Author: Mafi, Tahereh
Laylee, thirteen, is nearly worn out from washing and packaging corpses for the Otherwhere and being shunned by villagers when two strangers, Alice and Oliver, arrive determined to help.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 7.50
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 192737
Kirkus Reviews (+) (09/15/17)
School Library Journal (10/01/17)
Booklist (+) (09/15/17)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (00/11/17)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/15/2017 *Starred Review* This companion to Mafi’s prismatic Futhermore (2016) takes a darker turn as readers enter Whichwood, where Laylee, the local mordeshoor, is overrun with corpses. It’s her job to wash and bury the dead and transition their souls to the next world. Once an honored vocation, mordeshoors have become pariahs, and Laylee performs the backbreaking, thankless work alone in a shabby jewel-and-blood-encrusted gown. She is frighteningly beautiful, but her work is taking its toll, slowly draining her of magic, color, and strength. Such is the state of things when Futhermore’s protagonists, Alice and Oliver, appear, tasked with helping Laylee. As Alice endeavors to discover how her magic can help the embittered mordeshoor, it becomes apparent that Laylee’s health is fading fast—and with no one else to soothe the dead, the death of the mordeshoor would be a terrible thing. More focused than Furthermore, but no less imaginative, this story paints Laylee’s inner world as richly as it does her ghost-plagued town. Her character is subtly brushed with Persian heritage, from the traditional poetry she reads to her headscarf and brown skin. Genuinely chilling scenes and grotesque imagery might upset sensitive readers, but those with a morbid streak will be in their element. However, it’s Laylee’s personal transformation that shines brightest, giving Mafi’s singular fantasy an equally unforgettable heroine. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 10/01/2017 Gr 5–7—Mafi expands the vibrant world she created in Furthermore with this striking companion novel. Laylee Layla Fenjoon has inherited the magical talents and responsibilities of mordeshoor at the all-too-young age of 13, when her mother's death drives her father to madness. Rather than play with other children and go to school, she washes the bodies of the dead to ease their transition into the afterlife for the ungrateful Wichwoodians. As the stress takes its toll, Alice and Oliver (characters from Furthermore) arrive to help—if only they can make it past Laylee's prickly shell. Another boy with his own bit of magic, Benyamin, joins the group and the romantic pairings are inevitable but also appreciatively complex. Drawing heavily from Persian culture and featuring a heroine of color, this fantasy novel feels both fresh and classic. The cadence may be initially difficult to get into for some readers, but the story pushes forward and those who stick with it will be rewarded with a complex and layered tale. A couple of aspects of the book seem a bit disjointed: the pacing is interrupted and flags a bit in the middle. Time also seems to rearrange itself on occasion in order to serve the plot, rather than flowing organically from the decisions of the characters. Nevertheless, fantasy fans looking for something new will find much to enjoy here. VERDICT A pleasing selection for precocious middle grade and middle school readers.—Erin Reilly-Sanders, University of Wisconsin-Madison - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.