Release Date: June 11, 2013Add to GOODREADS
Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Length: 384 pages
Review Copy: Hardcover, provided by Random House Canada for honest review.
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....
Young adult veteran Tom McNeal (one half of the writing duo known as Laura & Tom McNeal) has crafted a novel at once warmhearted, compulsively listenable, and altogether thrilling - and McNeal fans of their tautly told stories will not be disappointed.
McNeal's Far Far Away is brilliant and stunning. I was absolutely awestruck with this one and it's story. There was no fairytale retelling but a new one built into this work of art. Going into this I thought that it would be told from Jeremy's POV but it wasn't. It is instead told by Jacob, who is one of the Brothers Grimm. This made the narration interesting and was something that you wanted to hear and learn from because of how unique it was.
The plot did have its ups and downs but regardless of the pace I consistently found myself completely focused on what was going on. With Jacob as one of the main characters and the title I figured that this would be a twisted retelling but I was proved wrong. The story turned out to be its own tale and it was almost as deliciously twisted as a Grimm tale would be. The thing is though that Jacob is not there to write it, he believes he is there to help the young Jeremy. Jacob is the ghost of the tale and is stuck wondering the earth for a reason unknown but he believes if he helps Jeremy and protects him that he will be able to move on and find his brother. What he doesn't know is that they are about to become one of the tales that him and his brother twisted so long ago and that nobody will know it is coming.
Though Jacob was an unexpected narrator of this tale, I love what McNeal did with him. To be honest beyond some of the tales from the Grimm brothers, I do not know much of their lives. For this I choose to love the background that was set up for him and the reason for his wondering. His past was also tragic and kind of wonderful at the same time, something that you would expect. As a main character he was refreshing and interesting to learn from. He pushed Jacob to be great but there was also a measure of affection, like Jeremy was more than his pass into the next step. There was also some unique rules and theories on him being a ghost but when it came down to everything in the end, it became clear as to why he was where he was.
My heart went out to Jeremy right from the start. He is kind hearted and sweet natured but his and his families outsider nature puts him at a great disadvantage. He is a teen and what teen wants to be on the outside of everything? From the moment Ginger walks into his life, there is a series of unfortunate events and I couldn't help but wonder if the girl actually liked him or was just simply using him for her own amusement. There were many times that I wished the guy would just walk away but I understood why he couldn't, Ginger was like a magnet and interesting, something that he would not have expected to happen to him ever. I guess you could say that most of this made Jeremy a realistic character despite his unique ability to hear Jacob.
The journey that Far Far Away took me on was one in a million. It was a new tale that could go in the books and be twisted and retold if people looked into it. There is something fantastic about the way McNeal writes and the life that the characters take on. Reading this book was like enjoying a classic for me and though this is my first book written by McNeal but it will not be my last. This is a book that I highly recommend to those that have a love of fairy tales but enjoy one that dark in its own rights, with characters that you can actually feel for.
In the old tales, kindness is the purest form of heroism. Find the character who meets the world with a big heart and an open hand and you have found your hero or heroine. Jeremy was like this
whatever was his was yours.
**Note: Normally I do more quotes than this but I really didn't know what to quote from this one! You have to read it to really experience it... Sorry guys.He was quiet for a few seconds. Then he said, "I don't know. It's just that after my mother left and then after my grandfather died, it was pretty bad. But you came, and I got used to just doing my studies and my odd jobs and taking care of my father and having you nearby and everybody else just leaving me be. It wasn't great, but it was okay. Now all of a sudden, it's like I'm under everybody's microscope."Yes, I said. I understand. But we must work together, I am here to help you