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Far Far Away

Review

Far Far Away

Jeremy Johnson Johnson seems to be a peculiar boy around the small town of Never Better --- and not only because he has the same last name twice. He claims he can hear a voice, often retreats to his attic full of fairy tales and is most focused with his school work so he can get into a good college away from his town. But what may seem to be peculiar is intriguing to the adventurous Ginger, a girl whose eyes land on Jeremy while she's still eating the first bite of Prince cake. Falling in love with the person you see while eating your first bite of cake is only the first interception of reality and fairy tale in FAR, FAR AWAY, but it is the one that sets most of the story in motion.

"Tom McNeal creates a wonderful story that weaves real life situations with fantasy. Because the story is narrated entirely by the voice of Jacob Grimm --- the voice that Jeremy alone can hear --- there are excellent facts about the lives of the Brothers Grimm, as well as glimpses into the fairy tales they collected and rewrote."

Ginger begins seeking Jeremy out so she can spend time with him. First, she enlists him in a prank on the town's baker, then she climbs up to his room and accidentally spends the night. Soon, they are the talk of the entire town and suddenly blacklisted. This is certainly no good for Jeremy, whose house is about to be forclosed and whose only source of income is what he can earn mowing villagers' lawns. The worst part is that his father has been driven incapable of pretty much anything but watching his favorite TV show, Uncommon Knowledge, ever since he wife ran away, never to return. And although Jeremy can't do much in terms of raising the necessary funds or helping his father renew his life after his mother left them, he sure is willing to try. And fortunately, not all of the villagers are eager to ignore Jeremy, and some even try to help.

Tom McNeal creates a wonderful story that weaves real life situations with fantasy. Because the story is narrated entirely by the voice of Jacob Grimm --- the voice that Jeremy alone can hear --- there are excellent facts about the lives of the Brothers Grimm, as well as glimpses into the fairy tales they collected and rewrote. Readers will quickly learn that "happy ever after" isn't always found in reality nor in many fairy tales, and that sometimes things can become much darker before they get better. This is not to say that this is twisted story. In fact, in this tale first love, beginning anew and justice are all well represented. Curiously, these are also main themes in Grimms' fairy tales.

Reviewed by Liz Kossnar on June 26, 2013

Far Far Away
by Tom McNeal

  • Publication Date: June 11, 2013
  • Genres: Young Adult 12+
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0375849726
  • ISBN-13: 9780375849725