Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 30, 2016
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Inspired by her childhood love of books like The Secret Garden and The Chronicles of Narnia, bestselling author Tahereh Mafi crafts a spellbinding new world where color is currency, adventure is inevitable, and friendship is found in the most unexpected places.
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. 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.
My Review (first shared on February 10, 2017):
Life is pretty rough for Alice. In a world full of color and magic, Alice has no color and a magic skill she'd rather forget. To make matters worse, her father disappeared three years ago and her mother is taking her grief out on Alice. When her Surrender goes badly, and the boy who called her ugly won't leave her alone, she decides to embark on a journey into the dangerous land of Furthermore on a quest to find her father. I read this to my daughter and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. The pacing was good with nice waves of excitement and relative calm with many interesting people and places along the journey. While clearly influenced by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, it is a most entertaining tale in its own right.
The author does a remarkable job of painting a vivid picture of the colorful land of Ferenwood and the mixed-up chaotic land of Furthermore. The story is told from the perspective of an unknown third person who we learn along the way is relating this story as told to them by Alice. The narrator directly addresses the reader on many occasions (is it still called "breaking the fourth wall" in a book?) which has the potential to be distracting but it didn't distract in this book. My only minor complaint is that the ending arrives a bit too quickly (and unexpectedly), but I'm not sure I'd have liked it any better had the timing been different. The author has left it open for the possibility of a sequel and my daughter and I are both hoping this is true. We need to know what happens to Alice next!
I'm not normally a collector of quotes as I read... but Furthermore had THREE quotes that made me stop and ponder (and snap a picture with my phone so I could remember them later).
---Laughter was a silk that would soften even the roughest moments.
---They two had torn holes in each other, and the wounds, unhealed, had only led to more pain.
---The simple truth was that Alice would always be different - but to be different was to be extraordinary, and to be extraordinary was an adventure. It no longer mattered how the world saw her; what mattered was how Alice saw herself.
Miss R's Review (my daughter was 9 years old when she wrote this):
I really like Furthermore because it's very adventurous. It is a little dark at times, for instance, when Alice's arm gets pulled off (I don't want to give too many spoilers). I would say that if you are concerned about a book where a parent has gone missing, it might be too scary. But it is heartwarming at the end. My favorite character is Alice because she is adventurous and she doesn't let anything stop her, even though she runs into problems. I'm really hoping there is a sequel! [2022 note: There is a companion book!] I recommend it to kids who like heartwarming stories, adventure, and a little bit of scariness and craziness happening.
Author's site: https://taherehmafi.com/