“Unfold your heart. Sharpen your ears. And never say no to the world when it asks you to dance.”
Furthermore is Tahereh Mafi’s break into the world of middle grade fiction. Alice Queensmeadow is a twelve-year-old who must travel to an unknown land in order to save her father—the one person, she believes, that loves her completely colorless self (a bit of a big deal in her home of Ferenwood). Alice’s father has been missing for over three years having left town with only a ruler. Alice must complete the father-finding quest with Oliver, who just happens to be her worst enemy (or so she thinks), and the pair must overcome many obstacles on their journey—avoid being eaten by the citizens of Furthermore, broken rulers, stolen time, and miscommunication with each other.
Diving into this, I had no clue that this was an Alice in Wonderland retelling. All I knew is that the Tahereh Mafi had a new book coming out (her first since the release of the final Shatter Me book in 2014), and I had to read it. Futhermore is every bit whimsical and magical. Futhermore is a completely different experience than Mafi’s Shatter Me series; however, Mafi’s gorgeous poetic voice still shines through passages such as:
“Winter snow and autumn leaves and spring showers had frozen in place. Raindrops shimmered, suspended, like the air wore earrings, and thousands at a time. Snowflakes stuck to the sky like glitter to glue. Autumn leaves had fallen but never to the ground, and the fluttered in the gentle wind, ornaments hung on a holiday breeze, brown and orange and red and yellow, caught in a moment that cold not be forgot.”
I will admit the first half of the book seemed to drag a bit, and at times was a little confusing. The second half of the book, the action seemed to pick up, and it seemed the plot was more clear. I feel like some of the confusedness of the book is Mafi’s nod to the great Lewis Caroll’s Alice (because let’s be honest, sometimes Caroll’s Alice can be a bit confusing as well), and how can one fault one for that?
At its core, Furthermore is a wonderful story about loving yourself for who you are and discovering that sometimes first impressions are tainted with misunderstandings. It is a story of the love of friendship. And even with its somewhat slow start, is a story with a message that all young people need to read.
Christen is a ravenous reader, wanna be author, Litfuse Nester, and slightly addicted to coffee. Lives in Arkansas with her husband and three mini people. Connect with her at her blog: http://ChristenKrumm.com or Twitter @ChristenKrumm.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Dutton Books for Young Readers. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.