Cindy: What if you could select a map and “navigate” to that place in the year the map was inked? Heidi Heilig’s inventive debut novel, The Girl From Everywhere (2016), charts that very course with a father-daughter duo sailing a schooner through time. Nix is a girl who fears that she is just that—nothing—in her father’s eyes. Nonetheless, she’s doing all she can to help him find an 1868 map of Honolulu so he can return to his past in time to save his wife, Nix’s mother, from her untimely death. But if they do succeed in their mission, what will happen to Nix—and her future?
Their quest takes them to 1980s New York City for a Christie’s auction, and back in time to other places, including Hawaii, as they barter and steal to procure what they need. Joining them on the ship, The Temptation, is a lively cast of characters, including Kashmir, a good friend, noble thief, and potential romantic interest. Also aboard are mythological creatures and fantastical souvenirs collected on journeys to mythical locations throughout the years. Doesn’t everyone heat their laundry-tub water by throwing in a fire salamander?
From the striking cover, to the surprising army that Nix enlists to aid her father in robbing the Hawaiian Royal Treasury, the novel is rich with history, geography, family secrets, sarcastic humor, subtle romantic tension, wanderlust, and plot twists that keep the pages turning. One of my past students and book-club members, now in college, snagged this from my office before I’d read it and returned just raving about it. You can read her review on her blog lololovely. I’m so glad she bumped it up my to-be-read pile. I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure and can’t wait for the sequel, coming in 2017.
Lynn: Buckle up your swashes because this book is one terrific ride! I was swept away by the combination of time travel, mythology, history, mystery, and touch of romance. Heilig skillfully interweaves explorations of family, loyalty, and the search for a place to belong in a way that deepens the reading experience. Navigation, the central device, is equally well handled. Readers explore right along with Nix, not only to exotic places but also as she learns how time travel works. So claim your berth and let me bid you bon voyage!