Laylee, the protagonist of Tahereh Mafi’s “Whichwood,” could have been normal. She could have if her Maman hadn’t died and her father went crazy. Her father was a mordeshoor-a person who washes the dead, preparing them for the afterlife. Laylee had inherited this magic, and she now had to wash the dead alone.
For years now she had been living a life of solitude and work. No vacations, no friends, nothing but washing the dead. All this work with no breaks has started to turn Laylee silver. Her eyes first, then her hair, and now her fingers. She knows she is doomed. But that all changes when two other children appear at Laylee’s door.
From the start, Laylee could tell these strangers weren’t from her hometown, Whichwood. The most striking thing about them, though, was their desire to help her.
Laylee was greeted by a pale boy and girl. Alice and Oliver greaten her desire to be alone. That is the only life she has known for so long now.
After one night, Laylee shoos Oliver and Alice away, they find Benyamin, and the three of them know that they have to do what they can to save Laylee.
When Laylee finds these strangers at her doorstep again, she can no longer push away their help.
This book is enchanting and captivating for ages 10 and up. The novel does have death in it, so if the reader does not cope well with this, it would be wise for them not to read it.
The plot twists and turns with heartbreaking moments and relatable characters. Laylee’s life is in the hands of Oliver and Alice-the only question for now is, can they handle it?