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Wahala: A Novel Paperback – Deckle Edge, Jan. 11 2022

4.2 out of 5 stars 649 ratings

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Paperback, Deckle Edge, Jan. 11 2022
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“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

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

“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." —

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

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

“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

“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

About the Author

Born in Bristol and raised in Lagos, Nikki May is Anglo-Nigerian. At twenty, she dropped out of medical school, moved to London, and began a career in advertising, going on to run a successful agency. Her inspiration for Wahala came after a long (and loud) lunch with friends.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Custom House (Jan. 11 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 384 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0063239361
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0063239364
  • Item weight ‏ : ‎ 408 g
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 15.24 x 2.44 x 22.86 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 649 ratings

About the author

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Born in Bristol, raised in Lagos, NIKKI MAY is Anglo-Nigerian. She ran a successful ad agency before turning to writing. Her debut novel WAHALA was inspired by a long (and loud) lunch with friends. It will be published around the world in January 2022 and is being turned into major BBC TV drama. She lives in Dorset with her husband, two standard schnauzers, and way too many books.

You can follow Nikki on Twitter: @NikkiOMay

Or Instagram: @nikkimaywriter

Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5
649 global ratings

Top review from Canada

Reviewed in Canada on February 16, 2022
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Top reviews from other countries

V. O'Regan
5.0 out of 5 stars Lively comedy drama about friendship and trouble
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 6, 2022
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2 people found this helpful
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Bukola Akinyemi
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy read, dramatic
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 2, 2022
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Bukola Akinyemi
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy read, dramatic
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 2, 2022
By Nikki May

Different, that’s one word I would use to describe this book. For me, it was like reading a reality show instead of watching it.

Set in London, this story mainly follows three friends, Ronke, Simi and Boo.

The three friends seem really close until Isobel, a friend from the past arrives. We start seeing holes in the tight friendship. Isobel is a crazy character, she gets close to each of the other ladies and brings out the worst in them.

Themes covered in this book include race (all three girls are mixed-race) culture, marriage, friendship and parenting.

The writing style is conversational which makes it an easy read.

I love the cover, especially the UK version pictured above.

The ending part of this book reminded me of My Sister The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite and I’ll better stop there before I drop more spoilers.
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One person found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every star!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 29, 2022
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Rob Clarke
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, poignant and engaging view of Nigerians living in the U.K.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 22, 2022
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars raced through this
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 9, 2022
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