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Far Far Away

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  4,853 ratings  ·  1,208 reviews
It says quite a lot about Jeremy Johnson Johnson that the strangest thing about him isn't even the fact his mother and father both had the same last name. Jeremy once admitted he's able to hear voices, and the townspeople of Never Better have treated him like an outsider since. After his mother left, his father became a recluse, and it's been up to Jeremy to support the fa ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published June 11th 2013 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published 2013)
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Beement I think as stated in the book the setting where "far far away" is in the mysterious town, never better
Angypants I read this as an ebook in the dark, and it's not horror, per se, but the suspense was killing me! Finished it in two days, and love it.…moreI read this as an ebook in the dark, and it's not horror, per se, but the suspense was killing me! Finished it in two days, and love it.(less)
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Newbery 2014
17th out of 92 books — 416 voters
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Mock Printz 2014
18th out of 77 books — 796 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Laura McNeal
Even though I'm married to Tom and this makes me a tiny, tiny bit less credible, there are at least nine reasons why you're going to love this book as much as I do:

1) There's a character named Conk Crinklaw.
2) It's narrated by a melancholy but not depressing ghost named Jacob Grimm.
3) The main character, Jeremy Johnson Johnson, is the only one who can hear Jacob Grimm, who speaks 10 languages, several of them dead.
4) Cake is involved.
5) Not just cake, but a very elaborate Swedish type calle
What follows is the strange and fateful tale of a boy, a girl, and a ghost.




You can find the full review and more about this book on my blog!

Beautiful awesome smoky book cover.Everything fits,the color,the font,the figures such as the smoky ghost.Great job on the cover,it is perfectly done!


Far Far Away is a strange fantasy novel,filled with a lot of unusual thing.Personally when I heard tha
I’m not sure if I couldn’t get into this book because I’m not its target audience or if it was really as confusing as I think it was. It must have been as confusing as I think it was because I’m obviously still too confused to figure out if it was really that confusing. Does that make sense? Or do I sound like I’m messed up? I feel like I’m messed up after reading this but I’ve had not a drop to drink nor imbibed in any legal or illegal “medications”. Granted, my fiancé could have spiked my coff ...more
V.C. Birlidis
A wonderfully dark tale. A true brothers Grimm tale. The creepiness of this book hovered above until it struck with brilliant swiftness. I've been always one to believe that a true mark of a talented author is the ability to make the reader want the end, fear the end and sadden when you've reached the end. I truly loved it.
Neil(ed) it!
It did not matter how far you go, you always take yourself with you.

Once upon a time, there was a young man who prefer reading a book entitled Far, Far Away at work than reading training manuals about network synchronization. And poof, he lived happily ever after. Lol.

Far, Far Away is a strange and fateful tale about Jeremy Johnson Johnson who can't see but can hear the ghost of Jacob Grimm, one of the Grimm brothers. Knowing this idea, I find the book more interesting. I was enthralled by the
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Like nothing I've ever read before. This story is beautiful, haunting, horrifying, suspenseful, and clever. It's much darker than many so-called "kids'" books, & I think most kids 11+ will be fine with that. I'll be recommending this to adult readers as well.
Larry Hoffer
I'd rate this 4.5, maybe even 4.75 stars.

"It don't matter how young you are or how old you get or how brittle your bones are or how leaky your gray cells, you are still going to flat like a happy ending."

If you're a believer in happy endings, in fairy tales, enchanted spells, ghosts that have a purpose, and evil forests, than Tom McNeal's wonderfully magical Far Far Away is a book for you. But if you can't get your head around any of these concepts, this is probably not a book you'll enjoy.

In a
4.5 stars
Wonderful! This was such a treat, and such a change from my regular fare of murder and mayhem (literary style, of course). The story combines contemporary YA with a generous splash of magic and history, and the blend is a winner.
Jeremy Johnson Johnson can hear ghosts. That his how he comes into contact with the spirit of Jacob Grimm, one of the German Grimm brothers who collected fairy tales. I grew up in Germany and was read these tales all the time, so there was something quite nostal
Far Far Away is a book that I am finding difficult to review without raving over certain portions and accidentally throwing out a spoiler. I will proceed with caution.

