"Brimming with color and magic." —New York Times Book Review
★ New York Times bestseller!
★ Featured on "Late Night with Seth Meyers," NPR, TIME, and Entertainment Weekly
★ A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
★ A Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year
★ A Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year
★ Los Angeles Times and Publishers Weekly Holiday Gift Guide selections
Inspired by her childhood love of books like A Secret Garden and 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.
“Tahereh Mafi is a maestro of words, and Furthermore the most magical painting that ever existed, bursting with color and heart and humanity. I wanted to stay inside this masterpiece forever.” – Marie Lu, New York Times bestselling author of the Legend and The Young Elites series
"A place so full of enchanting beauty and topsy-turvy adventure, it even calls to mind Wonderland and Oz.... Friendship, family and self-acceptance. What makes this book truly sing is the lush world Mafi has created, brimming with color and magic." —New York Times Book Review
★ “Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi is a surprising, sensuous, delicious fantasy to devour.” –Shelf Awareness, starred review
★ "A fast-paced, funny, and richly imaginative story that embraces and celebrates individuality." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ "Rich, luscious, clever prose." —Kirkus, starred review
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
The sun was raining again.
Soft and bright, rainlight fell through the sky, each drop tearing a neat hole in the season. Winter had been steady and predictable, but it was quite poked through now, and spring was peeking out from underneath it. The world was ready for a change. The people of Ferenwood were excited for spring, but this was to be expected; they had always been fond of predictable, reliable sorts of changes, like night turning into day and rain turning into snow. They didn’t much care for night turning into cake or rain turning into shoelaces, because that wouldn’t make sense, and making sense was terribly important to these people who’d built their lives around magic. And squint as they might, it was very difficult for them to make any sense of Alice.
Alice was a young girl and, naturally, she was all the things you’d expect a young girl to be: smart and lively and passionate about any number of critical issues. But Alice was also lacking a great deal of something important, and it was this—her lack of something important—that made her so interesting, and so very unusual. More on that soon.
The afternoon our story begins, the quiet parts of being alive were the busiest: wind unlocking windows; rainlight nudging curtains apart; fresh-cut grass tickling unsocked feet. Days like this made Alice want to set off on a great adventure, and—at almost twelve years old—she’d very nearly figured out how to fashion one together. The annual Surrender was only a single pair of days away, and Alice—who was determined to win—knew it was her chance to set sail for something new.
She was on her way home now, occasionally peeking over her shoulder at the glittering town in the distance. The village square was undergoing no small transformation in honor of the upcoming festivities, and the clamor of instruction and construction rang out across the hills. Alice jumped from flagstone to flagstone, her face caught in the rainlight glow, her hands grasping for a touch of gold. The town’s excitement was contagious, and the air was so thick with promise Alice could almost bite into it. She smiled, cheeks appled in delight, and stared up at the sky. The light was beginning to spark and fade, and the clouds were still hard at work weaving together, breaking and building as they had been all week. One more day of this, Alice thought, and everything would change.
She couldn’t wait.
She’d moved on to the main road now, a dirt path flanked by green. She held tight to her basket as neighbors passed, nodding hello and waving good-bye, happy to have remembered her clothes today. Mother was always bothering her about that.
Alice plucked a tulip from her pocket and bit off the top. She felt the petals pressing against her tongue; she could taste the velvet, the magenta of it all. She closed her eyes and licked her lips before biting into the stem. Not quite green but brighter, more vibrant; there was a song in that color and she could feel it singing inside of her. She bent down to greet a blade of grass and whispered,Hello, me too, me too, we’re still alive.
Alice was an odd girl, even for Ferenwood, where the sun occasionally rained and the colors were brighter than usual and magic was as common as a frowning parent. Her oddness was evident even in the simplest things she did, though most especially in her inability to walk home in a straight line. She stopped too many times, wandering off the main path, catching deep breaths and holding them, too selfish to let them go. She spun until her skirts circled around her, smiling so wide she thought her face would break and blossom. She hopped around on tiptoe, and only when she could stand it no longer would she exhale what wasn’t hers to keep.
