The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson // Dogs, Romance and More!

Saturday, 27 August 2016 2 comments
The Unexpected Everything, by Morgan Matson
Publication: May 3, 2016, by Simon and Schuster BFYR
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 517
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks). But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.
Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?

My Thoughts:

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson | noun | 1. a book that is the pure definition of summer and everything that it holds. 2. a book that features tons of cute dogs where readers grow overly attached to them. 3. a beautiful story of friendship, real love and all of the good stuff in life.

Morgan Matson is my favourite contemporary author of all time, residing with John Green in my golden shelves of awesomeness (one day, I vow that I will actually possess this shelf), but if you know me, you mostly likely already knew that. The Unexpected Everything was probably my most-anticipated read of the year, and it definitely reached its expectations, though a tiny bit on the lower side. As usual, Morgan's writing drags, just like mine tends to do when I'm in school, writing an essay and I discover that I can't stop overdosing on words. That's exactly what happened in this case, and what has happened with every single book by Matson. When I first saw the page count, 517 pages made me feel giddy, overly excited. Honestly? How could a YA novel that is all contemporary-romance stem towards a 500+ page count? You have to be an amazing writer, which Morgan is, but you also have to have this idea that doesn't get boring and that could progress into this greater page count.

The Unexpected Everything was expected for me to enjoy. I just knew that I would love it. Dogs? A nerdy-cute love interest? A girl who's smart and obsessed with school? A book that is written throughout a period of a whole summer? These all looked like things that I would love about this book, and it seriously is true. This was such a good read. Now, I don't know how I would be able to live a summer like our protagonist, Andie, had, because that was just chaotic (and awesome at the same time), and as always, I just loved the mentality and extra moral that Morgan adds to her stories time after time.

Before we get to anything, we NEED TO discuss the puppies/dogs. I actually never had a clue that Morgan's story would revolve around dogs. At all. I just thought the cute dogs on the cover huddled around the model (who is supposed to be Andie) were just a nice addition. EVERY DOG MENTIONED, I WOULD JUST GO BACK TO THE COVER. Guys, you see the adorable, big, fluffy white dog? THAT IS BERTIE. NOT "BIRDIE" (that made me laugh out loud honestly), but Bertie. He is the cutest thing on Earth and I seriously was so overly-attached to him that I want to name my future child Bertie. (Even if I have a girl) Bertie is "Clark's dog," without stating any spoilers. I love him. And Clark. But especially Bertie.

"Books were everywhere. Not in haphazard piles—there was absolutely nothing about this place that seemed haphazard—but there were floor-to-ceiling built-ins on all sides of this very large room, and they were absolutely rammed with books. It was the kind of room—big couches, comfy chairs—that you would expect a TV in, but I didn't see one anywhere. All I could see were books" (116).

I would also like to thank Morgan for appreciating books. A big theme of this story is booknerds and loving books in general. Our protagonist, Andie, never really reads unless it's school-related (HOW DARE SHE?!), but once she meets Clark, secret book-nerd/author, her appreciation grows. Morgan also adds in excerpts from what would be Clark's books, which I also formed a bond with. Man, this author just makes readers bond with everything/everyone!

Basically, this story is so relatable. Not about dog-walking or the romance between Clark and Andie, but because of Andie herself. I LOVED HER. Andie is the daughter of a Congressman, who is a single father after Andie's mother died from ovarian cancer. She loves school, plans on going into pre-med, is looking into internships, plans everything out, has her life planned out, and has a great group of friends who always support her. It sounds perfect, right? Her internship fails. Her father doesn't act like a father. Her relationships only last three weeks. Her summer job is dog-walking. I loved how Morgan looks at imperfections and creates the summer of a lifetime (with many flaws) for Andie and her friends. Friendship was a hugely important theme of this story, and I loved how tight-knit Andie's group was. Toby, Bri, Palmer, Tom and Clark all had their own personalities which made this a really fun read. I couldn't just pick my favourite character. They were all astonishing.

