December 27, 2013
Far Far Away by Tom McNeal
Far Far Away
by Tom McNeal
Far Far Away is the story of a boy, a girl and a ghost.
The girl is Ginger Boultinghouse. She brings a yen for adventure and an ability to see the good in people to this tale. She lures the boy into a daring nighttime raid to play a prank on the local baker.
The boy is Jeremy Johnson Johnson. Until he is drawn out by Ginger, his adventures are confined to the pages of the books he reads — fairy tales collected by his mother. Still, he is a a boy of unusual talents including the ability to hear one particular ghost.
The ghost is Jacob Grimm, one of the famous Brother’s Grimm. Jacob is there to keep Jeremy safe from the Finder of Occasions. Jacob does his best but, as in fairy tales, it is sometimes hard to tell what is in peoples’ hearts. Those who seem scary are often hiding their own pain. Those who appear jolly are something else altogether.
These three characters meet in the town of Never Better. Most of the people who live there would agree — it is a nice little place. For most people. There is a quaint diner and a bakery full of amazing wonders. The townspeople wait for the days that green smoke comes from the bakery chimney, because green smoke means Prince Cakes, the most marvelous pastry ever. Even the popular kids flock to the bakery for their slices of Prince Cake.
Jeremy has never had prince cake. Jeremy doesn’t mind being ignored by his classmates, because then they aren’t in his business and business is bad for the Two Book Book Store. Jeremy inherited it from his grandfather and it only sells the two volumes of his grandfather’s autobiography. Jeremy doesn’t want anyone to know that he is about to loose the story which is also his home.
Then Ginger sweeps Jeremy into her adventures. She wants him to have some harmless fun, thus the prank on the baker, but she is also determined to help him save his home. To do this, they must survive.
I’ve heard a lot of people talk about how scary this book is. I would say it is dark and creepy and very Grimm, but not scary. That said, I put off finishing it when things were at their Grimmest.
McNeal does an excellent job creating this atmosphere and developing a range of characters in this modern Hansel and Gretel. Teens will love McNeal’s honesty. Adults may be annoyed about how hard it is to get people to see the truth.
Check out the book trailer (below) and then request a copy for your young reader.