Far Far Away by Tom McNeal

Far Far Away by Tom McNealFar Far Away by Tom McNeal
Published by Random House Children's Books on June 11th 2013
Source: Publisher
Pages: 384


Jeremy Johnson Johnson has felt like an outsider most of his life. He’s been supporting his reclusive father ever since his mother left them and recently admitted to his classmates that he can hear voices. Though it causes the townspeople of Never Better to shy away from him, Jeremy knows that being able to hear the voice of Jacob Grimm, famous half of fairy tale writing pair The Brothers Grimm, is a gift. When Jeremy begins a friendship with popular Ginger Boultinghouse, she encourages him to take risks and break free from his usual routine. But these changes set off a series of events that will expose Never Better’s secrets in a tale dark enough to be plucked from the past.
Far Far Away is narrated by the voice of Jacob Grimm, who is charged with protecting Jeremy from an unknown person with evil intentions before he can transition to the afterlife. At the start of the novel Jeremy’s reserved state keeps the tone safe, as he and Jacob struggle to figure out who could be plotting against him. But as Jeremy’s friendship with Ginger grows and he begins to experience the world around him, the book’s mood is altered in a way that masterfully echoes the work of the Grimm Brothers.

“I suddenly understood that, for Jeremy, the surprise of love would not arrive, as it does in the tales, with a strange enchantment or with a smiting glance or with a lilting voice riding the wind through the woodland. No, for Jeremy, the surprise of love would be carried on the lazy currents of friendship.” 

I tend to be overly picky with the YA novels I choose to read, but Far Far Away marked everything off my checklist and then some. The story is brilliantly original, with a dash of history and perfectly dark overtones. Tom McNeal has taken the heart of The Brothers Grimm tales and updated them, making Far Far Away a thrilling, relevant story for readers of all ages.


  • Well, well! If I had seen a synopsis of this almost anywhere else I would have easily skipped it. BUT your review makes me want to check it out!

    • I actually passed it on to a friend of mine that teaches HS English and she put it right back in my hands after reading because she knew I would like it. It’s not your usual YA at all, I adored it.

  • Nadia

    Wow! This one sounds like a must read and the perfect choice for RIP in October. I’m definitely getting my hands on a copy of it ;)

  • Lindsey Stefan

    Ok, I was interested even before I read your excellent review. What a cool-looking cover! Your endorsement has sealed the deal. I will look out for far far away.

  • I’m glad you liked this one! I could almost swear I have it around here somewhere.

  • Ti Reed

    I am so glad to hear that you liked this one. It’s on the list! As is, everything you read ;) We have the same ARC tastes.

  • This sounds cool!!!!!!! And being picky is good. :)

    • It really is! I love that it has the dark, creepy elements of the Grimm fairy tales, but not really until the end of the story.

  • Jo @ BLBookReviews

    Thanks Shannon – great review. I am very picky with my YA selections too, but such an unusual premise … And I am intrigued to hear this Jacob Grimm voice after loving Kate Forsyth’s The Wild Girl featuring the Grimms earlier this year. Going on my wish list!

    • I loved hearing about The Wild Girl and can’t wait until it’s available here! I think this would be a great companion book.

  • Thanks for the great review. I was wondering what this was really about; I love the cover and sometimes I just get sucked in by cover lust with YA books and pick ones I don’t really want. I only read the genre occasionally, and only if it has suspense or fantasy in the mix. Thanks for sharing this.