By: Tahereh Mafi
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Format: Print ARC
There are only three things that matter to twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. The day Father disappears from Ferenwood he takes nothing but a ruler with him. But it’s been almost three years since then, and Alice is determined to find him. She loves her father even more than she loves adventure, and she’s about to embark on one to find the other.
But bringing Father home is no small matter. In order to find him she’ll have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is a boy named Oliver whose own magical ability is based in lies and deceit–and with a liar by her side in a land where nothing is as it seems, it will take all of Alice’s wits (and every limb she’s got) to find Father and return home to Ferenwood in one piece. On her quest to find Father, Alice must first find herself–and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss.
I am not usually a fan of middle grade but since this was written by Mafi I knew I’d have to give it a try. This book was EXCELLENT. It could very well be my favorite MG book I’ve read (at least in recent memory). This was such a quirky, original and fun book. The language was a bit strange at times- or at least the world building was. I suggest just going along with it and not trying to understand every detail. As you read you’ll become more and more accustomed to the world and soon it’ll all make sense.
The characters were wonderfully complex. The main character, Alice, was such a fun character to follow and get to know. She was the only person in Ferenwood that was pale and not bursting with color. In this world you can see how much magic a person has by how bright they are. So, being pale and devoid of color makes Alice looked down upon and brushed off by the people around her…even her own mother. There was deep sadness in her and I felt so sad for her. The one person that boosted her and made her feel worthy was her father. He’s been missing for the past years leaving Alice alone.
There was one person that wants to reach out to her, Oliver. He hurt her in the past so she refused to trust him though she had no choice but to work along side him for a common goal. These two had such a complicated relationship and I absolutely loved watching them grow as individuals and with each other. The progression of their trust in each other and their dependence was so well done. It was very realistic and it really had me rooting for them.
The world was really complex and I really hope that Mafi decides to write more books taking place within Ferenwood and Furthermore. These sister lands are similar to one another yet incredibly different. Both are full of magic yet Furthermore has nonsense rules and the citizens veer on the strange. Throughout Alice’s journey she ventures to many parts of Furthermore and meets up with characters that will not soon be forgotten. One of my favorite parts was in the land of Still. I was absolutely creeped out and it was delicious.
I do think Furthermore is a standalone but I really hope for more! I want to see what becomes of Alice and Oliver as they age. A bit of the backstory of these lands was touched on but I could see many stories being written to expand on this past.
Furthermore was such a beautifully told story with incredible characters and a whimsical world. I don’t know if it was supposed to have a touch of Alice in Wonderland but to me it did. I absolutely loved this world and the journey the characters took. I think readers of all ages will love this story.