Written by Tahereh Mafi
Middle Grade, Fantasy
Published September 1st
Thank you to the lovely Valerie
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Born as blank as canvas in a world brimming with colour and magic, Alice's pale skin and milk white hair mark her as an outcast. Because, for the people of Ferenwood, colour and magic are one and the same. And since the disappearance of her beloved father, Alice is more determined than ever to prove herself and her own magical abilities.
To do so she'll have to travel into the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, with the help of a fiercely annoying boy named Oliver. But nothing in Furthermore is as it seems, and it will take all of Alice's wits to find her father and return him safely home.
The small town of Ferenwood is an eruption of colour, radiant as the magic that consumes the community. Where up is down and night is day, the sun rarely rains and the blossoming flowers are delicious. But for twelve year old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow, her world has been reduced to monochrome. Born without colour, Alice lives within the shadows as a mere servant of her cantankerous mother, yearning for the man who illuminated her life. Since her father mysteriously disappeared several years ago, the Surrender will ensure Alice will be valued as a member of her community and tasked with a immense quest based on her magical abilities. Except Alice wants to dance and dance she will.
Oliver Newbanks is a bothersome nuisance and despite her defiance, Alice aches to find her father and accepts Oliver's proposition. Alice and Oliver will need to navigate the rules of Furthermore, an enchanting world in which time is a commodity and children are delectable. Alice is on the verge of a tremendous adventure. To survive Furthermore, find her father and paint her own canvas.
Alice is magnificent, unique and incredibly lovely. The reader is introduced to Alice on the eve of her twelfth birthday, a day that poses great significance in the small town of Ferenwood, a community flushed with colour and magic. With her bangle adorned limbs and ravenous taste for eating blooms, Alice is a monochrome canvas which ensures her unseemly status as a pariah. At the tender age of nine years old, Alice's father mysteriously vanished leaving Alice a wistful version of the girl she one was. But it seems childhood nemesis Oliver knows where her father has gone and although Oliver is an insufferable bore, Alice believes once she finds her father, her world will become radiant once more.
The tentative companionship between Alice and Oliver was incredibly charming. Oliver is conventional and often demure while Alice is loud, boisterous and fond of adventure. Together Alice and Oliver must navigate Furthermore, an enchanting world in which time shall not be wasted and visitors are appetising. Nevertheless, Alice is absolutely delighted by Furthermore despite Oliver's insistence to keep her oblivious to the dangers the two young travellers are facing.
The world Tahereh Mafi has created is imaginative, whimsical and incredibly vivid. It was devastatingly spectacular. Furthermore also touches on feelings of abandonment, deception and a sense of belonging in a world in which you are labelled a pariah. Alice feels desolate, her lack of aesthetic colour leaves her detached from her community and will resonate with readers. Her loneliness is palpable. One of my favourite aspects of middle grade reads is the absence of romance. It allows authors to create wonderful friendships between characters, as is the case with Alice and Oliver.
Futhermore is a beautiful exploration of middle grade fantasy, captivating and a fantastically fanciful narrative. Tahereh Mafi is an exquisite author who crafts words delicately, lovingly, ethereally and Furthermore is immaculate.