by Tahereh Mafi
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.
Tahereh Mafi’s writing is actually exceptional. Whatever she’s writing, whether it’s a MG, a contemporary YA, a dystopian YA, even if she ventured into the adult world – I would read everything she writes. She’s got such a fluidity to her voice and her prose is so beautiful and lyrical. I think even if for some reason I hated what the actual story was, I would still enjoy the book anyway just because of Mafi’s prose.
However, hating the story was not the case with Whichwood. This was such a lovely read. I read Furthermore a few years ago and loved it, so I was really excited to read this as part of this year’s #RamadanReadathon! Also, can we just take a moment to appreciate the cover?! It is without a bout one my favourite covers of all time. It’s just so beautiful. The ROSES!
Mafi explores a Persian fairytale in this novel, telling the story of Laylee, who is tasked with the difficult job of washing the dead and preparing their bodies for the afterlife. Already with a hook like this, I was intrigued and I was so happy to be transported back to this magical world with some of the characters from Futhermore too!
This was a cute read but I think if it were a YA novel I would’ve loved it even more, to be able to go deeper into the characters and the stories and make it all more complex. However for an MG story, it was completely immersive and the world Mafi created was so colourful and vivid. I’ve never read anything like this before, so I definitely recommend!