Book Review: Wahala

I have had this book blow up on my bookstagram feeds, which I ignored and then a friend of mine was reading it and I thought to myself, hmm maybe, I should give it a chance. So here we are many weeks later and I have to admit I read it pretty quickly considering my usual pace and decided I needed to make it one of our book reviews because well, why not? This week on the blog, we will be reviewing Nikki May’s “Wahala’, read a long!


Simi: Appears to have the perfect life, a great job in the fashion industry, a gorgeous apartment, a wonderful steady and successful husband in Martin, except they should be trying for a baby, but Simi is secretly on the pill, she is also struggling with cripling imposter syndrome.
Boo: possesses the “idealistic” life Ronke is so desperate to emulate. Married to Didier and their 5 year old daughter Sofia, she feels she has lost who she is as a person outside of being a mother and a wife.
Ronke: successful dentist, extremely eager to have the ideal family of 2.2 kids, perfect home and perfect doting father. She is currently dating Kayode King and would very much like for him to be the man she has this life with.
Isobel: Charismatic and very successful childhood friend of Simi’s appears out of the blue from Nigeria, she begins to interject herself into their lives, relationships and friendships.


The book follows the lives and love lives of three Anglo-Nigerian best friends, Simi, Boo & Ronke, all three girls are mixed raced; being 1/2 Nigerian and 1/2 White British, but all have a very different experience with their own mixed identities and the sides of their cultures they feel the closest to. They are all very successful in their own right and have what appears to be pretty stable, steady lives and friendships. That is until Isobel is reintroduced into Simi’s life and into Boo and Ronke’s lives. She comes across as kind, full of life, generous, extremely wealthy and the life of the party. She begins to get to know each of the women separately and begins to weave a web of deceit and secrets until these lies and half truths begin to affect not only their friendships, but also their relationships, all leading up to a deadly plot twist.

Break It Down

I suppose I should be fair and say what a refreshing book this is to be following 3 successful Black women, who show levels of depth and complexities you don’t often see. I do think the book attempted to touch on some heavy subjects, such as race and identity, motherhood, self-love; the list goes on. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t think it dug deep enough, it was all a bit too “light” and skirted around some of the issues and in someways I asked myself why bring it up in the 1st place then? I did think the discussion of needing excitement or some sort of shake up in your steady, “mundane” life is something that many women probably face, losing yourself in your family life and child. And building levels of resentment because you feel stuck. These were some of the feelings Boo was dealing with, but she never spoke to her husband about it. For all intents and purposes, the book plays the partners out to be very good males, they are not problematic, in fact they are all very hands on, interested parties, which makes it even more puzzling that Boo would choose to cheat on her husband rather than talk to him about her feels, considering he is literally always helping and supportive of her. I struggled with her “character” the most, because I simply couldn’t not see what her issue was.


Some of the issues I took with this book, was how obvious it seemed to me ( the reader ), that Isobel was causing drama. For 3 women who claim to know each other so well, it genuinely didn’t seem to take much to add doubt in their mind about their friendship. And as much as Isobel was conniving, I didn’t think she was especially intelligent in even trying to hide her scheme, it simply took Simi, Ronke & Boo much longer than I expected to figure it all out. Maybe it’s just me, but if someone I know keeps insisting on meeting me alone and in the process proceeds to badmouth one of my closest friends, it wouldn’t fly and I would simply no longer have solo meet ups with them. But, I accept it’s not the author’s main focus. Another thing I didn’t like, is the ending. Throughout the book, it was filled with details and you can essentially see the scenes/drama play out as you’re reading. Then once the ending arrived, and it didn’t have any of the same build up and to me it very much fell flat. I wanted Isobel to meet justice for what she had done, but to have her simply laugh it off and essentially end the book was like a lead balloon.

Book Club Questions

Q: Are there lingering questions from the book you’re still thinking about?
I had so many questions when this book ended, I felt like the reader deserved some sort of closure or explanation about why Isobel felt not only the need to attempt to ruin this trios’ friendship, but ultimately to KILL Kayode. Like none of it adds up or makes any sense at all, I understand she was in love with him and it upset her that he had moved on, legit like many years later, with someone else, but the idea that you would take someone’s life for that doesn’t make any legitimate sense to me.

Q: If you could ask the author anything, what would it be?
A: I would like to know why she felt it was important to ensure her characters were “well off” or in a higher income bracket and why she felt this needed to be reflected.

Q: Did the plot proceed in a way that felt natural? Or did you feel manipulated by the storyline?
A: Absolutely not! I felt like the book was a little confused and in some ways, it followed a pace and then rushed the ending. I can follow the breaks in friendships, the professional uncertainty, feeling stuck in your life, etc, but I cannot for the life of me understand or even follow the plot line of the murder of Kayode, it doesn’t fit the book in my opinion. I’m not saying the book needed to end happy go lucky, but I just didn’t expect the murder because it didn’t make sense to me. Adding to this, the fact that it seemed to be written in a rushed manner, so it didn’t provide the reader much more insight or clarity.

Q: Did the characters seem believable to you?
In some ways yes, and in others no- I felt like they could have been more complex or given more detail as to why they were the way they were. Especially Boo, I still fully understand the reason behind her anger towards her family. When you have such a hands on partner who literally is trusting and allows her the space to do what she desires, she cheats on him and then proceeds to blame him for her infidelity. I know people do this, but this didn’t make sense for the character or at least from my perspective.

Q: How did your opinion of the book change as you read it?
My opinion of the book at the beginning was great, it was a wonderful page turner and it felt great to be a fly on the wall, so I was fully living vicariously through the characters. Fast forward to the scene where they’re at Isobel’s huge party for her niece and Ronke overhears her friends not only make fun of her but also make a mockery of her relationship with Kayode; this to me, for such a deeply connected group of friends, felt off. To allow Isobel to bad mouth your friend and then to add more to the topic was a huge bad move for Boo and Simi, but yet somehow Ronke forgivers them. And I understand that is Ronke’s character flaw, but who are these women who are supposed to be like sisters to you.

Would We Recommend?

I would recommend because the “cast” of characters are not ones we are used to exploring when it comes to fiction. In some ways, they reminded me of Black versions of Sex And The City (although I never watched the show, it’s what I image it to be like). To celebrate those characters alone, it’s worth picking up the book, so I would most definitely say to have a read!

RnR Rating

3.5, I could be generous and add maybe a 0.5, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that because I was very disappointed in the drama of the ending, so I couldn’t bring myself add the 0.5.

Book Club Questions- UCF Alumni Book Club Wahala by Nikki May

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