Book Review: Wahala


Ronke, Simi and Boo are inseparable mixed-race friends living in London. They have the gift of two cultures, Nigerian and English, though not all of them choose to see it that way.

When Isobel, a lethally glamorous friend from their past arrives in town, she is determined to fix their futures for them. Cracks in their friendship begin to appear, and it is soon obvious Isobel is not sorting but wrecking. When she is driven to a terrible act, the women are forced to reckon with a crime in their past that may just have repeated itself.


Wahala by Nikki May follows the friendship and lives of three best friends— Boo, Ronke & Simi—all of Anglo-Nigerian descent. These have known each other since college and are currently busy dealing with the drama in their respective careers and personal lives. Ronke wants to get married but has a knack for picking the wrong guys. Boo is channelising her energy to strike a perfect balance between career and motherhood, while Simi simply wishes to lead her life her own way without submitting to the pressures around her. All looks well when an old friend of Simi’s, Isobel, comes in and tries to befriend all of them. Little do they know she is about to bring havoc in their lives that could lead to a permanent dent in their friendships.

I got drawn to this book for its unusual title—Wahala, which means trouble. Nikki May has weaved a world that brings out many emotions for the reader. Through the simplicity of her writing, she’s done an incredible job at humanising the protagonist, particularly in exploring her identity. I felt so much for Ronke, who became my favourite character from the story. I could relate to her sensitivity towards those who mean the world to her and the subsequent betrayal. All three characters are flawed and messy in their colourful ways. You’d love them, hate them, feel for them altogether for their actions. Through the fiction world, Nikki has tried to draw our attention to the most effective element of any relationship- clear communication. When one is devoid of that, possible fallouts are bound to happen. 

There was another part in the story that I really liked— prioritising yourself when the need arises. When Boo realises how serious her errors are and how they could lead to brutal consequences, she resolves to fix all of that. It is a gentle reminder that family is your ultimate gift for life. 

In the end, I want to add that Wahala is a book that you would like to finish at one go because it keeps going intense and engrossing from one page to another. 

Indeed, one of the hottest debuts of 2022!

What has been the recent read you couldn’t put down?


Wahala was published on 5th January 2022 by Penguin Books Australia. You can purchase the book here.

Book Details:

AuthorNikki May
PublisherPenguin Books Australia
List Price32.99 AUD