FURTHERMORE --- Tahereh Mafi’s debut into middle grade --- follows 12-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow, who lives in a world full of vivid color and yet she has none. Ever since her father left home and never came back, Alice has been determined to find him. Alice’s one chance to leave her unhappy home with her mother is the Surrender. She must surrender her best talent to receive a quest, but when Alice surrenders the wrong talent she loses her chance to leave Ferenwood. Except she gets a proposition from a boy named Oliver, a boy who used to bully her. Oliver needs Alice’s help to complete his own quest --- that is very much tied to Alice --- which will lead them to a place called Furthermore.
"If there’s one thing you can expect from Tahereh Mafi it is beautiful writing. FURTHERMORE is decadent and vivid; it truly is magical and imaginative."
If there’s one thing you can expect from Tahereh Mafi it is beautiful writing. FURTHERMORE is decadent and vivid; it truly is magical and imaginative. The narration is excellently executed. The novel is written with an omniscient narrator who uses free indirect discourse --- essentially the narrator is present in the story and takes on a personality. It is quirky, funny and heartwarming. It reads like Jane Austen’s writing, but it is in a fantasy middle grade novel.
Tahereh Mafi cemented the fact that she is an incredible world builder with this novel. She has created not one but two world in this story. You are first introduced to Ferenwood --- Alice’s home --- which is a world full of color and magic and then you are exported to Furthermore, which is also full of magic but it is completely wacky and like nothing you have ever read before. From paper foxes to books filling people’s pockets, FURTHERMORE shines for its strangeness which will surely make you fall in love with it.
The novel’s pacing is the only problematic part of it. The middle did drag on for a bit without much clear direction, while the end wrapped up too quickly. It seemed like this was going to be a series because the major conflict had not been resolved, but then it was wrapped up in about two chapters. It wasn’t as satisfying as it could have been it was was expanded upon in the detail of the rest of the novel.
FURTHERMORE is a fun and colorful adventure that is both beautiful and uniquely imaginative. This story feels familiar, reminiscent of ALICE IN WONDERLAND and other fantasy stories, but Mafi brings new life to it. Fans of the Shatter Me series will not be disappointed in her newest novel.
Reviewed by Dana Cuadrado on August 22, 2016