Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: Dutton (30th Aug 2016)
Format/Source: Paperback (sent by Penguin Random House Malaysia for review)
There are only three things that matter to twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and colour, 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 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.
Rainlight and little bursts of stardust! Isn’t the cover of Tahereh Mafi’s Furthermore the most beautiful thing you’ve ever laid eyes on? Look at the explosion of colours! Don’t the pretty colours just draw you in and entice you to pick Furthermore up? Hello, my beloved bookish readers. How are you? Have you read anything good lately? In other words, have you read Furthermore yet?
“The morning arrived the way Alice imagined a whisper would: in tendrils of gray and threads of gold, quietly, quietly. The sky was illuminated with great care and deliberation, and she leaned back to watch it bloom.”
If you haven’t had the chance to read Furthermore, I strongly suggest you to do so because – I’m just going to slide it in – your life is mono-coloured if you haven’t. Furthermore was such a fun-filled adventure that will give your life a little bit more colour. Or lots of it.
I fell in love with Mafi’s writing when I read Shatter Me and its sequel, Unravel Me (I have not got around to reading Ignite Me because I have a huge TBR – we are all the same) so naturally, I nearly jumped off the table when I found out that Mafi will be releasing a middle grade (MG) novel called Furthermore which sounds amazing and it isn’t an Alice in Wonderland retelling, in case you’re wondering.
“Alice knew that being different would always be difficult; she knew that there was no magic that would erase narrow-mindedness or iron out the inequities in life. But Alice was also beginning to learn that life was never lived in absolutes. People would both love her and rebuff her; they would show both kindness and prejudice. 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. Alice.”
Mafi’s first MG novel, Furthermore follows the story of a young girl, Alice Alexis Queensmeadow, who was born pale into a world full of colour. Ferenwood is a magical land where its habitants live and breathe colour. Unfortunately, life isn’t a bed of roses for Alice for she is different. Instead of having luscious red hair or sparkling emerald eyes, she has features that are milk white and the only sliver of colour on her is her eyes. Furthermore is the story of Alice’s journey as she embarks on a quest to find her lost Father and ultimately, learn the truth about herself.
“It was so much easier to fight for another than it was to fight for oneself.”
Written from a third person’s narrative, the narrator follows Alice and Oliver, her friend with silvery hair on their quest, giving little snippets and telling the story to the readers. I thoroughly enjoyed Mafi’s latest book because it was fun, whimsical and completely nonsensical. Can you imagine a world where rain that won’t get you wet? The world building in Furthermore was fantastically done and Mafi didn’t disappoint in creating a world so vibrant and rich in imagination. Think of reading a Tim Burton-esque story with the most eccentric and wonderful characters.
“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.”
The plot of Furhermore is pretty straightforward as it centres around Alice and Oliver’s quest as they navigate through the different magical worlds in search of her Father who mysteriously disappeared. Although I thought the pacing was inconsistent at times and the ending was rather abrupt, it was still an unforgettable reading experience for me.
“Red was ruby, green was fluorescent, yellow was simply incandescent. Color was life. Color was everything.
Color, you see, was the universal sign of magic.”
For someone who usually reads YA, I was pleasantly surprised that it was something that I would enjoy. Mafi’s latest book delivers a story of a young girl who overcomes her ordinariness and embraces who she is, all the while learning to truly accept herself. And it’s also an adorable tale of friendship between two very unlikely friends.
I’d like to thank Penguin US and Penguin Random House Malaysia for a copy of Furthermore for review.