-type who is willing to do anything and sacrifice anyone to get what he wants to be either likeable or even interesting.  How such a man learned to navigate through time is both unexplained and unbelievable considering how much time he was either intoxicated or high.  Her friend Kashmir is also a bit underdeveloped but definitely more interesting and admirable than her father.  The other characters – two shipmates and a love interest – are equally shallow and vague.  Despite these failings regarding character development, the story is unique and intriguing.  The idea of using hand-drawn maps to move from one time to another is fascinating and has tremendous potential.  As this is her first novel, I fully expect her to correct any characterization flaws in future works.

Author’s Brief Bio: Heidi grew up in Hawaii where she rode horses and raised peacocks, and then she moved to New York City and grew up even more, as one tends to do. Her favorite thing, outside of writing, is travel, and she has haggled for rugs in Morocco, hiked the trails of the Ko’olau Valley, and huddled in a tent in Africa while lions roared in the dark.

She holds an MFA from New York University in Musical Theatre Writing, of all things, and she’s written books and lyrics for shows including The Time Travelers Convention, Under Construction, and The Hole. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, her son, and their pet snake. Retrieved from http://www.heidiheilig.com/about-heidi/

Genre Designation: Fantasy

Possible Curriculum Links:

  • History / American / Hawaiian
  • Pirates
  • Hawaiian/ Polynesian culture and mythology
  • Chinese history and mythology
  • Mythology

Book Talk Ideas: Where would you go if you could travel in time?

Materials Relating to Potential Challenges:

Reviews:

Why this book was selected.  I have always been intrigued by time travel stories and this one was unique to say the least.  It is an excellent addition for any collection.

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