If you have ever read a book that makes you wonder why it took someone so long to produce this kind of genius, then you will be able to grasp how I felt about this story. While the tales of the Brother's Grimm have become rather popular in recent days, this is the first book I have found that did them justice.

If you are searching
Anna (Yoda Is My Spirit Animal)
Jeremy Johnson Johnson lives in the small town of Never Better. But things have definitely been better for him, with only his agoraphobic Dad left to take care of him and a Mom that ran off years ago. Oh, and there's also the fact that he can hear ghosts. Jeremy's constant companion is Jacob Grimm, one of the famous Brothers Grimm, who didn't pass on when he died. Instead he's spent all the time since then looking for his brother Wilhelm. But there is evil lurking in the town of Never Better, th ...more
Andrew Hicks
I have a habit of falling hard for books in Act 1, telling anyone who I think would care that these books are amazing, then changing my mind when the middle and end don't live up to the best-case scenario hopes I have for them based on their setups. Far Far Away was one such book - the first 75 pages or so were elegant, urbane and all-around fun. I thought author Tom McNeal might just be God's gift to YA fiction. Then came a gradual cooling-off for me as reader, but FFA overall was an enjoya ...more
Jan 05, 2015 Zoe rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of A TALE DARK AND GRIMM

Far Far Away is a wonderfully quirky spin on the famous tales of the Brothers Grimm. The setting, characters and blossoming romance combine to make an enjoyable and entertaining read that I found myself completely engrossed in from beginning to end.

Jeremy Johnson Johnson (don't ask...) lives in the quiet town of Never Better, a town where not much ever happens. But, in this serene town, there's evil lurking. A when an anonymous man named the Finder of Occasions has come to Never Better, it's c
Throughout this entire story, all I could think of was sitting in Janice Del Negro's Storytelling class and wonder what she would think of this particular fairy tale.
Intrusive narrator + adult main character + slow action = a book adults think kids will like. Bleh.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

Beautifully written fairy tale best suited for younger YA readers

As the book blurb states, Far Far Away is a tale of a boy, a girl, and a ghost. But it is also more than that: it is a beautifully written story about friendship, love, regret, and the evil that can lurk under the most benevolent of façades.

It's infrequent that I read a book and can tell how much time and planning an author put into it by the way the story unfolds, by how the details that seemed initially irrelevant are brought i
Kat Heckenbach
I was actually a little skeptical of this book. I have to be honest--the cover turned me off. I don't normally mention covers in reviews unless they are exceptional or really bad. This one was sort of a non-cover to me. Just nothing. Boring. Made me almost pass the book by.

But. I. Am. So. Glad. I. Didn't.

First of all the concept is cool. A boy hearing the voice of the ghost of Jacob Grimm! I was, however, afraid it would end up hokey or...I don't know. I just really doubted it was going to be pu
Age: High School-Adult

Daaaaaaaaamn. Why are there so many good books out there? Well, now I can check this fabulous novel off the list. I was ridiculously intrigued by the elements of this story: a boy that can talk to ghosts, a boy that can talk to Jacob Grimm's ghost (!!!), Jacob being stuck in an in between world trying to discover his unfinished business, his "unknown yet unmet desire," the growing friendship between a quiet boy and a curious girl. Such unique and intriguing plot lines that
This book is not something I'd normally be interested in reading, but To Be Sung Underwater was one of my favorite books of 2011. I had no idea that McNeal had another life as a children's author.

This one's actually a title for teens, and I found it quite charming. It reminded me so much of Pushing Daisies that I even heard Jim Dale's voice as I was reading it.

Jeremy Johnson Johnson is an outcast in his small town of Never Better. His two surnames honor the fact that his parents were both name
"This is the strange and fateful tale of a boy, a girl and a ghost." The ghost of Jacob Grimm, to be exact, whose job it is to protect the boy, Jeremy from A Finder of Occasions. The boy's ability to hear the ghost's voice is just another thing that keeps him from fitting in at school. That, plus the fact that his mother ran away with another man which caused his heartbroken father to take to his bed, where he spends his sad life. Ginger, the girl, is popular, vivacious, and daring. In short, sh ...more
Monica Edinger
This is a very unique read, sort of spooky, definitely creepy as it goes on. With one notable exception, the characters are-not-quite Grimm characters, but nearly. The book is filled with Grimm tropes and you think the author is going to take you in somewhat predictable fairy-tale directions and he doesn't. McNeal really knows how to make food sound really scrumptious and also various characters twinkly and fun until...they are not. It probably would have given me nightmares as a kid. That is, I ...more
Super odd. Super unique. Now that I have a few months between reading it and now, I think this'll be one of the more memorable books I've read in 2014. It starts so...sweet, and whimsical. And punches you in the face. At first, I thought this could even go down to middle grade...and then I was like, "Whoa, I don't even know if I can handle this."

