A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Furthermore, the middle-grade debut by Tahereh Mafi, author of the best-selling dystopian YA Shatter Me series, is the story of a 12-year-old social-outcast girl and a 13-year-old boy who embark on a quest to find her long-lost father. Themes include losing a parent, being different, manipulating people, and how it feels to work really hard at something and still fail. The young characters learn a lot about themselves, life, and their loved ones. Violence (hand-to-hand fighting, kidnapping, imprisonment, dismemberment, and the constant threat of being eaten) is essential to the story, but there's little gore. Expect some friendly hand-holding.
What's the story?
About to turn 12 in FURTHERMORE, Alice Queensmeadow has a lot to deal with -- starting with the fact that she's the only colorless child ever born in the riotously colorful land of Ferenwood. Also, the disappearance of her beloved father three years earlier sent her mother into a depression, and Alice acted out in school so much she got expelled. Now her onetime schoolmate Oliver says he knows where her father is: He's being held prisoner in the scary land of FURTHERMORE. Oliver claims to be on a mission to rescue him and to need help from Alice. There's no time to be lost as the kids pursue their search -- and try to avoid being killed and eaten by the locals.
Is it any good?
Tahereh Mafi's debut middle-grade story packs tween-girl-relatable issues into the compelling tale of a 12-year-old misfit's quest for her long-lost father in a magical, potentially deadly world. In Furthermore, surprises are many and rarely good, and protagonist Alice's traveling companion is famous for his lies. It's a promising variation on the popular quest theme, fraught with perils from spells to butcher knives and thrills, wisecracks, and real-life issues like the loss of a parent and being different.
There's a lot of world-building, which will charm some readers and get in the way for others. Likewise, the narrator's voice is alternately gushy, ditzy, fussy, condescending, and snarky. Still, it doesn't take much imagination to suspect there's more to come in future installments.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the theme of children going on a quest to find a lost parent, as Alice does in Furthermore. Do you know other stories about this? What do you think makes this such a popular and compelling premise?
When people are mean to you and exclude you, does it make you want to be part of things with them even more? Or do you decide they're not worth your time and energy and go do something else?
Would you like to have the power to make people do whatever you wanted? How would you avoid the problems Oliver discovered in the story?
- Author: Tahereh Mafi
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Dutton Children's Books
- Publication date: August 30, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 12
- Number of pages: 416
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: December 14, 2018
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.