This is a series I will be running for a little while, highlighting some excellent children's literature. During the coming months, there will be many children's books. Stay tuned to learn more about it. Read previous posts in this series here.
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Press: Dutton Books For Young Readers
Release Date: August 30th, 2016
Source: Bought at local book store
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
This was a cute little middle-grade novel. I really enjoyed reading Furthermore, by Tahereh Mafi. It was my first novel by her, and it was definitely an odd story but one I loved.
I was nervous going into this book because I have heard so many bad things about her writing. Although, I thought that her writing was incredibly beautiful and descriptive. I did find that it was a slower paced story for a middle grade due to all the detail included, but it didn't take away from it.
I didn't always love the narrator, as she sort of got on my nerves a few time but that was okay. I enjoyed her whimsy and personality. She had an unwanted and series of unfortunate events vibe. Also, I can connect with her desire to find her father.
Format and Lack of Chapters:
I disliked the format of the story, I understand this is sort of petty and odd, but I need chapter numbers and more structure to a story. I felt as if this was a bit of a negative aspect that caused the book to drag a bit. Also at timesit was sort of lame.
The story follows a young 12-year-old girl named Alice Alexis Queensmeadow, she lives in a beautiful land called Fernwood. This is a place where color is everywhere, and magic is plentiful. In a world where beauty and self-worth are determined by how much color you have, Alice lacks any color. Indeed she is entirely white. This little girl has had quite the tragic life. Her father is missing, her mean mother is abusive at times, she is faced with the weight of the world on her shoulders. She's about to have a fantastic and incredible adventure.
The Magic System:
The magic system is probably one of the most whimsical and unstructured that I have ever read about. It wasn't exactly developed or explained. It was just sort of whatever was needed, would happen. There is no sensible explanation or why magic is currency. I am still so confused by this part of the book.
1) Alice- The main character was such a fun-loving 12-year-old girl. She could have been the most annoying character given her age, and at times she made choices that infuriated me but she's a kit. I loved her sassiness and how she never let anyone push her around. She fought for her family, the things she believed in, and never let anyone get her down.
2) Oliver- Gosh, this kid was infuriating. I hated his character so much in the book, then out of nowhere I came around. He was manipulative and borderline abusive to Alice in many ways at the beginning. He was shady and untruthful. But, I did love their friendship in the end and how much of an adventure they had. It was the story about how first impressions aren't always accurate. People need to be given a chance. That was a lesson we all need.
3) Mother- I wanted to save Alice and rescue her from her abusive mother. I hated this woman and the way she treated her.
This was such an interesting and fascinating land. The world that developed in this part was unlike anything I had yet to read about. It was in one word, refreshing. The development was spot on, and I really liked how quickly furthermore could change. There were so many villages unexplored I can see it becoming a series for sure.
The ending was surprising for me. While I did think it was wrapped up unrealistically perfect. We have to remember it is a middle-grade novel. That's they way they work. It is an issue for some and had this book been adult or YA even I would have marked off stars. For the genre, the book is in and age category it was entirely appropriate in my humble opinion.
Conclusion and Recommendations:
This book was such a fun and incredible read. I am so thankful I picked up this book up at my small local bookshop. It was the perfect middle-grade story. I recommend this to anyone who loves middle grade and enjoys the magic. Anyone that especially likes happy endings.
Links for purchase: Amazon // Target // Barnes & Noble //
Links for checking out the author: Goodreads // Twitter // Instagram // Website // Facebook // Pintrest
Inspired by her childhood love of books like The Secret Gardenand 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.