I will definitely recommend this to teens who like dark fairy tales. Fairy tale adaptations that are NOT sweet and happy. Fairy tales with an
Gah, this was so, so good. A truly timeless quality to it - tons of suspense and creepiness, a sweet romance, great secondary characters, a real page-turner. Loved it. Let's just slap a Newbery Medal on one side, a Printz Medal on the other, and call it a day, shall we?
Laurie Jean
Captures the wonder of listening.... What did I hear in the rustling leaves.... Yes it is a child's fancy to have a happy ending. But then too are we all not still a child at heart.... Are you listening?
Sarah Bringhurst
This book was creepy. Although not, surprisingly, because it was narrated by a ghost. Said ghost narrator reminded me rather a lot of Death as narrator in The Book Thief. It's both strange and refreshing for a narrator who seems on the surface to be inherently unsympathetic to tug at the reader's heart-strings the way these two do. Still, there's no guarantee that you'll enjoy this one if you liked The Book Thief; both the subject matter and tone are very different.

McNeal tells his story with a
Patti McAnally
Okay, I feel I must confess my love of fairy tales and stories with a fairy-tale feel. I say this because my preference possibly pushed a 4-star novel into 5-star territory for me. I wish we could give 4.5 stars.
This is an odd little book. And I mean "odd" in a good way, as "different and unexpected". It captured my attention right away, although I couldn't really figure out where it was going for a good while. Our hero, Jeremy Johnson Johnson, hears voices. Specifically, he hears the voice of J
This book disproved my whole theory that I have a gaping black vortex instead of a heart because I cried like an idiot at the end. There are a lot of narrative similarities to The Book Thief, but while that book made me roll my eyes even as I realized I'm a terrible person, this one made me hug the book afterward. The ending was so beautiful and sweet!

It's kind of funny to have tagged this with so many fantasy labels at the same time as including on my "realistic" shelf. It has magic cakes and
When I started Far Far Away I expected it to be a fantasy with parts of fairy tales interweaved into the storyline. However, Far Far Away is more of a magic realism/ mystery with very slight magical elements. When I finally realized it was not a fantasy, I wondered if I was going to enjoy the story. However, I quickly became absorbed in the lives and characters in the book. This is the story of Jeremy Johnson Johnson who can hear the voice of the ghost Jacob Grimm. Despite the presence of Jacob, ...more
Kids who are nostalgic for fairy tales might enjoy this, once they get over the fact that the narrator is the ghost of Jakob Grimm, not the teenaged protagonist, Jeremy. Background knowledge alert! Will they know who in God's Black Forest Jakob Grimm is? Eh, there'll be little doubt left after reading this book, as McNeal embeds plenty of facts about Grimm's life, brother, methods of collecting tales, and even the tales themselves.

The conceit here is that kids are disappearing one by one in a ti
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Smith English 4250: Review 1 3 Nov 09, 2014 07:54PM  
Come see Tom McNeal at the Imperial Beach Library 1 4 Feb 26, 2014 03:54PM  
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Tom McNeal was born in Santa Ana, California, where his father and grandfather raised oranges. He spent part of every summer at the Nebraska farm where his mother was born and raised, and after earning a BA in English at UC Berkeley and an MFA in Creative Writing at UC Irvine, he taught school in the town that was the inspiration for his novel, Goodnight, Nebraska. Tom has been a Wallace Stegner F ...more
More about Tom McNeal...
To Be Sung Underwater Goodnight, Nebraska The Dog Who Lost His Bob Zipped Goodnight, Nebraska Reading Group Guide

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“He says that all that happens when you go far, far away is that you discover you've brought yourself along.” 13 likes
“One does not know love until it arrives, and it's arrival will always surprise.” 10 likes
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