“She’d decided long ago that life was a long journey. She would be strong and she would be weak, and both would be okay.” – Tahereh Mafi, Furthermore
Synopsis: 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. Her only companion is a boy named Oliver whose own magical ability is based in lies and deceit–and with a liar by her side in a land where nothing is as it seems, 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.
Eden: I’ve been eagerly awaiting this book for a while. When I heard that Mafi was going to have another book after the Shatter Me series (which I loved) I was really excited. My excitement was dampened by the idea that it would be middle grade. Then I read it and it wasn’t at all what I expected. It was beautifully written and so Mafi that once I finished I’d began thinking about rereading the Shatter Me series. 5/5 for Furthermore because Mafi just gets it, in my opinion.
Caitlynn: Mafi has just created such an amazing world and I really enjoyed reading Furthermore. It was such a cute story that kept me wanting to continue reading through the whole book. I was surprised since it’s a middle grade book how much I truly enjoyed it. 5/5 stars for me!
Jenn: I really loved this story. It was exactly what I wanted from Mafi and this middle grade book. It was cute and interesting and exciting. I love Mafi’s writing style and world building. Overall, I really have nothing bad to say about this book. I gave it 5/5 stars. Definitely pick it up. Even if you don’t typically read middle grade.
DISCUSSION & SPOILERS AHEAD: If you haven’t read Furthermore and plan to read it, it would be best not to read anymore.
Caitlynn: What did you guys think of it middle grade-wise.
Jenn: I thought it was an appropriately placed middle grade book.
Caitlynn: You would let your classes read it?
Note: Eden and Jenn are sixth grade language arts teachers.
Jenn: Yeah definitely. I’m planning to suggest it for a Sunshine State Standard book next year.
Eden: Same. I was just talking to our librarian about it.
Jenn: What did you think about the middle grade status, Caitlynn?
Caitlynn: I loved it. When I read the excerpt of it I wasn’t quite sure how I felt because it was so different from anything I’d ever read before. It was such a strange world but I really enjoyed it.
Jenn: It was very fable-y.
Eden: Yes, I loved that it was like I was reading a fable. I’m hoping there’s another one though.
Caitlynn: I mean she has to. With that ending she has to.
Jenn: She doesn’t have to. I think she left it perfectly so she can go either way.
Caitlynn: Here dad is back and everything so it’s like “Come on! We need to see where this goes!”
Eden: So this is Tahereh Mafi’s first book outside of Shatter Me series. How did you guys feel the transition went?
Jenn: I don’t think there were any problems at all.
Caitlynn: Yeah. Her writing is so ridiculous. I would hate to see them try to turn this into a TV show or something because they wouldn’t do her writing justice.
Eden: I could definitely see a Tim Burton movie from this movie.
*We spend about 5 minutes talking about how Caitlynn had no idea that Mafi and Ransom Riggs were married.*
Eden: Can we just focus really quickly on how this was great for kids but it’s also something adults can read? There are many middle grade books that I won’t read because they are truly for children. This was much more than just a kids book.
Caitlynn: It was cute because you learned different things and then there’s a lot of great lessons in it for children. It was a good coming of age book.
Eden: Yeah, like love yourself and whatever.
Jenn: And who cares what adults tell you in life just run away so you can get what you want out of life.
Jenn: I will say I liked the worlds. I liked the different settings between each town.
Eden: Yes! I will say when I read about the town of Still with those women in pant suits chasing Oliver and Alice I was laughing so hard because the image was amazing. I know it was supposed to be a terrifying moment in the book but it had me laughing so hard.
Caitlynn: I thought the fox was going to be a cool dude since he was on the cover and some of the chapter pages.
Jenn: I mean he wasn’t not a cool dude.
Caitlynn: He tore off Alice’s arm!
Eden and Jenn: ON ACCIDENT!
Eden: Would you not be my friend if I ripped your arm off on accident?
Caitlynn: I mean…
Jenn: He gave them the advice that they needed ultimately for her to be able to find her father.
Caitlynn: True. But he was still a questionable story character.