Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
Read by Bronson Pinchot
Summary from Goodreads:
Ferenwood had been built on color. Bursts of it, swaths of it, depths and breadths of it. Its people were known to be the brightest — modeled after the planets, they’d said — and young Alice was deemed simply too dim, even though she knew she was not.
Once upon a time, a girl was forgot.
Twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow has only three things in the world that matter: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; triplet brothers, who never knew her; and Father, who always loved her. The day Father disappears from Ferenwood he takes nothing but a ruler with him, so some said he’d gone to measure the sea. Others said the sky. The moon. Maybe he’d learned to fly and had forgotten how to come back down. But it’s been almost six 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. No matter the cost.
It’s a kind of fairytale, a story where magic is a must, adventure is inevitable, and friendship is found in the most unexpected places.
This was such a delightful story, I’m sorry that I didn’t read it sooner. Bronson Pinchot also does an excellent job of narrating. I was a little thrown by a male voice at first since it is a story about a girl and told from her perspective mostly, but eventually you get that the story was written as if someone else is telling the story, not Alice. So it does work and I really liked his voice for this story.
Alice was such a delightful girl to spend time with. I really liked her although she was often hard on herself. I also felt sorry for her most of the time, but appreciated her determination to do her own thing in her own time and not care about what others think of her. She is definitely an outsider in her family and her village. Oliver was also a fun character to get to know. I didn’t like him very much at first, I didn’t think he treated Alice very nicely, but he grew on me and I eventually came to appreciate his talent and his determination to get Alice’s father back.
The world that Mafi has built here is fascinating. Furthermore reminded me a bit of the Phantom Toll Booth, with all of the strange little villages and societies that the duo comes across. The adventures and scrapes that Alice and Oliver need to get through and survive were exciting and often made it hard to put down. I really liked that everyone in Furthermore had ulterior motives to helping or not helping them. They meet many interesting people along the way. There are some unexpected twists and turns, but watching the two of them come to appreciate each other and their talents was the true charm of the book.
A great book about friendship and belonging, I highly recommend it.