Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers on 8/30/16
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy
My content rating: MG (Nothing inappropriate for this age group)
he bestselling author of the Shatter Me series takes readers beyond the limits of their imagination in this captivating new middle grade adventure 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. 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.
Okay, I lied. My actual review for this book probably isn’t going to be all that whimsical, but the book itself certainly is! This is an ADORABLE middle grade read, filled with colorful descriptions of magical happenings and set in the topsy-turvy, sometimes baffling world of Furthermore.
What Fed My Addiction:
- Furthermore. If you read the blurb of this book, you will know exactly what to expect. Not only does it do a fantastic job of describing the plot, it sets the tone for the book. Just reading the description of Furthermore makes me smile – and I was grinning pretty much the entire time as I read about Alice’s journey through the peculiar land. It is just as odd as it sounds in the blurb – and that’s what makes it wonderful! I never knew what to expect next. Neither did Alice. I loved that the journey through Furthermore was dangerous and thrilling, but the book is still perfectly suitable for a middle grade audience because of the light, whimsical tone.
- High stakes. The story in this book is similar to Alice in Wonderland in that so many strange and wonderful things happen to Alice (hmmm … I just now realized the name thing … I wonder if that was intentional) and she’s thrown into a confusing world with so many unknown rules. Breaking those rules can often have life-altering (or life ending!) results. Alice and Oliver have to keep their wits about them and sometimes rely on pure luck. The stakes are doubly high for Alice, who desperately wants to find her father before it’s too late – and it becomes more and more apparent as the book goes on that her father is in grave danger in this impossibly crazy world!
- Alice. I loved Alice’s tenacious drive to get to her father at all costs and her endless optimism, even when things are difficult. Her journey is poignant because she discovers so much about herself along the way. Alice is used to thinking of herself as ugly and unwanted – a colorless girl in a world that values color (which represents magic) above all else. She has only ever felt loved by her father – but that’s probably at least partially because she has trouble loving herself. Alice’s personal journey is just as compelling as her travels through Furthermore.
What Left Me Hungry for More:
- Rushed ending. This is actually a pretty big negative, and I struggled with my rating because of it. After nearly 400 pages of whimsical adventure and danger, the book is wrapped up in about ten pages. Even my 12-year-old daughter mentioned that she felt the ending came out of nowhere – you didn’t even realize that Alice was near her goal, and suddenly everything was over, fixed almost instantly with very little fanfare. It was really quite jarring and more than a little disappointing.
As I mentioned, this book was very difficult for me to rate because I felt so disappointed in the ending. Still, I ended up deciding that the journey was worth it. The fact that my daughter instantly asked me after she was finished reading if there would be another one was another big bonus for me – she wasn’t ready for the journey through Furthermore to end! (I couldn’t find any reference to another book, by the way, but Mafi definitely left things open for a future foray into this world – while still wrapping up the current story.) In the end, I decided that I was so enchanted with most of the book that I would only take off a half star for the ending, and I settled on 4.5/5 Stars.
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via BEA16 in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
I thought I’d try to capture the whimsical feel of the book. The artwork was done by Tabitha Pabkins. (And the butterfly was painted by my dear daughter. 🙂 )
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