Alice would grow up to be a wildflower, Father once said to her. A wildflower in flowing skirts, braided hair dancing from head to knee. She’d always hoped that he was right, that maybe Mother had gotten it wrong, that Alice was never meant to be such a complicated thing with all these limbs and needs. She often wanted to plant herself back into the earth to see if she’d grow into something better this time, maybe a dandelion or an oak tree or a walnut no one could crack. But Mother insisted (the way she often did) that Alice must be a girl, and so she was.
Alice didn’t like Mother very much. She found her a bit old and confusing, and didn’t like the way Mother worried about walls and doors and the money that put them there. But Alice loved Mother, too, in the way that children did. Mother was soft and warm, and Mother’s smiles came easily when she looked at Alice. Anger and tears, too, but those Alice never cared for.
Alice gripped her basket tighter and danced down the road to a song she found in her ear; her toes warmed the earth, and her hair, too heavy for her head, tried to keep up. Her bangles mimicked the rain, simple melodies colliding in the space between elbows and wrists. She closed her eyes. She knew this dance the way she knew her own name; its syllables found her, rolled off her hips with an intimacy that could not be taught.
This was her skill, her talent, her great gift to Ferenwood. It was her ticket to greatness. She’d been practicing for years and years and was determined that it would not be for nothing.
It would not b—
“Hey there! What are you doing?”
Alice startled. Something tripped and fell, and she looked around in dismay to realize it had been her. Crumpled skirts and silent bangles, the rainlight gone from the sky. She was late. Mother would be upset again.
“Hey!” The same voice as before. “What are you—”
Alice gathered her skirts and fumbled in the dark for her basket, reaching blindly as panic set in. Don’t talk to strangers, Mother had always said—especially strange men.Being afraid meant it was okay to forget your manners. If you’re afraid, you never have to be nice. Do you understand?
Alice had nodded.
And now Mother was not here and she could not explain why, exactly, but Alice was afraid. So she did not feel the need to be nice.
The stranger wasn’t much of a man at all, it turned out. More like a boy. Alice wanted to tell him very firmly to go away, but she’d somehow gotten it into her head that being quiet meant being invisible and so she prayed that her silence would somehow make him blind, instead of louder.
Unfortunately, her wish seemed to work on both of them.
The sun had folded itself away and the moon was in no hurry to replace it. Darkness engulfed her. Alice’s basket was nowhere to be felt or found.
She was very worried.
Suddenly Alice understood all about being worried and she promised herself she would never judge Mother for being worried all the time. Suddenly she understood that it is a very hard thing, to be afraid of things, and that it takes up so much time. Suddenly she understood why Mother rarely got around to doing the dishes.
“Does this belong to you?”
Alice turned just a bit and found a chest in her face. There was a chest in her face and a heart in that chest and it was beating quite hard. She could hear the pitters, the patters—the blood rushing around in ebbs and flows.Don’t be distracted, she told herself, begged herself. Think of Mother.
What a heart.
What a symphony inside that body.
He’d touched her arm, so, really, she had no choice but to punch him. Her bangles were helpful in this regard. She punched and kicked and screamed a little and she wrenched her basket from his hands and she ran all the way home, out of breath and a little excited, so glad the moon had finally decided to join her.
Alice never did get to tell Mother her story.
Mother was so upset Alice was late that she nearly bit off her daughter’s hands. She didn’t give Alice a chance to explainwhy her skirts were dirty or why the basket had broken (only a little bit, really) orwhy her hair was so full of grass. Mother made a terrible face and pointed to a chair at the table and told Alice that if she was late one more time she would knot her fingers together. Again.
Oh, Mother was always threatening her.
