Wahala means trouble in Nigerian and boy is this novel aptly named! The story follows three lifelong mixed-race Nigerian girls who bonded over their shared cultural heritage. Now living in London, each of the three is trying to find their happiness in their relationships, careers and friendships. Each has a issues with their upbringing that impact their present lives. Ronke is a truly lovable dentist who hasn’t yet nailed down her new Nigerian boyfriend. Her friends Boo and Simi are both married to white men and think she should be as well. Boo is in a rut with her husband and a bit stuck in motherhood she’s looking for some action in her life. Simi is married to a man who is very successful but pressing her to get pregnant. The friends have the perfect balance and trust between them until the day Isobel arrives. Isobel seems like the perfect posh friend to reinvigorate them all but just what’s her motivation to ingratiate herself with these three? You will be surprised how this one turns!
I’d say this one is a bit hard to characterize. It is a strong character story in the vein of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie until about 3/4 of the way through and then I see where the “thriller” title comes in. I’m not sure it’s a thriller in a traditional sense but when the action kicks in, you are really cringing and hoping for the best for our girls. They are on a collision course with disaster and you’re really hoping they figure out what’s going on before it’s too late.
There are beautiful notes of love to Nigerian culture, scathing moments of rebuke of the darker aspects of their culture and poignant moments of balancing being mixed-race and mixed-culture. I enjoyed the friendship of the three and learning more about how hard it is to balance two starkly different cultures. My only criticism is that I found Boo really unlikable, I wish she had some redeeming qualities. I disliked her more than I did Isobel and I don’t think that was the author’s goal. Otherwise, this was a refreshing take on a traditional thriller. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐
Thanks to Netgalley for early access to this novel. All opinions above are my own.
Tell me, do you like a straight-ahead twisty thriller or one with more substance to it?