Nikki May’s Wahala (HarperCollins 2022) is Sex in the City meets Working Moms meets a psychological thriller. The novel, set in England, revolves around a group of three Anglo-Nigerian friends whose worlds are shattered when a fourth joins. It’s vibrant, colorful, and enough to make you hungry. (There are even recipes at the end. I would love to try my hand at moin-moin or jollof rice, and I’m hungry just thinking about it.)
Ronke is my favorite. She is a caregiver with the personality of a warm hug. She’s who you call to take care of your kids. She’s the one you call when you’re sick and hungry. She’s the one you call when you’re sad and lonely. She’s dependable and loyal. She wants to get married and have kids, but her picker is a little broken. Her current boyfriend, Kayode, is a sore spot with her friends. They don’t think he’s good enough for her.
Boo is my least favorite. She’s married to a Frenchman and is the only one of the group with a child. She’s insufferable. She’s dissatisfied with her life, which makes her susceptible to being manipulated when Isobel joins the group.
Simi came from money, but her family lost it when she was young. She’s spent significant time trying to bridge what her life was like before and what she’s successfully built it up to. She’s married to Martin and life is golden. Only he thinks they’re trying for a baby, but she doesn’t want kids. Isobel is one of her childhood friends, from when Simi was filthy rich, who has suddenly reappeared.
Isobel is extremely wealthy and privileged. She manages to weasel her way into the group with her charm and chameleon-like personality. The other women, especially Boo, embrace her and welcome her into the group – well, except for Ronke, who keeps her at arm’s length.
Wahala means trouble, and this book is full of it. As Isobel gets her hooks into the women, secrets tumble forth and lives are forever changed. Can their friendship survive Isobel?
This a brilliant debut. It’s fast-paced, intoxicating, and positively delightful. And a TV series is already in the works from BBC. I can’t wait.
Read this book.