Monday, October 21, 2013

Far Far Away by Tom McNeal

So I've been prepping like mad for a librarian talk I'm giving at work this morning.  School has kept me from reading much at all for pleasure and I've neglected reading teen novels.  

Far Far Away grabbed me because of two things:  the cover, and the fact that it's on the list for National Book Award nominees.    And the reviews for this book are phenomenal, so I just had to see what all the hype was about.  I'm glad I did! 

Young Jeremy Johnson Johnson lives in Never Better, a small town that is fairly typical.  He goes to high school with Ginger, a young red head teen that he's secretly crushing on, but hasn't the guts to do much about it.

Jeremy Johnson Johnson (as he is always referred to in the novel) lives with his father in a bookstore that carries only one book--his grandfather's autobiography.  As you could guess, they are in danger of being foreclosed on by the bank.  His father lays in bed and watches tv all day, every day.  And Jeremy Johnson Johnson goes up to his attic room and reads fairy tales.  Heaps of them.  

He also talks to Jacob Grimm.  Yes, that Jacob Grimm.  He's a ghost that talks to Jeremy Johnson Johnson, keeps him company, helps him through rough spots, and is there to protect Jeremy Johnson Johnson from the Finder of Occasions.  This Finder of Occasions would disrupt Jeremy Johnson Johnson's life and destroy him.  And Jacob Grimm is there to stop it.  If only he could figure out who in town is the Finder of Occasions.  

Oh, this story started out a little slow, with a few candidates for the Finder of Occasions.  But it kicks into high gear, and you, along with Jacob, are astonished to see just who has plans for Jeremy Johnson Johnson--and how those plans are very reminiscent of a Grimm's fairy tale.  

Can Jacob save Jeremy Johnson Johnson in time?  And why can't Jacob move on in his journey?  What does he have to come to peace with before he can leave Jeremy Johnson Johnson for good?

This is a magically written novel; so clever, thoughtful, and wise.  It's about not fitting in, regret, guilt, and forgiving not only others but yourself.  It's about evil living among innocence, with a smile that fools and keeps people from looking deeper.  

Such a good book!  I would recommend this to older teens and certainly adults.  Anyone who is a fan of the Brothers Grimm and fairy tales in general will eagerly dive into this gem.  

Rating:  8/10 for writing, an imaginative plot, and a layered storyline.  

Available in hardcover and e-book.

1 comment :

  1. Hello, I came across your blog the other day and enjoyed reading your reviews and just looking at all the books and their stunning cover art.

    I was wondering, how do you manage to acquire all these books? Do you purchase them in hard copy or do you purchase them as e-books? I would love to begin reading again and writing reviews but the thought of purchasing so many books seems overwhelming. How do you do it?