'Sex and the City' with a killer edge for fans of QUEENIE, EXPECTATION and MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER
See me, see trouble
Ronke, Simi, Boo are three mixed-race friends living in London. They have the gift of two cultures, Nigerian and English, though they don't all choose to see it that way.
Everyday racism has never held them back, but now in their thirties, they question their future. Ronke wants a husband (he must be Nigerian); Boo enjoys (correction: endures) stay-at-home motherhood; while Simi, full of fashion career dreams, rolls her eyes as her boss refers to her 'urban vibe' yet again.
When Isobel, a lethally glamorous friend from their past arrives in town, she is determined to fix their futures for them.
Cracks in their friendship begin to appear, and it is soon obvious Isobel is not sorting but wrecking. When she is driven to a terrible act, the women are forced to reckon with a crime in their past that may just have repeated itself.
A darkly comic and bitingly subversive take on love, race and family, Wahala will have you laughing, crying and gasping in horror. Boldly political about class, colorism and cooking, here is a truly inclusive tale that will speak to anyone who has ever cherished friendship, in all its forms.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 39 members
I’m a sucker for a book which is described as “x thing I like meets y other thing I like” even though I’m nearly always disappointed. This one was described as “sex and the city meets my sister the serial killer”. And come on, how can I resist that? I will say as a starting point, is it definitely much more of the former than that latter but I just had such a good time reading it. I genuinely could not put it down. All the characters as so well defined which I loved as a person who regularly gets characters mixed up! It’s also much more nuanced than I expected and comes together in a way which was much more sophisticated than I expected. I ended up giving this 5 stars because I just had such a good time reading it. It’s a perfect summer read because it’s juicy and exciting and unputdownable without being thin or boring or over the top. I really loved this one and it was a great surprise!
I totally adored this book. I was so excited to get to read this book and it totally delivered. It was well written, had suspense, humour and was fascinating. A must read
This is bold, blistering, smart and witty. I absolutely loved Wahala! The book initially focuses on the lives and friendships of three mixed-race friends living in London. But Boo, Simi and Ronke are about to find their lives upended when Isobel, a glamorous friend from their past, turns up to wreak havoc. May is absolutely impeccable at dialogue, and the relatable (often hilarious) exchanges between the characters are what really sets this novel apart from other books about female friendship groups. I loved learning more about Nigerian culture and found the way that each character juggles their two distinct cultural identities was really fascinating and well-drawn (also, there are so many good passages about food!). I relished how the slow-burn suspense built throughout the novel and how the reader was free to piece together the clues about newcomer Isobel before the main characters realised what was happening (almost like watching a car-crash in slow motion...). Think Sex and the City meets My Sister the Serial Killer. I'd highly recommend it.
Before I begin, I'd just like to thank NetGalley, Random House UK, and Nikki May for sending me this ARC, and giving me the chance to read and review this joy of a book. Set in London, Wahala follows three mixed raced friends in their thirties- Ronke, Simi, and Boo. They're all facing different issues in life, mostly relationship type things, but also at work When lethally glamorous Isobel arrives on the scene, she seems determined to fix all their problems for them. But soon Ronke, Simi, and Boo's friendship begins to crack, and they realise that Isobel isn't fixing, she's breaking. When she is driven to a terrible crime, the women are forced to look into their pasts and face the truth. I really, really loved this book. It was gloriously dark, and the characters weren't perfect, but they were so real. It was so dark that at times it kind of shocked me to remember that it was based in modern day London- which was amazing. It was so real. The best part was the way that Nikki May actually managed to use Isobel's influence on the reader. Isobel says 'you hate x' and you find yourself hating x. Like, wow. And at the end, there's access to Ronke's recipes, which I loved. I love books with recipes as bonuses. Like, it's not like I'm going to make them (because your girl is lazy as hell) but it's just cool, you know? Wahala is also OwnVoices Anglo-Nigerian rep. My favourite character was Ronke. I think it was just her personality/vibe that I really liked.
The author notes reveal May has a background in advertising and that's apparent in this slickly executed tale of aspiration and revenge, which is so on point in terms of timing and references (that S&TC-meets-MSTS it's billed as, for example) the plot does, to some degree, feel brainstormed. Which is not to say it isn't also a big, warm-hearted read as well as a pacy one, with characters to root for aplenty, Very easy to see why the TV rights have been snapped up.
