Colour and magic combine in this enchanting new middle grade fantasy from the bestselling author of the Shatter Me series.
Born as blank as canvas in a world brimming with colour and magic, Alice's pale skin and milk-white hair mark her as an outcast. Because, for the people of Ferenwood, colour and magic are one and the same. And since the disappearance of her beloved father, Alice is more determined than ever to prove herself and her own magical abilities.
To do so she'll have to travel into the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, with the help of a fiercely annoying boy named Oliver. But nothing in Furthermore is as it seems, and it will take all of Alice's wits to find her father and return him safely home.
- ISBN10 0141373385
- ISBN13 9780141373386
- Publish Date 1 September 2016 (first published 30 August 2016)
- Publish Status Active
- Publish Country GB
- Publisher Penguin Putnam Inc
- Imprint Puffin
- Format Paperback (B-Format (198x129 mm))
- Pages 416
- Language English
I bought Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi after reading a sample and falling in love with the storytelling. As beautiful as it was, however, it's not exactly my kind of story.
Let's talk positives first, though. I loved the storytelling. It's absolutely enchanting, and I was completely under Mafi's spell. The story is told in third person, but there is a narrator - a narrator telling the reader the story, who has opinions and shares asides, and occasionally acknowledges and talks directly to the reader. I loved Alice, she was such a great character; strong and determined in some ways, yet also full of self-doubt and self-esteem problems. I loved how all the characters talked, as if they had just walked out of Downton Abbey. And I loved the general message the story conveyed about body image and self-confidence.
'Anyway, it wasn't that she needed anyone to like her.It was just that she already liked herself so much and found herself so very interesting (and smart and creative and nice and funny and friendly and genuine) that she really couldn't understand why it wasn't easier for her to fit in.And besides, Alice thought she was very pretty.Her hair didn't have any color or shape to it, but there wasn't anything wrong with it. It didn't talk or spit on people or accidentally kick small children in the toes.And her skin had no color or luster to it, but it covered all her inside parts, and it wasn't foul or sticky or covered in fur.' (p37)
'"Darling Alice," [Father] said, reaching for her. "Why must you look like the rest of us? Why do you have to be the one to change? Change the way we see. Don't change the way you are."' (p254)
Just gorgeous, right? I love it, and I love what Furthermore had to say on the topic as they book ended.
However, the basic plot of this story is one I've come across a number of times before, and one I just don't enjoy. It's the plot where a person has a task to complete in some other strange world, and to complete that task, they must get from A to Z, but to get to Z, they must stop at B and C and D and so on, and at each place there is an obstacle, some danger, that stops them from continuing until they can somehow get around/defeat it - and not only that, everything is very, very odd. Think Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll or Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova. Furthermoer is really a very imaginative story, and I loved the wordplay that created some of the obstacles - the things we say about time, for example - but this type of story just isn't one I enjoy. I find the stop-start, stop-start of the story very frustrating.
Saying that, as a middle grade novel, I could see how the target audience would really enjoy this story. It is captivating and enchanting, and really quite beautiful. It's just not the kind of story I enjoy, sadly.
I stood in line for this... had others stand in line for it. Needless to say I WANTED it and WANTED to love it. But there was a major disconnect for me and I'm finally marking what actually happened months ago. DNF. I'll still cherish the signature and the beautiful cover, but unfortunately I wasn't able to connect with the MC or make sense of the world. I'll still pick up Tahereh Mafi's future work and give it a shot though- her writing continues to be lovely.
Alice is magnificent, unique and incredibly lovely. The reader is introduced to Alice on the eve of her twelfth birthday, a day that poses great significance in the small town of Ferenwood, a community flushed with colour and magic. With her bangle adorned limbs and ravenous taste for eating blooms, Alice is a monochrome canvas which ensures her unseemly status as a pariah. At the tender age of nine years old, Alice's father mysteriously vanished leaving Alice a wistful version of the girl she one was. But it seems childhood nemesis Oliver knows where her father has gone and although Oliver is an insufferable bore, Alice believes once she finds her father, her world will become radiant once more.
The tentative companionship between Alice and Oliver was incredibly charming. Oliver is conventional and often demure while Alice is loud, boisterous and fond of adventure. Together Alice and Oliver must navigate Furthermore, an enchanting world in which time shall not be wasted and visitors are appetising. Nevertheless, Alice is absolutely delighted by Furthermore despite Oliver's insistence to keep her oblivious to the dangers the two young travellers are facing.
The world Tahereh Mafi has created is imaginative, whimsical and incredibly vivid. It was devastatingly spectacular. Furthermore also touches on feelings of abandonment, deception and a sense of belonging in a world in which you are labelled a pariah. Alice feels desolate, her lack of aesthetic colour leaves her detached from her community and will resonate with readers. Her loneliness is palpable. One of my favourite aspects of middle grade reads is the absence of romance. It allows authors to create wonderful friendships between characters, as is the case with Alice and Oliver.
Futhermore is a beautiful exploration of middle grade fantasy, captivating and a fantastically fanciful narrative. Tahereh Mafi is an exquisite author who crafts words delicately, lovingly, ethereally and Furthermore is immaculate.
Why do you have to change? Change the way we see. Don't change the way you are.
I really don't read middle grades, but I am a Mafi fan and seriously, this cover is stunning. So, I waited on the line at BEA, and I was not disappointed by this book. Mafi created this fascinating world of wonder and whimsy. Alice's journey was a joy to be a part of, and my heart felt so much for this special girl. Tahereh Mafi explores so many topics (prejudice, abandonment, loneliness, friendship, trust, the list goes on and on), but they are dealt with in that fairy tale type way. Bottom line, I smiled from beginning to end.