Far Far Away

Far Far Away

eBook - 2013
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A National Book Award FinalistAn Edgar Award FinalistA California Book Award Gold Medal WinnerA dark, contemporary fairy tale in the tradition of Neil Gaiman. Jeremy Johnson Johnson hears voices. Or, specifically, one voice: the ghost of Jacob Grimm, one half of 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 Jacob can't protect Jeremy from everything. When coltish, copper-haired Ginger Boultinghouse takes a bite of a cake so delicious it's rumored to be bewitched, she falls in love with the first person she sees: Jeremy. In any other place, this would be a turn for the better for Jeremy, but not in Never Better, where the Finder of Occasions--whose identity and evil intentions nobody knows--is watching and waiting, waiting and watching. . . And as anyone familiar with the Brothers Grimm know, not all fairy tales...
Publisher: 2013
ISBN: 9780375896989
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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From Library Staff

List - Horror
TeensSJCPL Aug 24, 2017

"When Jeremy Johnson Johnson's strange ability to speak to the ghost of Jacob Grimm draws the interest of his classmate Ginger Boltinghouse, the two find themselves at the center of a series of disappearances in their hometown"

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Aug 17, 2015

VERY slow. From my understanding, this book eventually becomes some sort of horror/mystery, but I only made it halfway through before I got bored with muddling through the everyday of our protagonist's life. Basically nothing happens in the first half of the book. If this story is really about the missing children, then that needs to be the focus throughout. So far, it's only been mentioned a few times in passing, which didn't stop me from correctly guessing who the bad guy is (it's kind of thrown in your face).

Gabi_Dubh Oct 30, 2014

A memorable and fascinating tale of a boy and his companion ghost. One of my favorite recent reads.

FindingJane Jun 25, 2014

This novel is one of the most harrowing you will ever read. Part romance, ghost story and ripped-from-the-headlines crime story, "Far Far Away" draws you subtly, slowly but surely into its web of deceit, lies and horror. The main narration comes from the unlikely viewpoint of Jacob Grimm, the ghost of one of the long-dead Grimm brothers and his attempts to school a bright but withdrawn boy. The relationship between these two characters is by turns poignant, exasperating and tender; the reader comes to realize that they both fulfill a specific need for each other as they navigate the pitfalls that life—and death—have strewn in their paths. It’s an original story brimming with character, story and moral and its reliance on the old Grimm märchen truly enhances the beauty and bleakness that lie at its core.

LibraryK8 Jun 24, 2014

A great book for those ready to enter the horror genre, in keeping with the Grimm’s tales, McNeal leaves much up the imagination, making it a suspenseful and creepy story for all ages.

mvkramer Feb 16, 2014

The only paranormal element in this otherwise realistic novel is the author's choice of narrator - the ghost of Jacob Grimm, as in "The Brothers Grimm." I hadn't an inkling why the author chose this narrator until the book was close to done, but the contrast created by having a normal, modern-ish, midwestern (?)teenager's life narrated by a three-hundred-year-old German ghost was intriguing from the beginning. The plot of the novel is also mostly realistic. Young Jeremy Johnson Johnson has some typical teenage troubles - he's considered a nerd by others, he has a crush on popular and vivacious Ginger, his mother left the family - and he also has some less typical ones - his father is so depressed he can't leave his room, and the bank is going to repossess his bookstore/house. It's only about three-quarters of the way through the book that it takes a turn for the dark and strange, though the narration is so heavy with foreshadowing that it was almost a relief to finally know what was going to happen. A strange book, for the more thoughtful teen, but well written and highly recommended.

JCLChrisK Oct 19, 2013

"But it is like we're in some kind of fairy tale," Frank Bailey said. "It's got enchantments and dungeons and potions and forbidden rooms"--his face fell; he seemed suddenly to remember something--"except this time it's all real."
For the longest time, this book reads almost entirely real (well, aside from the ghostly narrator; but I'll get to that). Jeremy, Ginger, and their small town may have a few quirks, but for the most part they're everyday people going about their everyday lives. It's still quite an interesting story told deftly and appealingly, it just doesn't seem like anything particularly thrilling is in store. But then. Then there are . . . some very unexpected (though foreshadowed) developments, and the stakes change drastically. We find ourselves pulling for these characters we've come to care for in entirely new ways.
About that ghost. I thought it was an excellent way of turning an omniscient narrator into a character. Jacob isn't entirely omniscient, but enough so that his narration feels more like a typical storytelling than a first-person account. He has a history that matters, but for the most part he's there to watch over and tell us about Jeremy and Ginger and the other characters. And since he was a polite gentleman storyteller in life, his narration is both charming and compelling.
Life in a small town in the middle of the U.S. generally seems either dull or dolorous to the average teen. Jeremy and Ginger feel the same until they find solace and adventure first in each other then in secrets far more exciting than they ever could have wished.
"What follows is the strange and fateful tale of a boy, a girl, and a ghost. The boy possessed uncommon qualities, the girl was winsome and darling, and the ancient ghost . . . well, let it only be said that his intentions were good. . . . "


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JCLChristiH Jan 29, 2014

But before he could go, Jeremy pointed to the third door, the one that the baker had not opened, and said, "What's in there?" "Oh," the baker said, his eyes falling on the door. "Nothing, nothing. Please do not open it." Again the baker made to leave, and again Jeremy stopped his progress. "Mr. Blix?" "Yes?" "You can't do that." The baker seemed confused. "Can't do what?" "You can't leave and tell us not to open the door, because that happens all the time in fairy tales and movies, and everyone knows that sooner or later whoever isn't suppposed to open the door is going to open the and, and..."

JCLChrisK Oct 19, 2013

I hope someone picks up on McNeal's TV show idea and turns it into a reality. I would watch it.
"Uncommon Knowledge was the only show that Jeremy and his father enjoyed watching together, and I confess that I, too, found it diverting. "The quiz show that celebrates the uncommon knowledge of the common man!" a rich voice always proclaimed at the beginning. Then the host would describe how the show's talent scouts had scoured the far corners of the countryside looking for ordinary men and women who possessed extraordinary knowledge about some particular thing--the history of the carrier pigeon, for example, or the terra-cotta soldiers of Emperor Qin, or the life cycle of skinks. These self-taught experts were then questioned by renowned authorities in the field. The audience rooted for the commoners, as they always have."


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Jul 14, 2016

mauve_jaguar_30 thinks this title is suitable for 7 years and over


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LibraryK8 Jun 24, 2014

An amazing and unique retelling of Hansel and Gretel this story is narrated by the Jacob Grimm himself, caught in the plane between life and death. Jacob has become rather fond of Jeremy Johnson Johnson, who has the unique ability to hear spirits, a gift that has ostracized him from many in his small town of Never Better, unfortunately suffering from a rash of missing persons. Luckily it does not deter the friendship of the enigmatic and problematic Ginger Boultinghouse, who’s thirst for adventure has gotten them both in trouble on more than one occasion. Ginger's plans, and Jeremy's unique gift have garnered the interest of the jolly town baker Stan Blix, famous for his delicious prince cakes (a recipe with more than a few secret ingredients). Stan's interest is not so innocent as it seems when he drugs them and locks them in his basement! Jacob must try to help Jeremy and Ginger escape their grisly fate.


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