7 CDs. 8:12 hrs. Listening Library. Aug. 2016. $45. ISBN 9780451486066.
Gr 5–7—The vibrant world of Ferenwood is mystified when Alice is born with barely a touch of color. Bullied for her lack of pigmentation and apparently missing magic skills, Alice is convinced that she will be exiled from Ferenwood following her day of Surrender. Surrender is the day when 12-year-olds showcase their magical talents to the citizens of Ferenwood and are then ranked based on their ability to better the world. When Alice receives a zero, she is distraught. If only her father—who disappeared years before—had been there, Alice surely would have succeeded. Enter Oliver. Armed with his talents of persuasion, he has been tasked with finding Alice's father, but he can't do it alone. He needs Alice's special gift to travel the dangerous, uncharted land of Furthermore. The audio version of what could be a captivating tale falls a bit short with the dreary, monotone narration. Alice's voice becomes a bit lifeless at times, and it can be a stretch to imagine the colorful world. The conclusion leaves room for additional installments.
VERDICT A solid story for fans of fractured fairy tales, once listeners get used to the narration. Give to fans of Adam Gidwitz's "Sisters Grimm" series. ["An unusually imaginative, entertaining fantasy with mostly minor deficiencies that prevent it from becoming pure magic": SLJ 6/16 review of the Dutton book.]

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