WHICHWOOD, by Tahereh Mafi, Dutton Books For Young Readers, ARC Review



A new adventure about a girl who is fated to wash the bodies of the dead in this companion to Furthermore.

Our story begins on a frosty night…

Laylee can barely remember the happier times before her beloved mother died. Before her father, driven by grief, lost his wits (and his way). Before she was left as the sole remaining mordeshoor in the village of Whichwood, destined to spend her days washing the bodies of the dead and preparing their souls for the afterlife. It’s become easy to forget and easier still to ignore the way her hands are stiffening and turning silver, just like her hair, and her own ever-increasing loneliness and fear.

But soon, a pair of familiar strangers appears, and Laylee’s world is turned upside down as she rediscovers color, magic, and the healing power of friendship.

Hardcover, 368 pages
Published November 14th 2017 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
ISBN 1101994797 (ISBN13: 9781101994795)
Edition Language English
Series Furthermore #2


First, let me just say, this is one of the most beautiful covers I’ve seen on a Middle-Grade read.

I received this ARC from Dutton Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Dark and filled with death, yet quirky and oddly strange. This book held my attention right up to the end. A strange twist on a morbid subject for middle-grade/teen readers, this book had me perplexed at times yet peculiarly fascinated.

The characters were abundantly strange with their bizarre and outlandish behaviors, especially the Protagonist who had a definite and very regimental routine for washing and burying the dead so spirits can leave this world in peace. If the routine is not abided by within the proper time constraints, then you have them seeking “other skins” to wear…

I couldn’t stop reading it although I wanted to put it away a few times. The author’s injections of sparse explanations for those who didn’t read the first book, Furthermore, (I am one) was effective but sometimes annoying. (Only because I wished I had read the first)

If you look at the premise, this book is really quite extraordinary in its originality. The author’s voice is clear, transitioning from one element of her story to the next in a smooth and easy-flowing manner. The plot is well defined, thank goodness, and there’s a few plot twists to add a bit of morose appeal to an already twisted adventure.

The settings are involved, especially the Protagonist’s home, but the world-building is lacking and would be confusing if not for the author’s additional explanations. In all, I followed along without hesitation moving from one avenue of setting to the next almost like I was being fatalistically led to an impeding doom. As the characters develop, you see growth, but I found it took a long time for most of the secondary characters to be clear and their purpose in the story defined. The Protagonist is done well, with her character developing steadily as the story progressed.

Of course, I would have benefited from a copy of the first book. However, even without it, I was able to understand everything transpiring within the pages thanks to the author’s clever infusions that helped clear away some of the muddier spots. And, although these insertions were helpful, and vaguely annoying… I was glad they were there.

What struck me the most was the author’s voice. It’s originality and story-telling ability made this book enjoyable. It’s worth a read.

I give this book:


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