“FURTHERMORE,” by Tahereh Mafi, Dutton Books for Young Readers, Aug. 30, 2016, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 9 and up)
Twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow lives in a land of magic where people eat flowers and the sun rains. Ferenwood is a land built on color, so it is strange that Alice has none. Alice — who has no pigment save her eyes, which bear the faintest shade of honey — is white as milk from the hair on her head to the end of her toes. Alice stands out for all the wrong reasons, but she’s ready to show the world her greatest gift, surrender and take on a task designed specifically for her.
Twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow fails. Her gift simply isn’t enough. Alice is a disappointment to everyone, everyone except Oliver. Oliver knows the real Alice. He knows she chose the wrong talent to surrender, and he needs that talent to help him complete his own task — saving Alice’s father.
Alice’s father disappeared three years ago. He left with nothing but a ruler and never came back. Alice would do anything to get him back, and so she agrees to join Oliver on his quest to Furthermore.
Furthermore is a land of myths and legends that turn out to be more truth than tale. Alice must put her trust in Oliver whose own magical ability is based in lies and deceit if she’s going to save her father and make it through Furthermore in one piece.
“Furthermore” is unlike any book I’ve ever read. This makes every turn of the page exciting and unexpected, but it also means it takes a while to acquaint yourself with a new world.
Author Tahereh Mafi is fully in control. She gently eases you into her creation with a slow and steady pace that picks up naturally as the story moves forward. Her prose is lyrical and deliberate, requiring you follow her stride rather than taking things at your own speed.
While I appreciate Mafi’s thoughtful approach, I felt her ending a bit rushed and easily resolved. For a book that has as many twists and turns throughout, I was expecting a bit more meat at the end. I am, however, grateful she did come to a complete resolution. The door is open for more stories in the Alice’s world, but this one wraps up in a mostly satisfying way.
In “Furthermore” Tahereh Mafi has created a magical world that is enticing as it is colorful. “Furhtermore” is a great choice for stronger middle-graders and has wide crossover appeal into young adult.
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