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Wahala: A Novel

Wahala: A Novel

by Nikki May

Narrated by Natalie Simpson

Unabridged — 10 hours, 19 minutes

Nikki May
Wahala: A Novel

Wahala: A Novel

by Nikki May

Narrated by Natalie Simpson

Unabridged — 10 hours, 19 minutes

Nikki May

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Overview

"Contemporary female friendship goes glam in this lively debut novel with remarkable depth." -- Washington Post

"Great fun and extremely smart." -- npr.org

NAMED A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2022 BY Vogue * Marie Claire * Glamour * Essence * Oprah Daily * Entertainment Weekly * Bustle * PopSugar * CrimeReads * and more!

An incisive and exhilarating debut novel following three Anglo-Nigerian best friends and the lethally glamorous fourth woman who infiltrates their group-the most unforgettable girls since Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha.

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 Shanghai! 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.



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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Audio

★ 06/01/2022

May's debut novel, titled after the Nigerian word for "trouble" follows a trio of friends who meet in grade school and bond over their shared British and Nigerian heritage. Ronke, Simi, and Boo have grown up as close as sisters. They have shared their successes, their dreams, and even their failures. Until now. With the introduction of Isobel, a childhood friend of Simi, things take a turn that has the potential to tear these lifelong friends apart for good. The audiobook is performed by Natalie Simpson, who deftly handles the different perspectives and whose voice and cadence perfectly lends itself to this delicious story. VERDICT May's novel delves into provocative and emotional points about colorism, body images, and wealth. It is a must-listen.—Anna Clark

Publishers Weekly

11/08/2021

In May’s breezy if overdramatic debut, the mutual friendship of three Anglo-Nigerian women is threatened by an interloper, a Russian Nigerian on a revenge trip. Isobel Adams holds a particular grudge against each of the successful and ambitious women who have been best friends for 17 years. There’s Boo, one of the numerous children Isobel’s father had with multiple women; Ronke Tinubu, the daughter of the man who had an affair with Isobel’s mother, and who now dates the man Isobel wants; and Simi, Isobel’s friend since they were five years old, who describes Isobel in a conversation with the others as “embarrassingly rich,” and whose father has been in a longtime feud with Isobel’s. May’s characters, despite all their accomplishments and intelligence—Ronke is a dentist, Boo has a PhD in bioinformatics, and Simi works as a brand executive for a fashion house—are easily taken in by Isobel, due to Isobel’s willingness to help open doors for them. After Isobel manipulates her way into the trio’s lives, someone in their orbit winds up violently killed. While some of Isobel’s destructive behavior is outlandishly implausible, May’s nuanced exploration of race and gender makes this refreshing. This will leave readers intrigued to see what May does next. (Jan.)

From the Publisher

The novel’s strength lies in May’s attention to her main characters’ identities. ...May’s breezy prose is well suited for these moments of casual intimacy, unfolding over drinks, at the hairdresser’s or at the kitchen table, where all the best gossip takes place.” — New York Times

“If And Just Like That... isn't exactly satisfying your modern Sex and the City itch, may we present to you Wahala. This dazzling debut centers on three Anglo-Nigerian best friends and the glamorous fourth woman who infiltrates their group....We couldn't help but wonder if they might need something stronger than a cosmopolitan to survive this.” — E! Online

“Sharply observed…sophisticated and culturally adept…May is a masterful chronicler of Black upper-middle-class life and ennui in Britain. Wahala is both great fun and extremely smart in how it captures some of the central issues in modern city living: women's evolving roles in home and work, interracial relationships and multicultural identity, the current of competition that runs through so many friendships and daily interactions and, most of all, how easily intimacy can morph into enmity." — NPR.org

"A fun, juicy read with a dash of drama, just like all the best friendships." — Good Housekeeping

“Nikki May's debut novel, Wahala, melds the beach read with the thriller—with a little dose of Sex and the City energy on the side.” — Entertainment Weekly

"Contemporary female friendship goes glam in this lively debut novel with remarkable depth." — Washington Post

Wahala is a solid, slow-burn, page-turning mystery...Worth the read.” — Associated Press

“This has bestseller written all over it. Fast-paced, funny, shocking, unputdownable. I loved it.”
— Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train and A Slow Fire Burning

"I couldn't get enough of the four women at the heart of Nikki May's utterly winning debut novel, WAHALA. Every evening, I sank into my bubble bath, eager to return to the lives of May's deep and complex characters: Simi, Ronke, Boo, and the fabulous (but maybe evil) Isobel. Their loves and wahala ("trouble") brought to mind Sex & the City but felt more modern, more real. When I closed Nikki May's delicious, hilarious novel, I felt I was returning to joy. I knew it was time to call my friends...time to get into some good wahala of my own." — Amanda Eyre Ward, New York Times bestselling author of The Jetsetters and The Lifeguards

