The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig is ambitious. There’s a big concept (time travel), which is (for the most part) immaculately delivered and the height of creativity. Most unfortunately for Ms. Heilig, her characters can’t seem to quite keep up with the journey. The book started very strong: motivated action, unique idea, lyrical writing, great locations (Hawaii! New York! China!) and (best of all) diverse characters (something I am really trying to work on).
It’s rare that I am straight up confused by a book. After all, I’ve been a voracious reader since I picked up my first chapter book and I understand how the action of a book is supposed to go. To start, I have no issue with one of the supporting characters being the protagonist’s father, but he is also the captain of their ship, resulting in said character getting referred to as her father, the Captain and Slate (awkward, especially when all are mixed up in a conversation). I’m toeing the line of hypocrisy here, as I have my own Captain, also referred to as Jonathan and Cranleigh (his first and last name).
An additional love interest gets introduced for no particular reason, and, (spoiler alert), he gets to hang around for the sequel. The bland third party reminded me of my own current manuscript and while I do have a love triangle, I need to do a better job of character development with my third guy. Right now, he’s got a lot of potential, but after reading this book, I realized he needs to take up a bit more space.
As I mentioned above, there was a point in this novel where I wondered if a giant scene had been cut (I’m not the only one to think this, BTW). Literally, I had no idea how or why the characters ended up going to a location. An entire sequence seemed to appear, strangely, out of nowhere, which only added to an unnecessarily confusing end to the book (which I more or less skimmed through).
While I love magical realism (hey, that’s been my game for the past 18 months as I work on the Queen), having magic as a Deus ex machina doesn’t particularly do it for me. Sure, everyone is allowed a moment of disbelief, but when a crew just so happens to have tons of devices for the sake of getting them out of trouble, instead of working through things, well, isn’t that just lazy writing? (And yes, I see fingers pointed back at me, I mean, I pull the legendary Excalibur pretty much out of nowhere).
Overall, I think the editor should have stepped up their game by a significant margin. The structure and bones of the book are in place, but like a strange pinball bouncing everywhere, the novel gets mired down by an uneven cast and a storyline that deviates from where it should. Honestly, I would love to see this high concept in the capable hands of a better YA/Fantasy/Supernatural author.
Oh well, maybe there’s some good fanfiction out there…