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Wahala: The hottest debut of 2022 Hardcover – 6 April 2022

4.1 out of 5 stars 858 ratings

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Review

What makes this slow-burn story of friendship and vengeance refreshing and original is the exhilarating ease with which it portrays a London steeped in the colours and sounds of Lagos ― THE TIMES, Best popular fiction books of 2022 so far

Full of food, humour and pitch-perfect observation ―
STYLIST MAGAZINE, Books you cannot miss in 2022

All the ride or die realness of female friendship is captured perfectly in this funny, multi-layered, just-another-chapter-before-you-turn-out-the-light novel. ―
RED MAGAZINE

This is the book on everyone's lips...a razor-sharp book about friendship that will have you on the edge of your seat. With a cast of engaging characters, this bold tale of friendship, race and love will leave you marvelling at this fresh new voice in fiction. One of 2022's most exciting debuts ―
MY WEEKLY, Editor's Pick

It's surprising, it's fun, it's incredibly funny and will give you characters you'll take to your heart in all their flawed glory, keeping you hooked to the very last page ―
Editor's Choice, BBC Radio 4 'Open Book'

Beautifully written and fabulously fresh debut. It's sad, funny, clever and contains important messages. Utterly addictive and my hands-down favourite this week ―
DAILY MAIL

I have a feeling this book is going to be huge! It examines friendships that are held together by the thinnest of threads, all the doubts and questions that come from the choices women face, self-destruction, good intentions, bad intentions and a creeping sense of... well, trouble ―
MARIANNE CRONIN, author of THE ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF LENNI AND MARGOT

A gloriously biting story of secrets and friendships ―
FABULOUS MAGAZINE

''Wahala' means 'trouble' and there's plenty of it in this entertaining debut. A fascinating, funny and nuanced look at identity and female friendship ―
GUARDIAN

Has all the makings of a modern blockbuster ―
VOGUE

Pull up a seat at the brunch table for this delicious debut novel as the lives of three women are unsettled by a seductive interloper. WAHALA is like the best gossip with friends: witty, tense, addictive ―
ABIGAIL DEAN, author of GIRL A

A fun and juicy read with a dash of drama, just like all the best friendships ―
GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

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

Wow, what a debut! I was left wanting more - more of Ronke, Boo and Simi and more of Nikki's brilliant writing about food and friendship. Warm and fun, I loved watching the more sinister side to the story emerge. Fantastic!

SARAH PEARSE, author of THE SANATORIUM

A funny, tragic, piercing portrait of modern women and friendship written in glittering and discerning prose ―
EMMA STONEX, Author of THE LAMPLIGHTERS

WAHALA delivers! Nikki's style is warm and comforting on one page and razor-sharp on the next. There's a twist folks, and it's not one I saw coming. ― LIZZY DENT, author of THE SUMMER JOB and THE SET-UP

Sometimes it's not enough to just read a novel, you actually want to climb inside it. I adored hanging out with Ronke, Boo and Simi and I miss them already. ―
CLARE POOLEY, author of THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT

Bold, juicy and real! WAHALA is tense and powerful, it's friendship at its best and its worst, and it's THE book to read this year! ―
LAUREN NORTH, author of SAFE AT HOME

Sharp, precise, unapologetic, modern. In one word, Exquisite! ―
Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström, author of IN EVERY MIRROR SHE'S BLACK

Dazzling and bursting with life. WAHALA is as joyous, complex and all-encompassing as female friendship itself. I loved it. ―
TAMMY COHEN, author of THE WEDDING PARTY

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. Their loves and wahala ("trouble") brought to mind 'Sex and the City' but felt more modern, more real. When I closed Nikki May's delicious, hilarious novel, I knew it was time to call my friends...time to get into some good wahala of my own

AMANDA EYRE WARD, author of THE JETSETTERS

LOVED
Wahala. Funny and sharp - I completely fell in love with the characters. Definitely one to add to your list ― LAURA MARSHALL, Author of FRIEND REQUEST

Dark, fresh, compelling - all about female friendship and with an outstanding cast of vibrant loveable (and not-so-loveable) characters ―
ELIZABETH KAY, Author of SEVEN LIES

Fast-paced and filled with witty dialogue, and the book explores the depth and complexity of friendships between women ―
INDEPENDENT: 10 BEST BOOKS BY BLACK AUTHORS

Wildly entertaining ―
THE BOOKSELLER

I LOVED this absolute cracker of a book about the cuckoo in the next and a toxic female friendship. Highly recommended ―
LIZ NUGENT, author of LYING IN WAIT and OUR LITTLE CRUELTIES