As Morgan had in every book of hers, especially Since You've Been Gone, romance is a big factor, but not everything. That is why I like to call Morgan's stories real and inspiring, because they closely live up to the lives of teenagers. BUT THE ROMANCE WAS REAL. Candie, Ark, whatever ship name you would like to provide the two, they were perfect for each other. Clark was just the happiest, most hilarious fictional boyfriend of any heroine and I just loved how awkward he was and how quickly he did become comfortable with Andie.

Cheers to the father-daughter relationship and how Matson keeps implanting the fact that Andie's life isn't perfect. I must admit, I hated Andie's dad for the first half of the book, but he kept making me smile and laugh. I have to praise that precious relationship, you know? 

"We said our good-byes and headed out shortly after that. I got into the Mustang, running my hand over the steering wheel for just a moment before checking the time and realizing I had to get going. There was someone I needed to meet" (516).

So at times, this book dragged. It became boring and I just wanted that boring phase to get by before the good stuff came around. There were those every now and then, and I honestly wanted this book to be perfect, and to be honest, it wasn't fully. But I still loved it. IT'S TOO LONG, ALTHOUGH I LOVE MORGAN'S WRITING. If this were fantasy... that'd be a different story.

If only I had a summer like this... *sighs* Cheers to dogs, Bertie, romance, pizza, scavenger hunts, road-trips to tell someone you love them, Diet Coke and fantasy novels! As always, I am so impressed with Morgan Matson's work and this is the reason why I read contemporary-romance: to get in a specific mood. Now? I need to go to the pool and kind of wash my brain a little because it hurts. Five-hundred-and-seventeen pages in a row (basically) does hurt your head.

Do you like Morgan Matson's writing? WHAT ARE SOME BOOKS WITH DOGS/PUPPIES?

The Rose and the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh // What a Perfect Ending!

Friday, 26 August 2016 2 comments
The Rose and the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2), by Renée Ahdieh
Publication: April 26, 2016, by G.P. Putnam BFYR
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.
Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.
The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.

My Thoughts:

My fellow Caliphs and Caliphas, the story of Shahrzad and Khalid is actually over. Thinking about the fact that I will never be able to see a new cover being released for this series, or that I will never be able to hold the two books in the duology as if they were new and as if I never heard of them before just cracks my heart in half. All in all, The Rose and the Dagger is beautiful, electrifying and gives me the feels once more. I've been waiting a year (or so) to read this sequel, and I actually just discovered that it's a duology (well, before I read this) so I had so much rage in me. Looking back at the ending and how Ahdieh, as always, unfolded everything and answered all of us readers' questions, I am truly satisfied. This couldn't have ended in a better way.

I loved this; don't get me wrong, but it wasn't as good as the first book. I initially predicted that I would rate this five stars, because the first book changed me in more ways than I would ever expect (especially with how I look at the high fantasy genre), but this book was weaker in a few ways. Listen, I have always loved the characters, romance and ideas/themes that Ahdieh presented. My love for those book characteristics never changed or diminished. Shazi and Khalid are still my favourite couple in the entire universe, their characters/personalities as a whole are so fearless and strong, more strong than most books' characters have, and I have always loved the setting of the desert and Khorasan and basically... everything. 

Before I get to the positives, I feel that it is best to speak about the issues. This book didn't feel as put-together or as wholly as the previous novel, or how I would like a book to feel. Yes, our questions were answered and it turned out pretty great, but the book felt so (it's hard to describe honestly) stiff. There were parts where I was bored (especially through the middle) and I constantly felt this tension that a random war would pop up in the midst of the story (which it kind of did/didn't) and I was waiting for that. Also, I would have appreciated more Khalid/Shazi moments, but it is completely understandable how they had to part ways for a huge portion of the story because of the events/curse that got in their way. Also, what happened with that curse?

"You continue to wound me, you awful girl. Because I know. Had I spent a single night with you, I would never have wished for us to be parted from that day forward" (66).

As you may have known, Khalid's curse is a large theme of book one because this affects his relationship between him and Shazi, and how the world around him looks at him, his reputation. I can't really pinpoint what the goal of this book was. Question-answering, absolutely, romantic development, sure, but the curse was rarely mentioned and there was hardly any fantasy magical things occurring. Listen, I am not your diehard fan of spells and whatnot, but I love the way Renée approaches it, and that barely occurred. Yeah, we see Shazi experimenting with her magic carpet, but that was only a short instant. Those were the issues I spotted.

