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Far Far Away

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  8,319 ratings  ·  1,799 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 June 2013)
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Jacob Seifert It depends on what you mean by better. If you are asking if the plot takes a few dark twists and turns, then yes. But if you are asking if the author …moreIt depends on what you mean by better. If you are asking if the plot takes a few dark twists and turns, then yes. But if you are asking if the author suddenly understands and improves upon his tension and pacing, then no.(less)
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Cathy he wanted something to fill his empty soul
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,319 ratings  ·  1,799 reviews

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Laura McNeal
Nov 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
V.C. Birlidis
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
May 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf, arc
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
Neil (or bleed)
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 t
Larry H
Dec 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
May 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Claude's Bookzone
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.5 Stars

I enjoyed the writing and liked the quirky and charming characters but the story itself was a bit dull. It wasn't particularly dark or creepy, which were the comments that attracted me to this title. The quiz show part didn't seem to fit in at all. Again, I liked the writing and characters so for that it's a 3 but for the story it would have been a 2. I will therefore settle for 2.5 Stars.
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
Intrusive narrator + adult main character + slow action = a book adults think kids will like. Bleh.
Anna Kay
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kat Heckenbach
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jessica Jeffers
Feb 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
Brenda Kahn
Wow! I totally missed this and thankfully my IT guy stumbled upon the audio and raved about it. I was riveted and scared throughout the entire book. The ghost of Jacob Grimm, the fairy tale parallels, this is a story that will stick with for a long time. I am glad that I read it with my ears as the narrator was excellent with his accents and inflections.
Feb 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
This book is a clever and original blend of a fairy-tale and our real world, both of them mirroring each other. The writing is rich, the characters are quite compelling and Jacob Grimm as the narrator enhances the story. And I want to particularly mention the audiobook which was narrated by W. Morgan Sheppard who obviously did a marvellous job. May this wonderful man rest in peace.
What if you could hear ghosts? What if the ghost you could hear was Jacob Grimm, of the Brothers Grimm fame? Young Jeremy Johnson Johnson,( yes really, that’s his name), is known as slightly odd in his small village of Never Better, where gossip is the local pastime and opinions are often rushed and wrong. Jeremy hasn’t had an easy life, one thing after another has tripped him up, but his heart is huge and in the right place! Jacob Grimm becomes his inner voice, his teacher, his friend and is de ...more
Monica Edinger
Mar 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, gifted, fya-book-club
I enjoyed this book but can't really decide how much I liked it. I had trouble getting into it, but ended up really liking the relationship between Jeremy and Jacob and got a bit teary at the end. Without having heard so much buzz, I don't think I would have walked away from this book thinking that it had any special award-winning qualities (I put it on our Mock Printz for all its attention though).

One thing that really bothered me that I couldn't place the location of the town. Is it in the so
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? ...more
Apr 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Three and a half stars: A masterfully woven modern day fairy tale with a touch of macabre.

Jeremy Johnson Johnson has a great burden on his shoulders. His mother left years ago, and since then his father has been a recluse. Jeremy is about to lose his home because the bank is foreclosing on the bookstore where Jeremy lives with his dad. Worse, Jeremy feels like an outsider in the town because he has a secret. Jeremy hears voices, one voice in particular, the voice of the ghost of Jacob Grimm, on
Andrew Hicks
Mar 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 en ...more

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
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
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, fantasy
"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
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finished-in-2014, ya
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
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
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Two reasons why I somehow find ''Far Far Away'' quite fascinating which, by the way, made me enjoy the novel:

1. its connection with Jacob Grimm. I mean, not everyday can I stumble upon a story that revolves around him. not only that, Jacob Grimm himself is our finest narrator.

spoiler alert: he's not a boring narrator. in fact, I find him really entertaining.

2. the writing style. to be honest, I just bought this book for like 50 pesos (1 dollar) in a warehouse sale. meaning, I am not expecting
Laurie Jean
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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? ...more
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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

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