100-Character Breakdown: A vivid, emotional, and diverse novel about time travel, myth, and family.
Genre: Fantasy, young adult, historical fiction, sci-fi, diverse lit
Publisher: Greenwillow Books (February 2016)
This debut novel from Heidi Heilig beautifully stretches across time and myth. The Girl From Everywhere is anchored by its cast of deeply complex characters, full of depth in their personal histories and motives. Nix has spent her 16 years of life aboard The Temptation, traveling alongside her father and the crew through the fabric of time and myth. His skill in Navigation allows him to travel to any place and time, as long as he has a map of the location. But when her father finds the map that can take him back to 1868 Honolulu, when Nix was born and her mother died in childbirth, Nix’s life hangs in the balance. Nix isn’t sure how saving her mother will affect her entire existence, her entire life.
Heilig’s novel is truly elegant, filled with vivid, tangible descriptions of Hawaii’s paradise and the other locations the crew visits. But the most profound part of this novel is the depth of the characters. Nix’s father Slate is incredibly flawed, desperate to save his wife and unsure just how far he’ll go to do it—even if it means risking his daughter’s life. And Nix can’t quite decide if she wants to help him or herself; she’s torn between leaving the only life she’s known or risking destroying it. The rest of the crew rounds out the rather diverse cast; one of the most interesting characters is Kashmir, a Persian thief torn from One Thousand and One Nights. His character helps anchor the mythical side of Navigation in the novel, and, like the other characters, he has depth of his own.
Then there’s Heilig’s system of Navigation—the ability to not only time travel, but also to visit lands of myth and legend—which brings so much originality to her novel. The possibilities are essentially endless, and Heilig’s skill in enlivening these locations makes it even more exciting. There are times when this system almost becomes confusing, which can be frustrating, but it also helps readers empathize with Nix, who has no idea how her life is about to change.
The Temptation is filled to the brim with emotion, complexity, and imagination. This novel deftly mixes romance, action, adventure, and morality: The Girl from Everywhere is a sweeping debut that will leave readers eager for the sequel.