Now, to the positives, because there were a ton. I loved how Ahdieh reminded readers of who was who, what meant what, and where the characters were in terms of time and setting. I didn't feel like re-reading the first novel because (A) my TBR pile is huge and (B) I had no time to prepare myself for the sequel so I just bought it. Thank you, Renée! I seriously needed that recap. This novel takes place right from where the first left us off. Each character is basically in a different place, and we feel this tension when Shazi and Khalid are trying to find each other.

As always, Ahdieh has handled the perspectives well. I've enjoyed her writing of this series because it's written in third-person perspectives. Therefore, we could easily discover who Ahdieh is writing about because their names are mentioned. (See my review for Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave. That one sucked because of perspectives). I loved every character, their rivals and their relationships.

Shahrzad is as fearless, strong and kick-ass as always. Since the time I read The Wrath and the Dawn, Shazi has resided as my favourite heroine in all of YA and in all of every single book I have ever read. I love her independence, how she doesn't need someone by her side to get the job done. There are many scenes where she goes to find something/someone, and she goes on her own, secretly. 

"When I was in the desert, I woke each day and carried on with my life, but it wasn't living; it was merely existing. I want to live. You are where I live" (173).

BUT GUYS WE HAVE A NEW STAR CHARACTER. Irsa, Shazi's younger sister! I adore sister relationships because they can only remind me of my relationship with my own sister. Ahdieh introduces Shazi's character in the first chapter, and she remains an important part of this sequel because she is always by her sister and would do anything to save her, even though she is younger. We even see her fall in love, confess her deepest worries to people that we would never expect her to, and most importantly, we see a huge character development. She's amazing.

KHALID AND TARIQ, MY FRIENDS. These are the hottest YA guys in all of the universe. Some people may disagree with me, but I actually liked their feud, because it made sense. They had reasons to hate each other. It's a love triangle, people, what else do you expect? 

The Rose and the Dagger was just absolute joy and greatness. I adore Renée Ahdieh's writing so much that she is an instant-buy for me and I would sell all of my books to get a new book by her (okay, that is nuts and I don't think I'd do that haha). This was just a perfect ending to the story and there were so many shocking moments, plot twists and the amount of suspense at the end of every chapter was astonishing. YOU'LL EXPERIENCE EVERY FEELING; I ALMOST FELL APART AT THE END because of something shocking and sad. Goodbye, Shazi and Khalid. I love you! (I'll reread this series eventually because it's too good)

What is the best book of any series you have read? Have you read this series? What is your favourite bookish couple?

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena // I Can't Get Enough Of These Stories

Thursday, 25 August 2016 0 comments
The Couple Next Door, by Shari Lapena
Publication: August 23, 2016, by Pamela Dorman Books
Genre: Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Rating: ½

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.
Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they've kept for years.
What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

My Thoughts:

The Couple Next Door has one of those titles that will spin around in your head day after day, night after night, really making you freaked out in terms of your neighbours and the people you think you know well. Seriously, I am freaked out this right second, and as I am writing this, it is pure daylight outside and things are happening. Unlike some of the negative reviews out there, which are stating that this mystery/thriller novel is disappointing, I found this to be pure awesomeness and I am still shaking with goosebumps all over my arms at this very moment. Unlike all of the happy, cutesy contemporaries I have been reading in the past few weeks, this is a mega dark story that is not so much about the "thriller" aspect, but more about the psychological part of a human and how we are capable of doing just about anything to reach our goals. If characters like this were able to conquer their wishes in these ways, then I am sure that I am able to do anything. Ugh, that phrase I just typed couldn't get more cheesier, I feel.

You think that this is just about baby Cora, a six month old baby who is somehow kidnapped from her house. The inner works of Lapena's mind and how she constructed this story was definitely focused on Cora and her disappearance, but I would say that trust and family workings are two major themes that come about in the beginning, middle and end of this fictional novel. I will definitely go out and recommend this to my mom, who doesn't read too often, but does seriously enjoy thrillers and mysteries. I would honestly go out and watch a remake of this book, turned into film. I could just picture who the actors would be and how moving this story would become for everyone, even to those who struggle to pick up a novel because they just don't enjoy it.

