The Girl from Everywhere - Heidi Heilig

I'm not sure where I first came across The Girl from Everywhere, as I pick up details of books I might be interested in from all over the place online, but it had been on my wish-list for a while and then the library kindly provided...

 

The basic premise of the book is that Nix and her father are time travellers, with their particular means of travel being a ship (the old school wooden kind) that can be used to go to various different times and places as long as they have an accurate map. There are various other folks on the ship along with Nix and her father, but other than the teenage boy thief who's part of the ubiquitous YA love triangle, they're very much supporting characters.

 

When we first meet them, Nix's father is utterly obsessed with the idea of getting back to a particular date and arriving on the island of Hawaii at a time which will coincide with Nix's birth. He was away at sea when she was born and her mother subsequently disappeared, so Slate is convinced that if he can only get back in time (literally) he can change what happened. Nix, in her turn, is a bit concerned that this might mean her own history changes too and not necessarily for the better so her assistance around finding a suitable map is more than a little half-hearted. 

 

In the end, they manage to find a map of Hawaii that seems right but discover when they arrive that it was dated wrongly and they are a few years too late. Slate is dragged into a plot against the king in order to get hold of a map that might actually work this time around and Nix finds herself another prospective boyfriend. There are also gowns and dancing, not to mention some caricatures of villains. 

 

What I really liked about this book was the way that a (to me, at least) unfamiliar setting was used and that was much more interesting than any of the characters. While I usually complain about the ubiquitous love triangle, here it was very low-key and to be honest felt like it was thrown in just for the sake of it even more than usual with YA books. Nix is torn between Mr Has Always Been There and Mr Only Other Teenage Boy I Have Ever Met and neither of them are particularly three-dimensional. Had it not been for the quality of the overall writing and the historical background, I might not have even bothered to finish it.