I picked up the Girl From Everywhere after I received recommendations from literally every single book nerd I know. I mean, the premise itself should persuade even the staunchest critics to at least pick it up from off the shelf. It contains everything that anyone could ever want from a fantastical YA novel: pirates, a diverse group of protagonists, time travel, a nerdy female main character, and even a potential love triangle. In face, it seemed a little too good to be true, if I’m being completely honest. And, although it pains me to say it, my fears concerning the storyline were proven to be well-founded. While the novel was a pleasure to read, it left a lot to be desired in terms of plot and character development.
One aspect of this novel that the author managed to nail perfectly was the vivid setting. I have to say that I’ve become bored with the stereotypical background of New York City or some unnamed small town. Therefore, you can imagine my relief when I found out that this story centered around the bustling, lively state of 19th century Hawaii. The imagery was so beautifully described that I couldn’t help but fall in love with it, and I could imagine every location with a striking clarity that I have to admit cannot be found in the majority of other young adult novels. I’ve promised myself at least one trip to Hawaii thanks to this book, although I doubt it will be quite as charming as it was in the 1800s.
However, one complaint I have with the setting is the lack of rich history described the novel. Although she does manage to masterfully weave in some important folk tales and native into the plot, she places a large emphasis on the white inhabitants rather than utilize the beautiful society of the native Hawaiians. She had the perfect opportunity to differentiate her story from the countless other young adult plots out there focused on Eurocentric culture and instead provide a colorful storyline filled with the vibrant traditions of indigenous peoples, but she chose not to make use of that option. I personally would have greatly enjoyed a novel that was able to educate me on a culture that I wouldn’t have otherwise learned about, and I had high hopes that this novel would be able to do that. Sadly, but not unpredictably, I was let down.
Another issue whose presence was felt strongly throughout the plot was the lack of character development. Each member of this ragtag group of pirates seemed to have an interesting backstory that I would have loved to learn more about. It seems as though Heidi Heilig bit off more than she can chew in terms of protagonists. Although she did a wonderful job of assembling a diverse cast of varying cultures, time periods, and socioeconomic backgrounds, she lacked the foresight to develop these personalities until they resembled actual people. Instead, she left them feeling rather two-dimensional to the reader, which I personally thought was such a shame. The protagonists had the potential to be absolutely breathtaking, but they fell short and remained too flat to develop any personal connections with the reader. If the characters were to mature, this novel could have easily become one of my favorites. Sadly, it missed the mark.
While the Girl from Everywhere is a rather enjoyable and informative read, it left a lot to be desired in terms of tapping into its true potential. However, I will be reading the sequel, The Ship Beyond Time, in the hopes that these faults are remedied. If so, this series could potentially become a new staple in my bookshelf.
Please go to your nearest bookstore and give this book a try. If you end up loving it or hating it, please let me know what your opinions are in the comments below or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love a second opinion and a chance to discuss this novel with you!