There are many stories/films out there focusing on missing individuals, kidnappings and sick, sick events that makes us wonder how they are even implanted into someone's mind, but there is nothing even close to what Shari Lapena has now accomplished—a book that makes you think that this is all about murder and weird, absurd people, but instead is something bigger and broader, and more personal, all at the same time. It's so difficult to explain this addicting novel to someone without spoiling it all. I must say, this is a true suspense novel, because I just felt the suspense inside of me, stirring and flowing like the longest river out there. Lapena kept revealing things one at a time, and at many points, we readers are stuck with hopelessness, unsure of what the real truth is, because everything seems hidden. I expected this to be a story where the answer will be revealed on the last page, as many psychological thrillers are, but instead, answers were revealed all of the time. Some even in the first few chapters, pulling us closer to the good stuff.

The concept can be very personal, depending on who the audience of readers are. Lapena focuses on a couple, Marco and Anne, who are happily living their lives with their newborn six-month-old daughter, Cora. Anne comes from a wealthy family, where she has always been given everything that she needed in life. Her parents never really approved of her marrying Marco, but she didn't care—her love for him was too strong. One night, Marco and Anne attend a dinner party next door, leaving Cora in her crib, checking on her every half hour. When they decide to head home, they find Cora missing, and the whole book comes together and the events begin.

I loved reading this because it was absolutely addicting. The only flaw I spotted was the fact that I was fooled in the middle of the book when something gigantic was revealed and I feared that everything would just be filler from then on. I don't like being fooled in that way, honestly, and I kind of got upset over that and expected the plot to fall downhill from there. Everything else, including the writing, pace, characters (even though I despised some of them) were perfect. This book could have been perfect, except for that minor itch in the whole outcome of the story.

I guess this could even hit you harder if you are a parent. I have no experience, so I don't perfectly know exactly what Anne was especially feeling, but I was hurt. This made my stomach ache because you just don't want to ever hear of this kind of scenario. LEAVE THE POOR BABY ALONE. *cries* I just kept biting my nails and praying that Cora will be saved and never be left alone ever again. This is the first abduction story dealing with a child that I have read about, and I bet that now that this is released, the world will go crazier than ever for these kinds of stories. Beware the future knockoffs that'll form, because this is the absolute original one. This will definitely stand as one of my most favourite reads of the year, especially for its originality and how my attention span acted up throughout the period of time that I spent reading this. 

I love the cover, I loved everything about this, and I am certain that you will adore this as much as I did and more. I'm kind of feeling a little freaked out about my own neighbours, now that I think about it. Honestly? You'll be freaked out about everyone/everything and be extremely paranoid and never be the same person anymore after completing this. At least, that's what I'm currently feeling, and I am truly hoping that it'll subside, especially after reading some happier stories with absolute happy ever after endings. Warner Bros, Universal, Sony—whatever—pay attention to the raving reviews of this novel and MAKE A FILM ALREADY. BUY THE RIGHTS. WHATEVER YOU OUGHT TO DO. Now, please. *smiles weakly*

*A finished copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*

What is the most original novel you have read recently? What are some books/films similar to this, if there are any?

Waiting on Wednesday #43: Forget Me Not

Wednesday, 24 August 2016 0 comments
Waiting on Wednesday is a book meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where
us book bloggers fangirl over upcoming releases!

Forget Me Not, by Ellie Terry
Publication: March 14, 2017, by Feiwel and Friends
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, Contemporary
Pages: 336

A girl with Tourette syndrome starts a new school and tries to hide her quirks in this debut middle-grade novel in verse.
Calliope June has Tourette syndrome. Sometimes she can't control the noises that come out of her mouth, or even her body language. When she and her mother move yet again, she tries to hide her TS. But soon the kids in her class realize she's different. Only her neighbor, who is also the class president, sees her as she truly is—a quirky kid, and a good friend. But is he brave enough to take their friendship public?
As Callie navigates school, she must also face her mother's new relationship and the fact that she might be moving again—just as she's starting to make friends and finally accept her differences. This story of being true to yourself will speak to a wide audience.