Threatening made Mother feel better but made Alice feel bored. Alice usually ignored Mother’s threats (If you don’t eat your breakfast I will whisk you into an elephant,she once said to her, and Alice half hoped she really would), but then one time Alice took her clothes off at the dinner table and Mother threatened to turn her into aboy, and that scared her so dizzy that Alice kept on her outerthings for a whole week after that. Since then, Alice had often wondered whether her brothers had been boys to begin with, or whether they’d just been naughty enough to deserve being tricked into it.
Mother was unpacking Alice’s basket very carefully, paying far more attention to its contents than to any of her four children sitting at the worn kitchen table. Alice ran her hands along its weathered top, the bare boards rubbed smooth from years of use. Father had made this table himself, and Alice often pretended she could remember the day he built it. That was silly of course; Father had built it long before she was born.
She glanced toward his place at the table. His chair was empty—as it had grown accustomed to being—and Alice dropped her head, because sadness had left hinges in her bones. With some effort she managed to look up again, and when she did, she found her brothers, whose small forms took up the three remaining chairs, staring at her expectantly, as though she might turn their tunics into turnips. On any other occasion she would’ve liked to, had she been so inclined, but Mother was already quite mad and Alice did not want to sleep with the pigs tonight.
Alice was beginning to realize that while she didn’t much like Mother, Mother didn’t much like her, either. Mother didn’t care for the oddness of Alice; she wasn’t a parent who was predisposed to liking her children. She didn’t find their quirks endearing. She thought Alice was a perfectly functional, occasionally absurd child, but on an honest afternoon Mother would tell you that she didn’t care for children, never had, not really, but here they were. (There were plenty of nice things Mother had said about Alice, too, but Mother was never very good at making sure she said those things out loud.)
Alice picked out a blossom from her dinner and dropped it on her tongue, rolling the taste of it around in her mouth. She loved blossoms; one bite and she felt refreshed, ready to begin again. Mother liked dipping them in honey, but Alice preferred the unmasked taste. Alice liked truth: on her lips and in her mouth.
The kitchen was warm and cozy, but only halfheartedly. Alice and Mother did their best in the wake of Father’s absence, but some evenings all the unspoken hurts piled high on their plates and they ate sorrow with their syrup without saying a word about it. Tonight wasn’t so bad. Tonight the stove glowed lavender as Mother stoked the flames and tossed in some of the berries Alice had collected. Soon the whole house smelled of warm figs and peppermints and Alice was certain that if she tried, she could lick the air right out of the room. Mother was smiling, finally content. Ferenberries always succeeded in reminding Mother of happier times with Father, of days long ago when all was safe and all was good. The berries were a rare treat for those lucky enough to find them (they were a fruit especially difficult to procure), but in Father’s absence Mother had become obsessed. The trouble was, she needed Alice to find the ferenberries (I’ll explain why later), and Alice always did, because life at home had been so much better since the berries. Alice had been late and she’d been lazy, messy and argumentative, but she had never not come home with the berries.
She almost hadn’t tonight.
Alice always felt Mother was using her for the berries; she knew they were the only medicine that helped Mother’s heart in Father’s absence. Alice knew Mother needed her, but she did not feel appreciated; and though she felt sad for Mother, she felt more sorry than sad. She wanted Mother to grow up—or maybe grow down—into the mother she and her brothers really needed. But Mother could not unbecome herself, so Alice was resigned to loving and disliking her just as she was, for as long as she could bear it. Soon, Alice thought, very soon, she would be on her way to something better. Something bigger. The seasons were changing in Ferenwood, and Alice had waited long enough.
She would win the Surrender and she would show Mother she could make her own way in the world and she would never need a pair of stockings again. She would be an explorer! An inventor! No—a painter! She would capture the world with a few broad strokes! Her hand moved of its own accord, making shapes in her honey-laden plate. Her arm flew up in a moment of triumph and her paintbrush fork flew from her hands only to land, quite elegantly, in her brother’s hair.
Alice ducked down in her chair, the future forgotten, as Mother came at her with a ladle.
Oh, she would be sleeping with the pigs tonight.
