So this had been sitting on my shelf for a really long time! I had heard really good things about it, decided I really needed to get my hands on it… and then never read it. Story of my life. But now, I’ve finally dedicated time to it and it’s been a breath of fresh, Furthermore air!
Spoiler Free Review
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers, 2016
(from GR) Alice Alexis Queensmeadow, 12, rates three things most important: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. Father disappeared from Ferenwood with only a ruler, almost three years ago. But she will 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 Oliver whose own magic is based in lies and deceit. Alice must first find herself—and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss.
This sounded like it would be just… a delightful story, and that’s exactly what this was. It was the perfect read for a summery day in the garden, which is exactly where I finished this novel. There was so much to find fun and lovely in this novel.
First, the characters. I couldn’t resist when there was a character called Alice! She is feisty and determined and right and wrong and all the things you want in the heroine of a middle grade story. She is different from everyone else, and sees this as something that deters her; be even though this is the case, she is still determined to not let it stop her seeking adventure. I thought that was really admirable. And of course there were parts where you were like, ‘What are you doing?!’, but ultimately she was pretty mindful, if not set in her ways.
Oliver was also a likeable lad, although you are never quite sure how to take him. He is equally determined, if not a little more reserved, but really blossoms into someone who can trust. I loved watching their budding friendship evolve and seeing them rely on each other. My heart squeezed everything time they held hands – I’m a really sucker for that type of stuff!
And we can’t forget the narrator – I love a narrator that dips into the story to tell you snippets, especially in a middle grade novel and one of this genre. It really added to the fairytale-esque atmosphere.
The plot was one we’ve seen hundreds of times before – girl goes in search of something that’s missing and ends up on treacherous adventure – but that didn’t make it any less exciting. And yes, there is a little bit of predictability in this story. But what made this story more unique was Mafi’s writing, which was just beautiful and almost edible… if that’s a thing. I loved her descriptions of Ferenwood and Furthermore, and again these added to the wonderful atmosphere.
The only thing that let this down a little for me was that it felt very similar to The Girl Who Circumnavigated… Series by Cathrynne M Valente. I have read quite a few in that series, and it felt like both of these stories had been made in this same pot but had been given different seasonings. If I hadn’t read those books, I feel like this would have been a spetacular and different read, but it wasn’t – it fell a little short.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars!
Still thoroughly enjoyed this read! If I hadn’t have read Valente’s stories, then the rating probably would have been different. But still a lovely book for a summery day! Let Alice’s adventure take your cares away!