It's been a while since I've done a WoW post, but I was on vacation (which I'll give a HUGE recap of eventually) and have been exploring other reads, but I'm backkkkk. Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry sounds like such a heartbreaking, beautiful story that will be perfect for my sister (a middle grade reader), myself, and everyone around. I love this cover and everything that is explained of in the synopsis. 

What are you anticipating the most this week?

Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland // Fun in the Sun (This Statement is As Cheesy As the Book)

Tuesday, 23 August 2016 0 comments
Nantucket Blue (Nantucket #1), by Leila Howland
Publication: May 7, 2013, by Disney-Hyperion
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 294
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed

For Cricket Thompson, a summer like this one will change everything. A summer spent on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules Clayton, and the indomitable Clayton family. A summer when she’ll make the almost unattainable Jay Logan hers. A summer to surpass all dreams.
Some of this turns out to be true. Some of it doesn’t.
When Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy that forces the girls apart, Jules becomes a stranger whom Cricket wonders whether she ever really knew. And instead of lying on the beach working on her caramel-colored tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise for the summer.
But it’s the things Cricket hadn’t counted on--most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits--that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality.
A beautiful future is within her grasp, and Cricket must find the grace to embrace it. If she does, her life could be the perfect shade of Nantucket blue.

 My Thoughts:

Nantucket Blue is one of those books that I added on to my TBR list ages ago when I underwent some kind of YA contemporary-romance chick-lit phase. It happens. I never stopped wanting to read it, either. I finally found a copy of it available when I went to the new library by my house. Seeing a copy in good condition also intrigued me, you know? I borrowed it, sat down in one of their uber-cool noise-cancelling chairs, and read half of it there. The other half? At home. It's currently summer vacation, and although I won't be spending any time on the beach until August, Leila Howland converted me from reality into Nantucket. You cannot imagine how much I want to visit Rhode Island, tour Brown University and take a ferry to this gorgeous island that I now know so much about. For some, this may be a cheesy chick-lit where we could all predict the ending. Yeah, it was extremely cheesy, but that's the fun of it. I really loved Nantucket Blue, and I am excited to read the sequel!

This story revolves around soon-to-be-seniors in high school, Cricket and Jules. They have been best friends since the eighth grade, and since Cricket doesn't have a good relationship with her divorced parents, Jules' home has become Cricket's, in a way. After a huge tragedy strikes, the two friends' lives change forever. This is right at the start of summer vacation, and Jules' family is still going to their summer home on a small island called Nantucket. Cricket follows Jules to show that their friendship still exists and gets caught in a summer fling in the midst of it all... yada yada yada.

You can most likely predict it if I tell you all about each of the characters and how Cricket gets involved with them. That's not why I read the book, to catch the predictability and make fun of the story. I read this book because I was looking for a book that will capture the great moments of summer and make me have this inexplicable feeling. This book is your perfect beach read, a book that you will fly by in a sitting and squeal over. 

Leila Howland is just such a good writer. This story was fast-paced, and although it takes place over a matter of two months, it never got boring. Boringness is a HUGE book pet peeve of mine, and if I get bored reading a book, I feel like it's a waste of time for me to read. Nantucket Blue was just so addicting and like bliss. It had this kind of 90210-like drama, but it was narrowed down a touch and made extra fun. 

Our protagonist, Cricket, was kind of the issue at times, but I liked her anyway. Overly attached characters are no fun. There were moments where I just wanted to slap the book and scream at it because Cricket never made the decisions that she should have made! Like seriously, making out with two guys in a day? Being nice and overly attached to your ex-best friend? NOOOO. Cricket Thompson is your stereotypical example of a bi*chy teenage girl. I honestly am so against stereotypes (they're the worst things possible), but Cricket Thompson fulfilled the ones that have been made for years because of shows/books like Gossip Girl. She had no respect for her parents, didn't care about anything she did, and was so boy-crazy that it blew my mind. 