Excerpted from "Furthermore"
Copyright © 2017 Tahereh Mafi.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Alice Alexis Queensmeadow is 12. And that's a very important age in Ferenwood. Soon she will be called to share her magical gift with everyone in her community. Along with all the others her age, she will be rated on her magical skill and given an important task to complete. She hopes she will be tasked to find her father, who disappeared 3 years before taking only a ruler with him. Imagine her surprise when an older boy, Oliver, asks her for help with his task. She dislikes Oliver because he once made fun of her -- pointed out her different appearance in front of everyone at school. Things never seem to go easily, or as planned, for Alice -- and she finds herself forced to travel through the strange and dangerous land of Furthermore to find her father ..... with Oliver. I listened to the audiobook version of this middle-grade book narrated by Bronson Pinchot. He has a nice voice and reads at an even pace. I have hearing loss, but was easily able to understand and enjoy this audiobook. At just over 8 hours long, it took me a couple days to finish listening. The humor, colorful fantasy and creativity of this story made it very entertaining! Alice is a delightful main character. She feels different, separated....like she doesn't belong with her family or with anyone. It was sweet seeing her learn that differences can be strengths, and that what she sees as her biggest flaw might just be her greatest asset. Oliver is both a scoundrel and a caring person. His magical gift is both a blessing and a curse it seems. Both Alice and Oliver learn to work together and discover how to forgive, trust and form a friendship. All in all, a nice, fantastically creative middle-grade story! It touches on some subjects that all children have to learn to deal with -- failure, loss, betrayal, trust, friendship, embarrassment and learning from mistakes.
One thing that I love about Tahereh’s writing is that her writing reads like poetry, it just flows and fills pages with wonderfully beautiful words. In Furthermore there’s something whimsical in every page, the book is weird but in the most amazing way of weird, the story captures you from the very beginning and you find yourself all of a sudden on this journey to help Alice find her father. The journey Alice goes on is full of adventures and again very unique characters, when first meeting them you don’t know if they’re friends or foes and it always fun to find out if they are going to help her or eat her (yeap it says eat). The book went by super fast and left me wanting more from this world.
A wonderful magical read that's full of all things light-hearted and fantastical. Unique, well-written, and a genuine page turner. The last hundred pages seemed to drag, which really ruined the intensity of the climax, but I still loved it otherwise.
This book looked so interesting. I had been wanting to read it for a while. I'm so glad I finally did! This is another book that I read rather quickly. It was so easy to get into and get lost inside the world of Alice Alexis Queensmeadow. She seems like she is a plain girl; she has no color in a colorful world. Her father left and she can’t quite control her emotions and actions. She tends to act first and then think. She is a daydreamer, a silly heart, a flibbertigibbet. She is an odd child out and doesn’t have any friends. She spends her days alone mostly and keeps to herself whenever anyone is around. Her mother is withdrawn and doesn’t seem to care what happens to Alice Alexis. She feels truly alone. The world of Ferenwood is really unique and what they require of their children is intense. They give them tasks when they reach a certain age and they must relinquish their talent. Alice Alexis doesn’t think she has a talent and is sad because she will never get a task and move on. But, her frenemy Oliver, may have a way for her to complete a task and get something that she has been wishing for for the past 3 years: to find her father. He has a plan but he needs her help. She’s not sure what she can do as she is plain, has no color, and doesn’t get along with anyone. However, she decides to take the risk and hope that she can find herself and her father along the way. This was the first Tahereh Mafi book I have read and I will definitely be looking at her other books. I really and thoroughly enjoyed this book a lot. Highly recommend.