"Wow, what a debut! Brilliant writing about food and friendship, warm and fun, and I loved watching the more sinister side to the story emerge. Fantastic!"
— Sarah Pearse, bestselling author of The Sanatorium

“Pull up a seat at the brunch table for this delicious debut novel, as the lives of three friends are unsettled by a seductive interloper. WAHALA is like the best gossip with friends: witty, tense, and entirely addictive.” — Abigail Dean, New York Times bestselling author of Girl A

"Witty, boldly contemporary, and sharply observed, this book is an illicit peek into the very secret lives of women—their fears and desires, their weaknesses and dreams, their relationships between each other and with a world too often fraught with prejudice and class divides. This is a must-read debut by a brilliant new voice in fiction."
— Nita Prose, author of The Maid

“I got so immersed in the lives of Simi, Ronke and Boo, such flawed, lovable women, I just raced through Wahala. Nikki May writes so well about friendship, food, fashion and the many ways modern women can stumble in their careers and personal lives.” — Clare Chambers, author of Small Pleasures

“I devoured it, Nikki May’s voice is sharp, precise unapologetic, and modern. In one word – Exquisite!” — Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström, author of In Every Mirror She’s Black

"Brilliant… a funny, tragic, piercing portrait of modern women and friendship, written in glittering and discerning prose." — Emma Stonex, bestselling author of The Lamplighters

"If you loved My Sister, The Serial Killer, and Expectation, this is a must-read. My only regret is not being able to read it beside a glittering swimming pool while sipping a cocktail!" — Marianne Cronin, author of The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot

"This is one of those books you want to crawl inside and inhabit. I loved hanging out with Simi, Ronke and Boo and I miss them already." — Clare Pooley, bestselling author of The Authenticity Project

"May seamlessly weaves love, betrayal, self-reflection, and Nigerian food, clothing, and customs into this fast-paced debut." — Library Journal (starred review)

"May's exciting and powerful first novel offers twists and turns that will leave the reader questioning how we’re going to get from A to B and loving every part of the ride." — Booklist

“An ode to female friendship with an unforgettable plot.” — Real Simple

“The upshot is a funny, slightly murdery story about three women and their wahala, or “trouble”—their boyfriends, their professional aspirations, and their weaves.” — Glamour

“Sharply funny and insightful, Wahala tackles realistic issues around colorism, race and imposter syndrome, while reveling in culture, fashion and food. (Recipes are included.) It seamlessly blends the friendship fiction with a more sinister thriller aspect. Readers will fall in love with this group of friends, hold their breath waiting to discover their fates and eagerly look forward to more from May.” — Shelf Awareness

"May's sharp and snappy writing, dialogue, and character work keep tightening the screws on a tension-filled plot that straddles two countries, like its protagonists....I could hardly turn the pages fast enough." — Popsugar

“A Sex and the City-esque story with thriller vibes.” — The Skimm

“Highly entertaining... an insightful look at racism, classism, female friendship, heritage and jealousy, while straddling a fine line between a light mystery and a hard-edged novel.” — Florida Sun-Sentinel

"Sort of like Sex and the City, but set in London. And with mystery. And murder." — Cosmopolitan

E! Online

If And Just Like That... isn't exactly satisfying your modern Sex and the City itch, may we present to you Wahala. This dazzling debut centers on three Anglo-Nigerian best friends and the glamorous fourth woman who infiltrates their group....We couldn't help but wonder if they might need something stronger than a cosmopolitan to survive this.

Good Housekeeping

"A fun, juicy read with a dash of drama, just like all the best friendships."

New York Times

The novel’s strength lies in May’s attention to her main characters’ identities. ...May’s breezy prose is well suited for these moments of casual intimacy, unfolding over drinks, at the hairdresser’s or at the kitchen table, where all the best gossip takes place.

NPR.org

Sharply observed…sophisticated and culturally adept…May is a masterful chronicler of Black upper-middle-class life and ennui in Britain. Wahala is both great fun and extremely smart in how it captures some of the central issues in modern city living: women's evolving roles in home and work, interracial relationships and multicultural identity, the current of competition that runs through so many friendships and daily interactions and, most of all, how easily intimacy can morph into enmity."

Amanda Eyre Ward

"I couldn't get enough of the four women at the heart of Nikki May's utterly winning debut novel, WAHALA. Every evening, I sank into my bubble bath, eager to return to the lives of May's deep and complex characters: Simi, Ronke, Boo, and the fabulous (but maybe evil) Isobel. Their loves and wahala ("trouble") brought to mind Sex & the City but felt more modern, more real. When I closed Nikki May's delicious, hilarious novel, I felt I was returning to joy. I knew it was time to call my friends...time to get into some good wahala of my own."