At least the romance was cute when it came around. Screw Jay though. I can't believe that Cricket was obsessed with this douche-bag. ZACK, GUYS. I don't understand what was the big deal with the whole dating-best-friend-brother thing. I guess people have different opinions on all of this. The age difference kind of frustrated me, though. (Zack is a sophomore. Cricket is a senior).

My favourite thing was Nantucket itself. I've read books about The Hamptons, about Martha's Vineyard or Cape Cod, but never about Nantucket. I wouldn't have known about Nantucket if it wasn't for Leila Howland's duology. I WANT TO GO THERE. I want to eat fried clams, as well.

Nantucket Blue is one of the most summeriest books you could possibly read. Next time I go to the library, I'll have to grab a copy of the sequel and be introduced to another summer of Cricket's in Nantucket. Any lover of Melissa de la Cruz's contemporary novels should definitely go for this pretty. 

What is your favourite summer romance? What is an island that you would seriously like to visit in the future?

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig // Time-Traveling Awesomeness

Monday, 22 August 2016 2 comments
The Girl From Everywhere (The Girl From Everywhere #1), by Heidi Heilig
Publication: February 16, 2016, by Greenwillow Books
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Historical, Fantasy, Time-Traveling, Romance
Pages: 443
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed
Rating: ½

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.
As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.
But the end to it all looms closer every day.
Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.
For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.
She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.
Or she could disappear.

My Thoughts:

This four point five star rating I am handing Heidi Heilig's debut time-traveling adventure romance (add in whatever genre you can think of and this book has it) is not exactly what it seems like. Honestly? Forget about that four point five and picture this book as a perfect ten. The Girl From Everywhere was mystical, dashing, magical, stunning and just oh-so-good, unlike my initial expectations. PEOPLE. I find that it's better to expect the worst than the best, even in reality. I initially expected a boring, un-understandable read for me with this one, but I flew through it in a sitting, and after it was over, I picked up my library copy and held it against my heart. (I get a little cheesy when I like a book so much). Oh, and why should you treat this as a perfect rating? Because the book was practically perfect. I will touch on a minor thing that set me off from granting this five stars, but it barely affected me in any manner. By the way, I just noticed the girl in the water on the cover of this book after reading. I LOVE THOSE SURPRISES. That's mega-cool.

The Girl From Everywhere has such a perfect title for the 443 pages that are stamped inside of this beautiful cover. It explains our heroine, Nix, so well. I'm so giddy with this book that I don't even know where my review should really begin. This is definitely one of the best books I've read this year, and perhaps ever. I cannot fangirl about it more than I already have and will.

For some reason, I expected this to be bad. Why? Because in the past, I have never enjoyed books about time-traveling mixed with historical events and myths. Okay, first of all, myths are rarely incorporated into YA these days, so that's a first... or second. Heidi Heilig writes about something that's deep in her heart, and I bet that she is seriously passionate about: Hawaiian culture. HOLY LEIS AND PINEAPPLES. I love Hawaii, I want to go there so bad. I mean, I always wanted to fly to the island of Oahu, be lei-ed (or whatever they call it), yell "Ohana means family" and say Aloha to every person I meet there. But now? This book introduced Hawaiian culture to me and it was so interesting to read about the most gorgeous islands in the world... back in the day, specifically in the nineteenth century. 

HOW DOES HEIDI DO EVERYTHING PERFECTLY? There's so much diversity in The Girl From Everywhere that I cannot stop squealing. We have Kashmir (HOLY I LOVE HIM, I'LL GET TO HIM SOON), who is from Persia when Nix and her father, Slate, find him, and there's also Bee, who is African. Bee's a crew member on The Temptation, the ship that Nix and her father time-travel or Navigate with. She's lesbian too, which shows us how DEDICATED this book is. I loved reading about each and every place that Nix Navigated to, including New York City and how she retold events from the past when they went to Scandia and how they saw dragons in the Baltic Sea.

"It was only the nervous shifting of his eyes that hinted at discomfort, but not with the city, nor with being on land. With his own skin. No matter where we went, he never felt at home. I recognized that feeling. I'd inherited it" (35).

