In brief: Kika’s always lived to travel. But now she’s stuck in a boring job – until she gets fired in spectacular fashion. Her new job as a nanny in London puts her in the perfect position for European wanderlust, but things are going to change for Kika…
The good: Some fantastic funny, laugh out loud on public transport moments.
The not-so-good: The book is more of a light read than the cover would have you think.
Why I chose it: Thank you to Penguin Australia for indulging me on my recent holiday at home.
Publisher: Michael Joseph (Penguin)
Setting: New York, London, Italy, India…
My rating: 9 out of 10
The timing of the arrival of Girls Who Travel to my house couldn’t have been more perfect. It was the first day of a short holiday for me and I wasn’t going anywhere. I devoured this book in 24 hours – it’s a fantastic read for the holidays, full of wanderlust, boys, humour and some of the most original insults and exclamations you’ll read all year. Don’t be distracted by the somewhat serious cover – this is a fun read that you’ll devour like it was a box of chocolates.
Our heroine is Kika Shores, who lives to travel. She likes nothing better than exploring new horizons whether it be for a weekend, month or year. After a year of backpacking around the world, she’s had to return home and join the rat race to fund more trips and get her idea for a store/blog off the ground. Naturally, she’s not liking this and after treating her work flippantly one time too many, she’s fired (after a hilarious scavenger hunt around NYC for her arch rival). But a lifeline comes Kika’s way via the Darling family – will she be their au pair in London? Kika jumps at the chance for the opportunity to have a great base for European trips and catch up with Lochlon, her boyfriend from her trip. Not to mention the adorable Darling girls, Gwen and Mina. But staying in the one spot has its downsides – there’s Aston Hyde Bettencourt the grumpy yet alluring next door neighbour, problems with Mina and a change in Lochlon.
Nicole Trilivas has an incredible way with words – it’s no wonder that she won the Wattpad Marian Keyes contest, as her style and humour brought Keyes’ writing to my mind. This girl is laugh out loud funny in the way she crafts Kika’s scenes, yet they are completely realistic. Another highlight for me was the unique insults and exclamations that Kika uses (and Gwen invariably repeats, usually at a louder volume and directly in front of the person who said insult was intended for). There’s an absolute variety, from things that your grandparents would say to up to the minute variants that would stop even the nastiest junior bitch in her tracks. I loved how Trilivas wasn’t afraid to put Kika in crazy, cringe worthy situations yet Kika always battled through, with a tart remark and a badge of wisdom added to her arsenal.
The storyline is light, funny and never dull. Despite Kika doing the unbelievable and saving instead of travelling, there are plenty of glamourous scenes in Italy and London’s fanciest areas, with flashbacks to Kika’s grand trip. It’s definitely enough to satisfy your travel craving (and potentially add a few more places to your bucket list). You also get the benefit of seeing Kika grow up – from petulant, reluctant 9 to 5 worker to engaged, confident and happy member of Darling family. The story isn’t without its twists and bumps though – some are easy to spot, yet others come completely out of left field (particularly one involving Mrs Darling and her children’s future). The characters range from adorable (Gwen) to downright baddie (I’ll let you figure that out) and there’s an element of some of the magic of Mary Poppins and Pride and Prejudice too. Overall, this is a great story for the holidays as you’ll want to keep reading because it’s so engaging. I am really looking forward to more from Nicole Trilivas – I think I’ll start to clear a shelf for her novels right now.