Book Review: FAR FAR AWAY

far far away coverAuthor: Tom McNeal

Number of Pages: 384

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Release Date: June 11, 2013

“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…”


Nearly every aspect of this novel was overwhelmingly unique- from the characters to the setting to the overall plot. It is narrated by a ghost that communicated with Jeremy, which I absolutely loved. He has a playful and dynamic presence in the story despite the fact that he is not a physical entity. Telling the story from his perspective allowed the author to use both first-person and third-person views, mixing insightful personal comments from the ghost with descriptions of what was happening with Jeremy and his friends. The ghost also talked a lot about his past and his life as a living human years ago, which helped to break up the story and keep things interesting.

Because Jeremy’s ghost is actually Jacob Grimm (of the Brothers Grimm) a large component of this novel focuses on discussing fairy tales. The story itself is whimsical yet twisted, mirroring the style and atmosphere possessed by the Grimm fairy tales themselves. The really unique aspect of this book, however, is the fact that it isn’t a modern retelling of any one specific fairy tale. Instead, it incorporates many characteristics and qualities that fairy tales commonly contain, such as temptation, an evil villain, and a (relatively) happy ending. With modern versions of old fairy tales it is fairly easy to predict what is going to happen next based off of the original story. But since Far Far Away was not based on a particular story it was much more difficult to guess what the next move would be. There were some parts that were quite predictable, followed by an enormous twist I never saw coming.

Overall I really enjoyed reading this novel. My only complaints are that some parts were very predictable, and others dragged a bit and didn’t hold my interest. As a whole, though, Far Far Away was an incredibly unique novel with a story that is both funny and sad, light and dark, traditional and twisted.

My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) 4 out of 5 smileys.

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Yes! This book could fall in many different genres, including YA, contemporary fiction, and fantasy, and therefore could appeal to a wide audience of readers. Even if you don’t normally read fantasy, you should definitely give this book a try!

Have you ever read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments section below!



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