book recommendations · book review · books · children's fiction · fiction · ya · young adult

Furthermore

Warnings: None.
Author: Tahereh Mafi

Once upon a time, a girl was forgot…
In a world brimming with colour and magic, Alice’s pale white skin and milk-white hair mark her as an outcast. For the people of Ferenwood, colour and magic are one and the same. Alice is determined to prove her magical abilities and solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance.
To do so, she’ll have to travel into the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore. But nothing there is as it seems, and Alice may never find her way home…’

I’m a bit late to the Bookstagram Furthermore bandwagon. It’s easy to tell why it was such a hit on Instagram though because LOOK AT THAT COVER OMG.

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First of all – the worldbuilding. I’m writing my novel(la) for CampNaNoWriMo this month, and I WISH I could get this good at subtly incorporating worldbuilding. I just want to go and live in Ferenwood and be colourful and eat flowers (I want to know what they taste like). But there’s worldbuilding for Ferenwood and Furthermore, and because Alice hasn’t been to Furthermore before the events of the book, I felt like I was learning with her. And seeing all the magic of the people in Ferenwood was cool too – it just made me jealous that I don’t have a magical power that can make people leave me alone while I’m reading or something.

Also Alice was so great??? There were so many instances where I was like OH NO and then Alice just swept in with her smart brain and saved everything. That’s what I aspire to be. Oliver was okay – but the friendship between Oliver and Alice was really cute, I loved it. Oliver seemed a little snobby at parts, but I can forgive that.

Other than Alice and Oliver, there aren’t really any characters that are developed especially. They’re the main focus for all of the book, and the other characters are only around for a short time so there isn’t really enough space to develop them. My favourite secondary character was definitely the paper fox (he’s on the cover if you want to see him) because animals are great. Especially talking animals.

There weren’t many parts where I felt like I was walking through molasses trying to finish the chapter. Everything came right after each other so there was no real stopping during reading, which I enjoyed (I have quite a short attention span). But I did find that the ending was a little quick. It was just like “BAM, home, cool, End.” There were no intense standoffs, there was just the end. It was quite anticlimactic to be honest.

I JUST MUST TALK ABOUT THE IMAGERY FOR A QUICK SECOND. I want to do all of the art for this book and illustrate my little life away but exams are in a month and I don’t have the time and I am in pain. Everything in this book is so beautifully described, so if you like drawing and you read this book, please post it on Instagram and tag me or just send it to my email because I’d love to see other people’s interpretations of the characters.

8.5/10
-ABG

My Instagram is here.

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book review · books · children's fiction · fiction · nonfiction

The Thing About Jellyfish

Warnings: none.
Author: Ali Benjamin

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Suzy doesn’t speak anymore. Not since her best friend, Franny, drowned. Suzy couldn’t believe it – Franny was an excellent swimmer. She must have been stung by a deadly jellyfish. It’s the only explanation. And Suzy is going to prove it.
So she retreats into silence, researching the jellyfish and formulating a plan that will take her across the world to discover the truth about the creature that she’s certain took her best friend away from her.’

I picked this up during a particularly empty shift at the library. It was in the children’s section, so I wasn’t expecting too much. It has a lot of 5 star reviews on Goodreads, but I agree more with the people who gave it lower reviews.

In the author’s note at the end of the book, they state that this book started as a nonfiction essay about jellyfish which cleared a lot up for me. There are a lot of jellyfish facts in this book. As someone who enjoys documentaries and information, I found this quite interesting, but someone who came for the story may have found it less absorbing.

The original nonfiction nature of the book meant that the chapters showing the friendship between Suzy and Franny felt a bit lacking in emotion to me. Sure, I empathised with Suzy for losing her friend, but the slightly detached way these chapters were written made me put more blame on Suzy than I wanted to. As the book went on, however, I became more interested in this sub-plot, so I ended up enjoying it more than I did at the start.

As a lover of a variety of characters, I was excited when Suzy’s brother and his boyfriend came in – but then there was no development. In fact, the only character really focussed on was Suzy, with a few mentions of Franny in between. This worked well for the solitary nature that I think Suzy was giving off, but I still felt that more could’ve been put into the other characters.

The grief represented in the book seemed very real to me – the confusion and loss that Suzy was feeling fuelled her to draw hasty conclusions, and I thought that would be how a young person would deal with a sudden, unexplained loss, especially if she hadn’t had anyone close to her die before (this wasn’t specified in the book, but I felt that it was hinted at).

5/10
-abnormalbookgeek