the girl from everywhere

Summer Reading: If You Liked The Hobbit

Epic adventure awaits in these fabulously constructed fantasy worlds.

The Fog Diver
By Joel Ross

When a deadly fog envelopes the Earth, people take to the skies, where a ragtag bunch of scavengers is ready to risk everything for a better life. First in a series. (Middle grades)

The Vengekeep Prophecies
By Brian Farrey

Jaxter Grimjinx was born to be a master thief—but it turns out that with disaster bearing down on his world, he may need to become a hero instead. (Middle grades)

Moril’s witnessed his father’s murder and his brother’s imprisonment, but that’s just the beginning of his problems. First in a quartet. (Middle grades)

Russian spies, magical potions, and a mysterious book star in an adventure that begins in 1950s California. First in a series. (Middle grades)

The Girl from Everywhere
By Heidi Heilig

Nix’s pirate father can sail his ship to any place, real or imagined, as long as he has a map. But the place he’s most determined to go may spell doom for his daughter. (Young adult)

The Mists of Avalon
By Marion Zimmer Bradley

Bradley reimagines the Arthurian legends from a feminist, pagan perspective in this dense volume told mostly from the perspective of the traditionally vilified Morgan le Fay. (Young adult)

Though it’s often recommended for middle grades, I think this subversive retelling of Paradise Lost is more likely to appeal to teens. (Young adult)

Another London—filled with magic and intrigue—exists parallel to the city Richard Mayhew knows—and Mayhew is about to slip through one of the cracks between worlds. (Young adult)

Seraphina
By Rachel Hartman

Spectacular world-building lights up this fantasy about a world where humans and intelligent dragons live in an uneasy truce. (Young adult)

Story Thieves
By James Riley

When Owen finds out his friend Bethany is half-fictional, he can’t wait to join her next jump into his favorite books—but fictional adventure proves more hazardous than he’s anticipated. (Middle grades)

On the Blue Comet
By Rosemary Wells

Witnessing a murder wins Oscar a seat on a magical train that travels through time and space. (Middle grades)

The Two Princesses of Bamarre
By Gail Carson Levine

Addie’s always been happy in the shadow of her adventurous sister Meryl, but when Meryl catches the Gray Death, Addie must summon her own courage and set out alone to save her sister. (Middle grades

This list is reprinted from the summer 2016 issue of HSL.


Summer Reading: The Girl from Everywhere

The Girl from Everywhere
By Heidi Heilig
 
When I was young, I learned to expect loss. Every time you slept, something disappeared. Whenever you woke up, someone else was gone. But . . . I also learned that every day, you created everything anew. And whatever you had, you enjoyed as long as it lasted.

Nix’s dad can sail his ship anywhere, as long as he has a map—and she’s been anywhere with him, from mythical Scandinavia to modern-day New York City and all kinds of real and imaginary places in between.Where she hasn’t been is back to 1868 Hawaii, where she was born and her mother died—but that’s the map her father has spent Nix’s entire life looking for it, and it’s starting to look like he might finally have found it. But what happens to Nix if her father rewrites history?

I mean, really, how can you resist a story that centers on a time-traveling pirate ship that can go anywhere someone’s taken the time to draw a map of? It’s such a good idea that I forgive The Girl from Everywhere for having the inevitable YA Boring Love Triangle. (It’s not between a wolf and a vampire, but honestly, it might as well be. YA writers: Seriously, we do not need love triangles to sub in for plot action. I promise. Please stop.) Nix’s dad, Captain Slate, and his motley crew of sailors (who come from real and imaginary ports around the globe) are well-drawn, fascinating characters—in fact, they’re so interesting that they often overshadow Nix, which I think makes sense in a story about a girl who’s trying to figure out where she belongs in the world and whether she actually has a right to her own life. (It’s not clear how saving Nix’s mom could affect Nix’s own timeline, a fact that doesn’t seem to concern her quest-obsessed father at all. And it’s clear that Nix blames herself for her mother’s death—and again, that’s a fact that doesn’t seem to concern her father at all.) The world-building is terrific—though you could quibble that not all the nuances of the time travel in the book are clearly explained (Shouldn’t fake maps work the same way imaginary maps do?),  I’m pretty much always willing to suspend my disbelief when it comes to the actual machinations of magic. And Helig gets bonus points for solid research on 19th century Hawaii, which is where a substantial chunk of the book takes place.

There are lots of reasons to love The Girl from Everywhere. I didn’t love it, but I did like it a lot. And if you’re a fan of fantastic time travel and/or pirates, this one should be on your library list.

(If you’re playing along with summer reading bingo, this one counts as a book published in 2016.)