Wahala: A Novel (Paperback)
January 2022 Indie Next List
“Wahala offers a fresh, suspenseful, and insightful exploration of the darker complexities of friendship, romance, and ambition from the perspectives of three Anglo-Nigerian women.”
— Alyssa Raymond, Copper Dog Books, Beverly, MA
"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.
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.
“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