Alice lives the in the magical land of Ferenwood, where everything is bright and colorful. Alice, however, is colorless, which means she is also not magical. She is different from everyone in Ferenwood, and she feels like she will never fit in. Alice gets the opportunity to join a boy named Oliver on a journey to the land of Furthermore, the land where her father disappeared many years ago, and jumps at the opportunity to learn why her father left with nothing but a ruler. Furthermore was my first Tahereh Mafi book, and I was completely blown away. I absolutely ADORED the whimsical world that was created. It was a joy to read this book, and as soon as I finished, I was ready to read it again. Reading Furthermore made me wish that I had children in my life that I could share it with. Watching Alice learn important life lessons and grow to love herself was beautiful and endearing and so special. I loved Alice's story, but my favorite thing about Furthermore was the writing. It was so wacky and whimsical and it really took me right out of reality and into Furthermore. Furthermore is definitely not a book to be taken too seriously. I think a lot of people didn't like it because it was too wacky, but for me, it was perfectly playful. I wish I had been able to read this as a child. I know it would have been one of my favorites. My only complaint about Furthermore is that the ending was very rushed. Everything came together quite conveniently in just a couple pages, and then abruptly ended. I feel like the ending could have been hashed out a little bit more without any problems. Despite the incredibly rushed ending, however, I enjoyed the book as a whole so much that this one fault didn't affect my rating very much.
The characters and world of Furthermore are so unique as to require a good deal of development and that's exactly what you get. The way the characters interact with the world presented makes the whole book thoroughly immersive. How immersive, you ask? I actually read this back in October while being hit by Hurricane Matthew and I completely forgot about the storm. So, yeah. Immersive. Furthermore is a stunning reselling of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland with a twist: no specific mention is made of Wonderland or the original cast of characters, aside from the use of the name Alice. The story is a clear reflection of the original, though I'm certain that's because I know the original classic so well. It comes across as a completely unique story. I absolutely loved Furthermore and finished reading it in a matter of hours. It's a brilliantly done Middle Grade novel that I look forward to sharing with others. For this review and more, please visit my blog at vicariousbookworm.wordpress.com
I really loved this book. The writing was charming and very creative. There was a lot of magic in this book, and it was so different from the magic in books that I have read before. I found Alice to be such beautiful character, colorless, in a world of color. There was an adventure in this book, and I feel that Alice really grew during it. At first, I thought that Oliver was really annoying, however as the story went on, he grew on me, and I loved how his and Alice's friendship developed on their way to finding Alice's father. If there is one thing that this book could have done better, it could have explained how the magic worked in more detail. Overall this book was a lot of fun to read, and I felt like I was on the adventure with Alice and Oliver.
Honestly, if I hadn't known this was written by Tahereh Mafi, I never would have guessed. I knew it would be entirely different from her Shatter Me Series, since it is MG as opposed to YA, but it really was not good at all. I really enjoyed the idea of this story. Alice in Wonderland retellings are always so exciting for me, and Mafi's retelling seemed like it would be so whimsical and full of magic. There was not a single character that I enjoyed. At times, I found myself warming up to Alice (her peculiarity was charming), but for the most part I found her to be incredibly rude. Oliver, her companion, was a little better, but not by much. His backstory made my heart sad for him, but I wish he had been a little more forthcoming with Alice (and the reader) regarding the information he knew. Furthermore left me with a bunch of unanswered questions. Mafi kept bringing things up and making them seem incredibly important, only to never mention them again. This left me feeling like I was in the dark and missing out on all the important things. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I also felt like at times we were given too much information. There would be paragraphs explaining things such as the currency system, how much things cost, what Alice bought with what little money she had (like the bangles that she was very proud of and seemed like they would play a big part in the journey), only to have those things not matter at all in the long run, or downplayed entirely in the end. Overall, I was entirely disappointed in Furthermore. I was so excited to find a signed copy, but I really feel like I wasted my money on it (which doesn't happen often with me, even if I disliked a book). Most likely I will pick up Tahereh Mafi's next book, but I might be a little hesitant and not get it right away.
I fell in love with this author after the Shatter Me series. Though this isn't a book that I would normally read I gave it a try and loved it. Finished it in 2 sittings. A fun modern fairytale for both younger generations and adults.