Basically, The Girl From Everywhere is about our heroine, Nix, whose mother died when she gave birth to her. Her father, who is the captain of the ship that they, among others, time-travel, or Navigate with, called The Temptation, has never gotten over the fact that his true love is gone. He and Nix travel through time using maps that they find, going back centuries or millenniums into the past. Now, they are on the search for Nix's mother back in the past in Honolulu, Hawaii. That scares Nix, because she knows that she could possibly disappear if they do find her.

I was on the edge of my seat for the whole novel. Although it's about five hundred pages long, I couldn't stop reading from the moment I began the story. Heidi Heilig writes so casually, yet absolutely lyrically and different, perhaps more poetic than I would've expected. I loved everything about this story, how it teaches readers about culture, myth and the beautiful parts of loving life. I wish that I could GRAB ALL OF THE MAPS AND NAVIGATE MYSELF. It's a different twist on time-travel, and it's for a good reason.

You see, I always need some kind of description of the gears of time-traveling in a book I read. That's so important for me. Heilig did not info-dump on us, making up some weird explanations for why what Nix and her father do works. It was brief, yet unimaginable because no author has ever explored a bookish world like Heidi had. 

I don't understand the issues people had with this glorious story. It was racing, perfectly paced, and now? My life depends on the sequel. Honestly, a sequel isn't needed because the story ended off perfectly and we readers could imagine a continuing ending that works, but THERE IS ONE COMING AND DAMN, I NEED IT. I NEED HARPERCOLLINS TO SEND ME A COPY ASAP. I'LL TAKE A MANUSCRIPT THAT'S ALL WRITTEN OVER, IF THAT'S WHAT IT TAKES. Or, I could ask my favourite couple, Nix and Kashmir, to personally deliver it. *twiddles eyebrows*

Nix is your dream definition of a heroine. I loved her personality, and how she dealt with the situation she was in. She had every right to be confused and feel discomfort with her life, because she was taken away from what was supposed to be her future. It was interesting for us to get a first-hand look at the life she would've had if her father hadn't began Navigating for Nix's mother in the past, in nineteenth century Hawaii. She wasn't one of those protagonists who hated everyone around her for unexplainable reasons, you know? I found myself totally relating to her wanderlust, and NOW I WANT TO TRAVEL. People with severe wanderlust, this book is for you to take a trip with.

"Paradise is a promise no god bothers to keep. There's only now, and tomorrow nothing will be the same, whether we like it or not" (390).

KASHMIR AND BLAKE. Guys, we have a slight love triangle here, but unless you're really affected by them, you'll be fine. Blake is a character we are introduced to halfway through the novel, and he is living in the Hawaii that Nix visits with The Temptation. He hides this secret that he is also a mapmaker, and Nix is immediately drawn to his mysteriousness. I would be, too. I loved Blake and his mysterious character, but honestly? My heart is for the gorgeous Kashmir. Kashmir is Nix's best friend, and they have known each other for a long time. He is also a thief, and helps Nix's father to all of the deeds that Nix herself would never want to do. AGH. My heart flutters like hell when he's in a chapter. I need them to be together. She's kind of torn between the two, and I wonder how the next book will patch things up. AND GUYS. THE ENDING? Nix is well... *SPOILER* stuck with them both. Hah. *SPOILER ENDS*

So what I had a slight issue with was the ending itself. That was just chaotic and I found that it happened so fast that I didn't know what exactly happened. I still don't even know. I don't know how Nix's father made the decision that he did, and I had to go over the last chapter or so a few times, but it still was foggy. I need a greater explanation, PLEASE. But that's cool, fine. I LOVE THIS BOOK, OH EM GEE. 

The Girl From Everywhere is one of the most stunning debuts I have ever read. WE HAVE A BEAUTIFUL ROMANCE (who cares about the love triangle? It works!), a heroine who is one of a kind, and a plot slash story that I cannot get out of my head. This book seems like a dream, I can't believe I was so fortunate to read it, because it's unlike anything that my brain would ever come up with in a million years. Who knows? Maybe I could Navigate into 2017 and grab a copy from the amazing Heidi herself. THAT WOULD BE THE BEST.

What is the best debut you have read recently? What have you heard about this amazing story?