Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Far Far Away: By Tom McNeal



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. . . 


The first thing I have to say about Far Far Away is that book is not for everyone. I don’t’ want to spoil anything, but at the same time I feel I should warn potential readers so they don’t come in expecting one thing and come out aghast at what they are reading. What I will say is this story follows the path of old school Grimm stories, in that there are some very graphic scenes late in the book. I hope I didn’t give to much away there, but I DID like this book, and I would hate people to buy it expecting one thing and get something completely different.

As I mentioned, even with its darkness I really liked Far Far Away. The most first thing to say about Far Far Away is that it is somewhat an homage to Grimm fairy tales. Yes, the ghost and narrator of the book is one of the Grimm brothers, and Jeremy reads fairy tales, but in truth there are deeper levels likening it to Grimm. As mentioned before, the story arc is very similar to a dark Grimm fairy tale, but the very dialog itself even reads like a fairy tale.

Of course besides being a beautiful homage to Grimm fairy tales, this book is just well written. The characters are both likable and broken. Even Jacob, the Grimm Brother ghost, is broken, and it is an essential part of the story in discovering how he is broken and why he is there. Yes, some of the characters appear two-dimensional, but instead of detracting from the story, these characters help support the homage sense to a fairy tale.

As for the story itself, it doesn’t have action scenes, no slaying of the dragon, instead it depends on the emotions of the characters. Readers will feel sad when something bad happens to Jeremy, the will be elated when Ginger helps him discover a possible way out of his troubles, and they will feel sick when the darker period comes, finally they will have tears in their eyes when they read the final pages of the book. Truly this book’s greatest asset is its ability to pull on the heart strings of its readers.

As I mentioned I really liked this book. I thought it was well written, had great characters and dialog, and made me feel for the characters. The only hesitation I have with it is that it is darker than it first appears. Know that and you will be prepared and will thoroughly enjoy this book.


Publisher: Knopf Books For Young Readers

Published: June 11, 2013

Price: $17.99

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Far-Away-Tom-McNeal/dp/0375849726/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1370955977&sr=1-1&keywords=far+far+away

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