Sarah Pearse

"Wow, what a debut! Brilliant writing about food and friendship, warm and fun, and I loved watching the more sinister side to the story emerge. Fantastic!"

Entertainment Weekly

Nikki May's debut novel, Wahala, melds the beach read with the thriller — with a little dose of Sex and the City energy on the side.

Associated Press

Wahala is a solid, slow-burn, page-turning mystery...Worth the read.

Washington Post

"Contemporary female friendship goes glam in this lively debut novel with remarkable depth."

Paula Hawkins

This has bestseller written all over it. Fast-paced, funny, shocking, unputdownable. I loved it.”

Washington Post

"Contemporary female friendship goes glam in this lively debut novel with remarkable depth."

Abigail Dean

Pull up a seat at the brunch table for this delicious debut novel, as the lives of three friends are unsettled by a seductive interloper. WAHALA is like the best gossip with friends: witty, tense, and entirely addictive.

Nita Prose

"Witty, boldly contemporary, and sharply observed, this book is an illicit peek into the very secret lives of women—their fears and desires, their weaknesses and dreams, their relationships between each other and with a world too often fraught with prejudice and class divides. This is a must-read debut by a brilliant new voice in fiction."

Clare Chambers

I got so immersed in the lives of Simi, Ronke and Boo, such flawed, lovable women, I just raced through Wahala. Nikki May writes so well about friendship, food, fashion and the many ways modern women can stumble in their careers and personal lives.

Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström

I devoured it, Nikki May’s voice is sharp, precise unapologetic, and modern. In one word – Exquisite!

Emma Stonex

"Brilliant… a funny, tragic, piercing portrait of modern women and friendship, written in glittering and discerning prose."

Marianne Cronin

"If you loved My Sister, The Serial Killer, and Expectation, this is a must-read. My only regret is not being able to read it beside a glittering swimming pool while sipping a cocktail!"

Clare Pooley

"This is one of those books you want to crawl inside and inhabit. I loved hanging out with Simi, Ronke and Boo and I miss them already."

Library Journal

★ 12/01/2021

DEBUT May seamlessly weaves love, betrayal, self-reflection, and Nigerian food, clothing, and customs into this fast-paced debut. The Naija Posse is the nickname of three Anglo Nigerian best friends who live in London; all three are children of mixed-race marriages that were taboo in the 1970s. Single Ronke is a dentist and talented cook, specializing in Nigerian cuisine—jollof, moin-moin, pounded yam—but she yearns to have her own family. Simi is a successful businesswoman who's almost sure she doesn't want a baby, although her husband does. Boo is a wife and the mother to four-year-old Sophia, but she longs to get back to her career. When Simi's childhood friend Isobel, a wealthy Anglo Nigerian "glamazon," inserts herself into the group, each woman soon becomes disillusioned with her life. Isobel is wahala—trouble. Under the guise of friendship, she manipulates the women to reconsider their identities and take risky chances that lead to heartache. Then Isobel has a shocking revelation that will either strengthen the Naija Posse's bond or tear it apart. VERDICT Fans of domestic suspense will revel in this tale of friendship, family, and forgiveness, set in the cultural milieu of Lagos.—K.L. Romo, Duncanville, TX

Kirkus Reviews

2021-10-27
Three women unwittingly welcome a sinister presence into their friendship, wreaking havoc on their lives.

Ronke, Boo, and Simi have been friends for 17 years, since they met at university in Bristol. All mixed-raced Nigerian British women, they bonded over their shared identities. But now, at 35, though they remain constant presences in each other's lives, they're on very different paths: Ronke is a successful dentist, but she can’t get her flaky boyfriend, Kayode, to commit; Boo is married to mild-mannered Didier, with whom she shares precocious 5-year-old Sofia, but she feels trapped by their domestic routine; Simi is happily married to her husband, Martin, but she struggles with impostor syndrome at work and with Martin’s desire to have a child she’s not sure she’ll ever be ready for. Then Isobel enters their lives. When Simi’s childhood friend suddenly reappears, she ingratiates herself with the group. Flashy and wealthy, at first Isobel seems to offer excitement and encouragement to each of the women in turn. But when the foundations of the three friends’ lives grow more unsteady, her presence lurks in the cracks. The author builds a propulsive reading experience as she slowly reveals Isobel’s manipulations while keeping the reasons behind them hidden. Compelling character studies of each of the women don’t shy away from the jealousies and judgments that sometimes make the line between friend and enemy razor thin. But once the climax is reached, it’s clear that not all the narrative pieces fit together. Dropped threads (Ronke deals with a stalker who has no bearing on the overall plot; discussions of colorism and internalized racism are never fully explored) and missed opportunities (Isobel is written as a caricature of destruction, with no voice of her own) keep the book from greatness.

A fascinating look at the dark side of female friendship.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940176288612
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/31/2022
Edition description: Unabridged

Customer Reviews