Furthermore was a 3.5/5 star read for me. I love the premise of the story: a young girl finding a way to accept and claim who she is as an individual while simultaneously defining how she belongs in the world around her–all the moments of joyful discovery, of loneliness, and the stings of rejection that accompany that journey for each of us.
Alice Queensmeadow lives in Ferenwood: a magical world of vibrant color; she, however, is so pale as to be almost colorless. Though she felt loved by her father, Alice is desperate to belong, to feel loved after his disappearance three years earlier. She feels invisible to her mother, her brothers and her community. Alice is days away from her ‘surrender’ (in which Alice will surrender her unique talent to the town and receive in exchange a special task) and she believes that will be the moment that imbues her life with purpose and the key to belonging among the other people of Ferenwood.
When Oliver, who had received his task a year ago, returns asking for Alice’s help, everything turns on its end and Alice finds herself in the middle of a completely unanticipated adventure. She and Oliver travel to the land of Furthermore, each with different goals. Furthermore is a shock for Alice and she struggles to make sense of the ‘rules’ in this new land–as well as discovering she cannot trust Oliver in the way she thought she could.
I was enthralled with the first third of the story. I love the characters of Alice and Oliver. Their voices feel genuine and Alice’s journey from self-doubt to self-confidence is believable, heartfelt and inspiring. Alice and Oliver’s journey through the land of Furthermore is, by turns, enchanting, creepy and confusing.
The land of Furthermore is the reason why this is a 3.5 star read for me (instead of 4 or 5). Furthermore has a definite Alice-in-Wonderland-ish feel to it. I have I am a deeply visual learner; my mind creates images in my head when I read/listen to a story of the world the characters inhabit. For me, Furthermore wasn’t developed enough for me to have that clear image of the setting in my mind. I sometimes struggled to place Alice and Oliver in whatever environment of Furthermore they were in. Because the world-building aspect of Furthermore was lacking for me I found myself occasionally disconnecting from the story, lessening its impact.
I listened to Furthermore on audio. It is read by one of my favorite narrators–Bronson Pinchot. (He also narrates another of my favorites Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley.) Listening to Pinchot read Furthermore to me was absolutely delightful. So, if you enjoy Alice in Wonderland and a good, curl-up-in-a-chair-and-be-transported story Furthermore is worth checking out.