Okay I don't really know where to begin this review. I've restarted it so many times now. So I guess I am just going to jump into it. This will probably be a short review. Furthermore is actually really hard to explain. I enjoyed it which is how I went in to this story. I didn't really have any ideas about this story or any expectations. Furthermore, like Tahereh's other books, are rich in detail and inner dialogue. Yes at times it was a bit tedious but I found it really helped when I was trying to picture things in this world. For me Mafi's books are very hit or miss. I liked Shatter Me, hated Unravel Me, and loved Ignite Me. Futhermore was enjoyable but I didn't absolutely love it. I did like it enough to preorder it though. What I liked: Alice and her growth throughout this novel really got to me. I loved seeing how much she grows and changes as a person from her time in Furthermore. All she wants right now is to get her task and leave home and find father. After the disappearance of her father, her mother doesn't have time and is always mad. It's so sad to see how much she doesn't think that her family wants her. It's no wonder her and Oliver become best friends. Oliver is a kid whose talent causes him to get everything he wants. They both just want people who care about them and choose them over everyone else. I liked the dynamic between Oliver and Alice, even if Alice hated Oliver at first. It's what made it work for me. I also quite enjoyed the world. It was interesting to see Furthermore and how strange the world was. I thought it did a great job reminding you of the strangeness of Wonderland. The rules and the people who lived there were so strange. First off they ate people. WHAT? And the difference in worlds. Like the paper world or being able to stand on clouds and move downwards through the ground. Not to mention figuring out what the ruler has to do with the story. I loved how each bit of information was brought to light. How you kept figuring things our slowly. Also the mystery that the narrator brought to the story was awesome. There was always a comment from them that caused you to have more questions. I loved it. It was such an interesting way to tell the story and one I haven't read before. What left me wanting more: I did really enjoy this story, but I do wish we got more background in to the kids talents. Why they had them. Where they got them from. It was so interesting to me, seeing that each kid had a special talent. I just would have liked to see more info on them. That being said I did like that they had talents. I thought it was a great touch to the story. And the last thing that bothered me a bit, was the ease with which they got out of Furthermore. They had such a struggle getting through Furthermore and come to find out that the high ups were keeping tabs and looking for them. And they just easily stepped through a door without having to go back the way they came, was a little to easy. Especially since I don't know if this is a standalone or a series. I would be interested to see the repercussions of Alice and Oliver's trip to Furthermore and if anyone comes after them. The ending does leave it a bit open to more if Tahereh is going to write more. Overall, Furthermore was strange and creepy in the best possible way. I loved the characters and the voice this book had. It was a great read for those who want to be entertained. I really enjoyed myself when reading this one.
Furthermore kept me on the edge of my seat and unable to stop reading! It's a book I immensely enjoyed, even with it's minor flaws. Every part of it was engaging and well-written, and I fell in love with the characters in a heartbeat. Alice is a truly unique character, and her perspective on the world is refreshing and immersive. Oliver also grew on me quickly, and I rooted for the two of them as they made their way through the dangerous villages of Furthermore, hoping they would succeed in finding Alice's father. Alice and Oliver's daunting task seemed impossible, and watching them overcome their struggles felt like I was there right beside them! There were villages that turned them to paper, places where movement wasn't allowed, and many other astonishingly unique settings where it seemed like the characters had truly hit their limit. And yet, it was these obstacles that added to the mysticism of the world—I had no guess as to what was coming next! My main issue with this book was how everything within it jumbled together and was confusing to sort through at times. The narrator frequently inserted comments from an outside perspective, and while at certain moments this was hilarious, it also confused which parts of the book were truly happening and lessened my connection with the characters for those moments. Of course, this incredibly distinctive, peculiar, and lawless world didn't help the situation, and villages seemed to blend together without any apparent connection. Overall, even with these problems, I still couldn't be happier that I picked this baby up! Full review: http://www.bookrambles.com/2016/01/furthermore-by-tahereh-mafi-arc-review.html