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review 2016-11-28 14:11
NetGalley November
Far Far Away - Tom McNeal

*Book source ~ NetGalley

 

Jeremy Johnson Johnson of Never Better can hear voices and ever since he made the announcement as a child the townspeople have treated him like crap which got worse after his mother skipped town and his father became a recluse. But Jeremy usually doesn’t let it get him down. He has the ghost of Jacob Grimm as his companion and a goal to go away to college to keep him going. Until one day Ginger Boultinghouse turns her considerable charms on him and things go mostly downhill from there. With one of the Brothers Grimm by his side, do you think Jeremy has a happy ending?

 

This fairy tale retelling is a weird one to follow. Jeremy is kinda boring except for his ghost friend Jacob and his daring friend Ginger. But the tale is told from Jacob’s POV so it’s actually more interesting than it starts out. Jacob is supposed to be protecting Jeremy from someone or something called The Finder of Occasions. As the story is told, Jeremy goes about his fairly unremarkable life, trying to figure out a way to keep from getting evicted and the tension builds and builds and builds because this sinister-sounding Finder takes plenty of time (nearly the entire book!) to show up. The suspense was almost unbearable! I kept wondering when the shoe was going to drop. And when it does? Holy shit! Yeeeks! I can’t really go into detail without giving it away, so I’ll just say I was unsatisfied with the Finder’s part of the story. The why is left hanging. Or maybe I missed it. Not sure which. Anyway, this is still a decent read.

Source: imavoraciousreader.blogspot.com/2016/11/far-far-away.html
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review 2014-12-22 16:31
Far Far Away by Tom McNeal
Far Far Away - Tom McNeal

I first read Far Far Away last year as an ARC, but at the time I wasn't able to figure out how I felt about it. When I stumbled across an audio book of it last week, I decided to give it another shot. See, I love fairy tales. Specifically the older ones that weren't afraid of a little darkness. There's something beautiful about those tales and their ability to show the true nature of things. That's what Tom McNeal has captured in Far Far Away. He's taken the Brothers Grimm and channeled their energy into a new story. It's dark, twisted, and yet gorgeous in its own way. Best of all? I was much better able to appreciate it this time around.

 

First off, let me say that I absolutely recommend the audio version of this. W. Morgan Sheppard is a stellar narrator, and I could listen to him read to me for hours. Well, in fact, I did listen to him read to me for hours. I could have listened for hours more though. He is the perfect addition to this story. His voice enchants you into feeling like you're a part of Jeremy Johnson Johnson's life. It's as if you're walking the streets of the town of Never Better. As if you're right there with the ever incorporeal Jacob. I adored listening to this!

 

As for the story, well, let me tell you that it's definitely not what you're expecting. Like all good fairy tales we start with a character who isn't quite what he seems. When I first met Jeremy I honestly believed I knew where his life would take him. I thought that, as most fairy tales do, things would wind their way to getting better for him. I believed that his best self was hiding inside that shy outer shell, and that he would be rewarded for being such a good person. Oh yes, Jeremy is as good as they come. Which is why I also loved Ginger, the female MC of this story. Her fire, and her mischievousness, really brought the book to life.

 

So yes, I truly believed that I knew exactly what would transpire. The truth is though, as I should have expected, things took a very drastic turn. We all know that fairy tales need a villain of some sort. Someone who we can loathe and who makes our hero bloom. Tom McNeal threw me a curve with the villain in this story. No spoilers, oh no you won't get them from me. Suffice it say that you won't see it coming. When it does? And things get darker, and darker still? You'll likely find yourself wondering where it all stemmed from, but feeling to consumed with what happens next to really worry about it.

 

When I read this the first time, I settled on a three star rating because my thoughts were too conflicted to really do more. This time, I'm happy to report that I had a much more enjoyable time in Never Better. I wouldn't doubt that it has something to do with our lovely narrator, but the fact remains that this is now a four star read for me. If you love fairy tales, give this a shot! You might be pleasantly surprised.

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review 2014-09-05 00:29
Fairy-tale based story...
Far Far Away - Tom McNeal

Jeremy Johnson Johnson (so named because his parents both had the last name of Johnson BEFORE they got married) is a quiet outcast who lives above the town bookstore with his father.  An adventurous young girl named Ginger takes an interest in Jeremy. Together they cause some mischief and grow closer. Ginger encourages Jeremy to do things he would never have done on his own.

 

Jeremy has been guided and watched most of his life by the benevolent spirit of Jacob Grimm (one of the Grimm brothers). Jeremy is one of a select few people who can hear ghosts, even though he can't see them. Jacob finds Jeremy and becomes his companion and protector. Jacob feels his most important job is to protect Jeremy from the Finder of Occasions, but he doesn't know who this is and that makes his job difficult.

 

In the small town of Never Better, things are not at all what they seem. And evil could be lurking within any one of the townspeople - waiting and watching....

 

My Opinion

I finished this book quickly, in less than 5 days. I enjoyed discovering the secrets of the town and trying to figure out who the Finder of Occasions was. Jeremy & Ginger's story is romantic but not sappily so. They do fun and crazy things and aren't just concentrating on being in love or whatever.

 

This is a good book for 5th - 8th graders. This book is nominated for a Florida reading award know as the Sunshine State Readers Award. There are a lot of fairy tale based stories out there. This one is very original and enjoyable. The book is 369 pages and may be too long for reluctant readers, but for readers who enjoy fantasy or adventure, this one should be a hit. :) 

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review 2014-06-14 15:31
I have mixed feelings on this one
Far Far Away - Tom McNeal

 

I received a copy of Far Far Away from the publishers via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

I have mixed feelings on this one, I really liked the premise of Far Far Away. I mean cmon, if you were a kid who loves to read and could hear the voice of any ghost, being able to chat with the ghost of one half of the Brothers Grimm. It would be a dream come true.

That being said, this book felt really slow. I enjoyed it but it just took too long to get to the real grit or even just a hint of what was happening, and even then it just seemed to skim over it like it wasn't that big of a deal. Don't get me wrong, the story was cute and it was creepy but it felt flat to me.

The characters needed more depth, they just didn't seem real. The little back story that was given about the characters themselves just wasn't enough to make you feel anything for them, or to be able to relate to them in anyway. Personally I felt like the story was dragged out and the exciting bits were kind of brushed over and overshadowed by everything inbetween.

 

 

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text 2014-06-14 02:43
Reading progress update: I've read 99%.
Far Far Away - Tom McNeal

 

Well that took a turn for the better.   Review to come, watch this space!

 

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