Imagine my surprise when I turned the page in the most recent Entertainment Weekly and there was an article about Furthermore! Author Tahereh Mafi is quoted as saying, "I wrote [Furthermore] after I fell in love with Ransom. It was like my life had entered a world of HD hypercolor."
And that is exactly what Furthermore is, a world of hypercolor, danger, trickery, fascinating beauty, and oddness. Alice lives in the world of Ferenwood, but travels to this other realm with her former schoolmate Oliver in search of her father. They encounter many strange things - origami foxes from a 2-dimensional village, Time (or Tim as he invites them to call him), guardian ladies in pantsuits (much scarier than they sound), and even a village built entirely in the tops of gigantic trees. Along the way through all these adventures, they come to know one another and their own strengths. (I'm not telling if they find her father, that would be cheating.)
The writing is as lush and layered as all the colors and personalities within this fantasy world. Mafi makes it easy to imagine the various villages and their inhabitants. She also captures what it is like to be a child of 12, moving into young adulthood and seeing parents with new eyes. "Alice had long suspected that Father was different from everyone else in Ferenwood - his thoughts were richer, his mind fuller, his eyes brighter - but Alice never thought of Father as a man with secrets, and now she was beginning to wonder if she'd really known Father at all." And what it can feel like to do that growing up. "And she was beginning to realize that part of growing up meant growing tender, and that secrets were sometimes wrapped around tender things to keep them safe."
Furthermore is as richly imagined as any trip through a looking glass or down a rabbit hole, and it seems fitting that the protagonist in this story has the same name as the girl in those stories. While there are no hookah-smoking caterpillars or Mad Hatters, there are definitely some queens (and princess and twincesses) that want Alice's head, and Oliver's too. Once you read this story, you may find yourself imagining ever so many impossible things before breakfast.
Highly recommended for those in middle grades and up who enjoy fantasy adventures.
I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.