Title: Far Far Away
Author: Tom McNeal
Publisher: Knopf Books For Young Readers
Publication Date: June 11, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Fairy Tale
It says quite a lot about Jeremy Johnson Johnson that the strangest thing about him isn’t even the fact his mother and father both had the same last name. Jeremy once admitted he’s able to hear voices, and the townspeople of Never Better have treated him like an outsider since. After his mother left, his father became a recluse, and it’s been up to Jeremy to support the family. But it hasn’t been up to Jeremy alone. The truth is, Jeremy can hear voices. Or, specifically, one voice: the voice of the ghost of Jacob Grimm, one half of the infamous writing duo, The Brothers Grimm. Jacob watches over Jeremy, protecting him from an unknown dark evil whispered about in the space between this world and the next. But when the provocative local girl Ginger Boultinghouse takes an interest in Jeremy (and his unique abilities), a grim chain of events is put into motion. And as anyone familiar with the Grimm Brothers know, not all fairy tales have happy endings. . .
Far Far Away by Tom McNeal is very unique. It has the feel of a fairy tale. It is difficult to place the time when the book takes place and this timeless aspect is very well done. The book is full of quirky characters, none more that Jeremy Johnson Johnson who is obsessed with fairy tales and whom the ghost of Jacob Grimm is a pseudo-father figure.
The town of Never Better has that otherworldly feel to it. Filled with odd characters that are mostly likeable, especially the very spunky Ginger Boultinghouse. Ginger and her adventures take Jeremy down a path that is both dark and dangerous. The towns secrets are eventually revealed and we start to see people as they are.
Overall, Far Far Away by Tom McNeal is very enjoyable. The story itself is compelling and the writing is very strong. The problem I had with Far Far Away is how annoying Jacob Grimm is. I did not enjoy this ghost narrating much of the story and could not bring myself to like the character at all. Eventually, as more is revealed about Jacob, he becomes a bit more likeable but overall I could have used with less of him in the book.
Far Far Away will be a delight for fairy tale fans because it does an excellent job of capturing the feel of a fairy tale. The darkness that lurks beneath the surface. The ending is quite exciting and I truly enjoyed the later third of the book the most. Far Far Away by Tom McNeal is a solid choice for fairy tale fans and those that like a story that is a bit dark but not scary.
Cover images and summary from goodreads.