Girls Who Travel by Nicole Trilivas

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.

Year: 2015

Pages: 326

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.

Q&A with Nicole Trilivas, author of Girls Who Travel

Today I am delighted to have Nicole Trilivas on the blog to talk about her debut novel, Girls Who Travel. It’s a joy to read and perfect for lazy holiday afternoons.

Thank you so much Nicole for stopping by Sam Still Reading to answer some of my questions today. I loved Girls Who Travel – it was witty and fun. Kika was a great heroine to read about. First of all, I noticed that you’re the winner of the Wattpad Marian Keyes contest – congratulations! – with an abridged version of Girls Who Travel. How did the idea for the novel come about and how did you get involved in the contest?

I’m so glad that you enjoyed Girls Who Travel! The idea of the book came from a distant friend who became an au pair for a family abroad. When I saw her photos on social media, I thought 1) oh man, why didn’t I become an au pair abroad? And 2) that would make a really fun book!

In regards to the contest: I was in the midst of trying to find an agent for Girls Who Travel when I stumbled upon Wattpad, which is just such a great platform for writers and readers (Wattpad readers are so genuine!). And when I saw that one of the writers I admired most, Marian Keyes, was involved in their contest, I knew I had to submit my story! I credit Wattpad with getting me an agent and everything that followed—that platform (and the people who run it) are nothing short of amazing.

To what degree are Kika’s travels inspired by your own?

At first, I found it easier to place Kika in settings I myself had visited, such as Goa and London, but it was equally fun doing a bit a research on new places I didn’t know so well—like Positano!

I never had the kind of “roadmance” that Kika had; however, I was always desperate to! It was fun living out this fantasy with Kika and giving her, her very own Before Sunrise moment (have you seen the film? If not, check it out!).

Girls Who Travel is witty and the insults that Kika comes out with are hilarious! How did you think all of these up?

Thank you! I’m so glad that the humor came through. Some of the best advice out there is to write as if you’re talking to a friend. I have a wonderful (and crazy) group of friends who collectively are just some of the funniest people I know, and so I tried to write in a way that they would make them crack up.

One of the characters I loved (besides Kika and Aston) was Gwen. Was there a particular inspiration for her?

Funny you should ask—Gwen was this character I invented years and years ago to amuse my little siblings. I would do a silly voice for her and eventually we developed this whole persona around her. My mom always said I should write a children’s book series based on Gwen, so I decided to sneak her into this book as a sort of inside joke!

The family that Kika works for in London as an au pair is called Darling. Is this a reference to Kika never wanting to grow up, like in Peter Pan?

Yes! Excellent observation! I peppered in some Peter Pan mythology into the book and I’m impressed that you picked up on it. At one point, Kika mentions that Lochlon is Peter Pan, but ultimately, we see that she’s the one best suited for rewriting the script on what it means to grow up and evolve as a person.

Finally, I love to read about author’s favourite books. What are your top reads for people travelling?

Ooo fun question! My top reads for travelers are as follows: The Beach by Alex Garland is a must for any backpacker who craves a diversion from the beaten track. Around the World In Eighty Days by Jules Verne is a surprisingly digestible read—it’s uncomplicated but not without naivety (let’s just say that you can tell it was written in 1876). And of course Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, because I will always appreciate the use of travel as a means of self-discovery!

Thanks Nicole! You can find out more about Nicole on her website. Girls Who Travel is now available, the links below will take you to buy the book directly (note, I don’t get any financial incentive, just warm fuzzies from these links).

Booktopia | Readings | Book Depository | Boffins | Dymocks |

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Kobo |

Monday 23/11/15: In the mailbox & what I’m reading

I had a few days off last week and it was a very good time to be home! I got a few parcels in the mail and did some shopping (I still haven’t finished Christmas shopping though…oops).

I received a copy of Girls Who Travel by Nicole Trilivas from Penguin, it’s the perfect summer read. I actually read it in a day, something I don’t get the opportunity to do very often. It’s about Kika, who adores travelling but to fund her dream needs to do some boring office type work. Then things turn pear shaped and she’s fired, only to get a job as an au pair in London. Is this the perfect place for more travel and meeting her boyfriend, or something else?

I also received two books from Hachette, the first being The Life and Death of Sophie Stark by Anna North. The story of Sophie is told be those who loved her – and those who were at the mercy of this film director’s genius. It’s out December in Australia. Also out next month, is an adult historical fiction book by Sarra Manning. After the Last Dance is a dual narrative story between WWII London and present day Las Vegas. As sparks fly between Jane and Rose, can they make peace with their secrets?

I also snuck in a small Booktopia order:

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff has intrigued me with its mix of documents, dossiers and transcripts. This YA novel is set in 2575 and involves space opera, zombies, politics and romance. It’s also the first in a trilogy, plus my copy is signed. Yay! Bill Bryson’s The Road to Little Dribbling
has him back in Britain making a new journey twenty years after Notes from a Small Island.

If you want to check out more exciting bookshelves, do drop by the Mailbox Monday blog for links to everyone’s mailbox goodies. Overseen by Vicki (I’d Rather Be at the Beach), Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) and Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit), I’m sure you’ll find many books for the wish list!

It’s Monday! What are you reading? hosted by Book Date and formerly by Book Journey and J Kaye. Click on the pictures to read more about the books.

What I Read Last Week:

Girls Who Travel by Nicole Trivilas

What I’m Reading at the Moment:

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante


Nothing at the moment – need to decide this today!

Up Next:

Not too sure…feel free to recommend me something!