“Furthermore,” by New York Times best-selling author Tahereh Mafi, is a fairy-tale-like story that captures the reader from start to finish.
Alice Alexis Queensmeadow was born without pigmentation—her skin is white, her hair is white, her eyes are a barely-there honey color and only on very rare occasions can she blush the faintest shade of pink. In Ferenwood, a place where magic is color and color is magic, Alice is an outsider.
Alice’s father, the only person who has ever truly loved her, disappeared three years ago with nothing but a ruler in his pocket. Alice has made it her mission to find him.
In order to do this, Alice must travel through the whimsical and dangerous land of Furthermore, where nothing is what it seems while also being completely forthright.
With a secretive boy named Oliver as her only companion and tour guide, Alice must use her wits to tackle the dangers that lie in Furthermore so she may finally find her father.
The best thing about a middle-grade novel is when it can be read and fully enjoyed by an older audience. “Furthermore” soars in this respect. Not once did I find myself feeling annoyed or patronized because of the intended audience this book aimed at.
This largely has to do with the fact that Mafi is so gifted in her craft. Her writing never fails to impress and take my breath away with its beauty.
Her utilization of second-person only added to the story and the narration. It made me smile every time I was referred to as “dear reader” or “friend” in the narrator’s asides.
Mafi also seems to be hyper-aware of the readers and puts her complete trust in them to follow the story, offering explanations via the narrator only when absolutely necessary. This is refreshing, especially in middle-grade and young-adult literature, when so often the age of a reader is seen negatively and results in authors not trusting their readers to keep up.
Mafi trusts her readers, wholeheartedly, and it is incredible how nice that feels.
As for the story itself, it was completely enchanting. Furthermore was such an exciting place to experience. From lonely skies that ask for dirt as a gift because they will never be able to touch the ground, to a terrifying place called Still, to paper foxes that can talk, of course. Every aspect of Furthermore, though completely terrifying in its own way, was captivating.
Next to her incredible world building, I was even more impressed with Mafi’s characters. She developed both Alice and Oliver so well over the course of the book. Along with getting the chance to experience more of Furthermore, I do hope we get a second book so I can follow Alice and Oliver along on their next adventure.
Ending with the ever-important message of learning to love yourself because you are different, “Furthermore” is Mafi at her best, and it comes at my highest recommendation.
“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.”