Book Review: Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi



What did I say to you about accusing a woman of weakness? A person doesn’t need legs to be strong. I’ve got enough heart for ten legs, and that’ll carry me farther than these limbs ever did.


5 / 5 stars

If there’s any book that brings me back to middle grade adventures, it would be Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi. Fast paced and brilliant, it is perfect for young readers who seek adventure. It is the story of a thirteen-year old girl named Laylee who is destined to spend the rest of her life scrubbing the bodies of the dead in preparation for the afterlife. But then she meets Alice and Oliver, and things took an unexpected turn.

Tahereh Mafi shows us her storytelling skills in this book, which is in third person view. While reading the book, it feels as though she is storyteller reading us a story, and although she constantly her writing constantly reminds us of her presence, it is also so easy to lose yourself in the world and story of this book. Her writing, the way she narrates the story, it’s as if the characters are real-life friends, as if the author herself talks to them everyday. That’s one of the things I would love to see in every author: that they see their characters as human beings just as we are, that they believe them to be as real as the world around us. That’s truly magnificent.

The story gives us all the emotions. It’s not simply a monotone stack of papers with words printed over them. I have read enough books with no such emotions or characteristics or feeling that it almost seems emptier than a blank sheet. This book is NOT one of those. This book has joy, love, mercy, kindness, injustice, cruelty, friendship, loyalty, cleverness, bravery, and so much more, all tightly packed in one awesome story.

The characters, as I have mentioned before, are like real human beings, and they perhaps they really are! Each character is unique and has his/her own opinions, behavior, characteristics, and attitude. But most of all, each and every character has emotions. They don’t just think and decide, they also FEEL. They get happy and shocked and afraid and frustrated and sad and angry and discouraged. They are not monotonous robots, they are alive. Living things.

Tahereh’s wordbuilding is elegant and exquisite. She describes each setting and scene with careful detail, but not too much to bore us. Just enough details that you could easily picture out the scene, the setting before you as if you are part of the story itself!

All in all, Whichwood is a five star read for me. Honestly, be free to read it!




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