I loved hanging out with Ronke, Simi and Boo. A brilliant portrayal of how complicated friendships can sometimes be ―
NINA POTTELL

This story draws you in and spits you out, breathless. Echoes of Atwood's
The Robber Bride but so its own thing. A treat.KATE SAWYER, author of THE STRANDING

A heady mix of friendship, dark comedy and murder. WAHALA is razor sharp ―
OK! MAGAZINE

May's nuanced exploration of race and gender makes this refreshing. This will leave readers intrigued to see what May does next ―
PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY

A terrific, witty debut ―
I-NEWS

WAHALA hooked me from page one and kept me enthralled till the (TWIST!) end. A riot of colour and noise, friendships, enemies, secrets, lies and soul food. Written with a lightness of touch. Insightful, clever, and honest. I will read anything and everything she writes ―
ERICKA WALLER, author of DOG DAYS

This gripping debut is a journey of friendship, revenge and finding your true self ―
STYLIST MAGAZINE

Nikki May builds a propulsive reading experience as she slowly reveals Isobel's manipulations while keeping the reasons behind them hidden. Compelling character studies of each of the women don't shy away from the jealousies and judgements that sometimes make the line between friend and enemy razor thin...A fascinating look at the dark side of female friendship ―
KIRKUS

A funny brilliant read ―
BELLA

This will satisfy hungry appetites and blow your thriller taste buds. Deliciously spicy ―
HEAT MAGAZINE, Read of the Week

Nikki May's sharp and funny debut novel is a delight on many levels. WAHALA bursts with life from start to finish ―
DAILY EXPRESS, 'Books of 2022'

May seamlessly weaves love, betrayal, self-reflection, and Nigerian food, clothing, and customs into this fast-paced debut...Fans of domestic suspense will revel in this tale of friendship, family, and forgiveness, set in the cultural milieu of Lagos ―
LIBRARY JOURNAL

Sharp and darkly witty ―
CULTURE FLY

A rapid and wildly hilarious page-turner ―
COUNTRY AND TOWN HOUSE

A hotly tipped debut for 2022 ―
DAILY EXPRESS

WAHALA combines a frank and daring exploration of modern female friendship with a dark, punchy thriller ―
WOMAN AND HOME

Fabulously fun ―
PRIMA MAGAZINE

May's skill for weaving together entertaining personal problems with a wistfulness for Nigerian food, customs and culture is unparalleled. WAHALA is hard to put down - an energetic, entertaining interrogation of a fundamentally flawed friendship ―
I-NEWS

Refreshing and original. Exhilarating ―
SUNDAY TIMES, Best Popular Fiction of 2022

Contemporary female friendship goes glam in this lively debut novel with remarkable depth ―
WASHINGTON POST

I would definitely recommend this book to friends. I already have! ―
Recommended Read, Steve Wright's BBC Radio 2 Book Club

Sharply observed ... sophisticated and culturally adept ... May is a masterful chronicler of Black upper-middle-class lie 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 competition that runs through so many friendships and daily interactions and, most of all, how easily intimacy can morph into enmity ―
NPR.ORG

Witty-wity-edge. Its humour is pin sharp ―
THE SHIFT, Sam Baker's Summer Reading

A dazzling, rich and efferverscent read. It's relevant and full of life. The killer edge was unexpectedly shocking. Just fantastic in every way ―
NB MAGAZINE

A glorious read ―
STYLIST MAGAZINE, 'The Style List'

Spicy as Aunty K's moin moin, satisfying as a plate of Ronke's jollof rice ―
SAGA MAGAZINE

Pacy, fun and gripping ... May wanted to write "a brown Sex and the City, or a brown Big Little Lies" - we reckon WAHALA could be just as big ―
EVENING STANDARD, Faces of 2022

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 debut novel WAHALA was inspired by a long lunch with friends. It will be published around the world and is due to be turned into a major TV serial. Nikki lives in Dorset with her husband and two standard Schnauzers.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ DOUBLEDAY UK (6 April 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 384 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0857527789
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0857527783
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 14.4 x 3.5 x 22.2 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.1 out of 5 stars 858 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

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5
858 global ratings

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Top review from Australia

Reviewed in Australia on 14 June 2022

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 6 January 2022
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3 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 2 March 2022
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4.0 out of 5 stars Easy read, dramatic
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 March 2022
Wahala
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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Michele
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every star!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 January 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 22 January 2022
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars raced through this
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 9 April 2022
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