AD • I received a copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and opinions are entirely my own.
Happy new year, friends and welcome to my first post of 2022! Kicking it off with a review of the phenomenal debut, Wahala by Nikki May. This book has been described as Sex and the City meets My Sister, the Serial Killer and seeing other readers’ opinions of those comps has been interesting in itself. Set in contemporary London, this is a suspenseful story of friendship, secrets and betrayal centring three mixed-race women in their 30s. Wahala was one of the last books I read in 2021 and yet it made my top 10 reads list immediately. It’s THAT good and I will sing all of its praises. So let’s talk about Wahala!
by Nikki May
Date of Publication: 6th January 2022
Genre: Literary Fiction • Mystery/Thriller
Format: eBook (375 pages)
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Hardback • eBook • Audiobook
Ronke wants happily ever after and 2.2. kids. She’s dating Kayode and wants him to be “the one” (perfect, like her dead father). Her friends think he’s just another in a long line of dodgy Nigerian boyfriends.
Boo has everything Ronke wants—a kind husband, gorgeous child. But she’s frustrated, unfulfilled, plagued by guilt, and desperate to remember who she used to be.
Simi is the golden one with the perfect lifestyle. No one knows she’s crippled by impostor syndrome and tempted to pack it all in each time her boss mentions her “urban vibe.” Her husband thinks they’re trying for a baby. She’s not.
When the high-flying, charismatic Isobel explodes into the group, it seems at first she’s bringing out the best in each woman. (She gets Simi an interview in Hong Kong! Goes jogging with Boo!) But the more Isobel intervenes, the more chaos she sows, and Ronke, Simi, and Boo’s close friendship begins to crack.
A sharp, modern take on friendship, ambition, culture, and betrayal, Wahala (trouble) is an unforgettable novel from a brilliant new voice.
Wahala by Nikki May is a compelling page-turner of a novel from the very beginning. It’s a strong debut – dark and thrilling while also appealing to fans of contemporary fiction. One of its greatest strengths is how character driven it is. Multiple POVs don’t always work for me but this felt so flawlessly natural as it alternated between Ronke, Simi and Boo’s perspectives. I absolutely adored Ronke and felt a deep attachment to her from the start.
I thought that it was a fantastic choice to not show Isobel’s POV. That really helped ramp up the suspense. Who is this newcomer? What are her true intentions and motivations? And when those pieces finally come together… Wow.
In regards to those comparisons that I mentioned earlier, I don’t see the SATC ones beyond this being a story about a tight-knit group of friends. However, I can see why it’s compared to My Sister, the Serial Killer. They’re very different stories so while it’s not a strict readalike, there’s enough similarity in the underlying themes – especially since sisterhood and friendship aren’t too far detached.
Overall, I absolutely loved this book. I can’t wait to see what the author comes out with next and I am so excited to watch the TV adaptation when that’s released because I’m sure it will be equally fantastic.
Will you be adding Wahala to your TBR? Let me know your thoughts below.