This is an excellent book about the relationships between three British Nigerian women an old friend and their are mostly absent fathers. The characters are well rounded and I found myself sympathising with all three of Boo, Simi and Ronke. I strongly suspect Ronke, a dentist with a so far lousy love life, is the author's favourite. She certainly is mine. I found myself rooting for her from the outset. The plot focusses on an old friend from Lagos being reintroduced into the women's lives. Their fathers loom large as invisible main characters, though only Simi's appears. I absolutely recommend this to anyone who wants a female focussed novel with a sinister plot twist. And as a bonus the author includes Nigerian recipes at the end!
Wahala is a tense and biting novel about what happens to three friends when a glamorous newcomer joins their group. Ronke, Simi, and Boo have been friends since university, three mixed race women now in their thirties and dealing with life and love. When Simi's childhood friend Isobel appears, at first the others are unsure, but soon it seems like her whirlwind of money and style might improve all their lives. However, cracks start appearing in their friendships and relationships with their partners, and secrets from the past are coming back. The book focuses on all three of the protagonists, with each chapter following a different one of them as they are drawn deeper into Isobel's world. The concept of the outsider who starts tearing apart a friendship group is a classic one, and this is a great example of the trope, with plot points all coming together and the reader knowing early on that Isobel is trouble, but being powerless to do anything but watch it happen. Sometimes stories with that kind of reader powerlessness frustrate me, but this one was carefully done so you trust that the plot is going somewhere. The main characters are interesting, all at quite different points in their lives and dealing with their different relationships to their British and Nigerian heritage. Ronke was the most suspicious of Isobel, which made her engaging, and her hope throughout the novel was powerful. Boo's story was frustrating in a cleverly written way, as a part-time stay-at-home mum deals with having someone encourage her to spice up her life, but this makes her feelings of resentment for her husband and child harder to deal with. Simi's narrative was perhaps less thrilling, but gave a chance for exploration of the conflicts she faced at work and with her family, and also about a woman who does not want to have children. There's a lot of issues explored in the novel in different ways, from dark comedy to more serious consideration of race and class (especially in the treatment of Ronke's boyfriend Kayode), and the book cleverly combines the plot with these elements. Wahala is a chance to plunge into the lives of three friends (like Isobel), and root for them to make it through without ruining their lives (unlike Isobel).
I don’t believe there has ever been a better time for such a dynamic novel. May has crafted a host of fearless, bold characters who leap off the page from the get go, and it was a pleasure to be so immediately immersed in Nigerian culture, which only exemplifies the author’s raw talent (I was also thrilled to find recipes at the end - what a treat!). The plot twist is fantastic, and I would absolutely recommend this work to anyone who loves suspenseful, contemporary narratives. Thank you to NetGalley and Randomhouse UK/Transworld for the privilege!
I was eagerly anticipating this novel as I was totally sold on the "sex and the city x my sister the serial killer" and it didn't let me down. I was gripped from the first page by this tale of toxic friendships, betrayal and past family secrets. Expertly weaving in 1990s Lagos and current London, May builds up the tension and pace between Iso and Ronke, Simi and Boo. I can't wait to see this on tv too!
Ronke, Simi and Boo. Three friends who share the same dual English - Nigerian heritage. And then there's Isobel. Isobel is trouble. And from the minute she arrives, the lives of the girls start unravelling... Is the past repeating itself? Absolutely wonderful characters
Three friends at varying stages of family life are muddling along nicely when a blast from the past comes onto the scene. The women all have links to Nigeria through birth, missing fathers and family. The newcomer is not the wonderful asset to the group that they all believe - and things start to fall apart. A most enjoyable read - the friendship group was beautifully described, along with the paranoia often found in female groups. The plotting was skillfully handled and I felt for the three women as they were manipulated by the scheming Isobel.
Ronke, Simi and Boo are best friends, and nothing can come between them... until the glamorous Isobel inserts herself into their lives like a knife. Smart, compulsive, and utterly readable, I raced through this book. Each woman's viewpoint is brilliantly painted, and the gradual unravelling of their lives and their secrets is darkly compelling. Nikki May has created a set of fantastic characters who pulled me in different directions, no matter what they were hiding. I really enjoyed this read and highly recommend it!