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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Finalist, Teens, 2014

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 family. But it hasn't been up to Jeremy alone. The truth is, Jeremy can hear voices. Or, specifically, one voice: the voice of the ghost of Jacob Grimm, one half of the infamous writing duo, 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 when the provocative local girl Ginger Boultinghouse takes an interest in Jeremy (and his unique abilities), a grim chain of events is put into motion. And as anyone familiar with the Grimm Brothers know, not all fairy tales have happy endings....

Young adult veteran Tom McNeal (one half of the writing duo known as Laura & Tom McNeal) has crafted a novel at once warmhearted, compulsively listenable, and altogether thrilling - and McNeal fans of their tautly told stories will not be disappointed.

©2013 Tom Mcneal (P)2013 Random House

Critic Reviews

"Whether readers connect more deeply with the suspense, the magical elements, or the gloriously improbable love story, they will come away with a lingering taste of enchantment." ( School Library Journal)
"Reminiscent of Hansel and Gretel, and rife with allusions to Grimm Brothers’ tales, this is a masterful story of outcasts, the power of faith, and the triumph of good over evil." ( Booklist)

What listeners say about Far Far Away

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Delicious Modern Day Fairy Tale

This young adult novel is page turner that had me hooked in minutes and is currently this adult's new favorite. Reminiscent of Neil Gaimen's writing ... it is simply brilliant. A playful weaving of past and present, Grimm's fairy tales and Disney's Snow White, green smoke and open oven doors, missing children and post cards from California, the popular and the awkward, children and parents, whispers and songs, salty tears and first kisses,... oh my goodness, there are layers and layers of complexity, flavors and red herrings hidden in this simple, straightforward dark and light fairy tale... filled with fairy tales. The narration is spot on perfect, the voice of Jacob Grimm's ghost as he shares his interactions with Jeremy Johnson Johnson... the boy who can hear him. I can't wait to study the Grimm Brother's and their fairy tales... then read it again.

6 people found this helpful

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Protracted Torture of Young Adults

The writing, humor, and especially the narration were all wonderful. So is the premise at first.
I appreciated the characters development and the world McNeal weaves.
A subjective con is that the story doesn't go anywhere in a geographical sense. I'd seen the plugs comparing FFA to Gaiman's work and had been hoping for something more fantastically sweeping like "Stardust" or "Neverwhere".
And here is something else- I know the story's narrator Jacob hints coquettishly at the story heading into darkness. But there's no decent benchmark in the prologue for how hard things veer left.
I don't like protracted violence or menace towards adolescents- and this is basically all the book offers its listeners as payoff by the end.

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What’s not to like?

It’s great. If you like fairy-tales you might like this. It is a YA book. The voice talent was solid.

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The performance was key.

The performance was key. It set the atmosphere and tone. As for the story, it became much darker than I anticipated.

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As Real as Ghosts and as Magical as the Unexpected

*****"Love it! An alluring tale filled with a unique fairy dust of Jeremy's, Ginger's, and Jacob's view and interaction in romance, humor, and the strength that binds them together! Reminding me that by believing in myself, all my worries and struggles can be vanished in an instant with a touch of four of the most important and necessary ingredients in life...LOVE JOY FAITH and PERSEVERANCE ☺😊😄😇😉😯😐😑😕"*****

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one of my favorites

loved the narrator, easy to listen got me engaged from the start. loved it!! Olivia

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WHAT'S NEXT???

This is one of those books that you have a hard time replacing; what shall I read next? I loved the ghost!! What a cutie pie!! Jeremy was a great hero, as was the ghost! The bad guy? Well, I just wasn't ready for that one. I just kept telling myself that there was no way he could be the bad guy!!! It's a good read and I still can't decide what to read next!!

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Magical

My wife and I loved this book. It took about twenty minutes for us both to get hooked. The characters were just really likable. The story was sweet, but also creepy at the right parts. This is one of our two favorite audiobooks we've listened to together.

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  • 02-07-15

I can't get over how good this is

Everything about this audio book is amazing. The story and the performance are outstanding. If this isn't made into a movie I don't know what book should be. I've listened to this audio book 5 times already.

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Like a delicious slice of 'Prince Cake.'

What made the experience of listening to Far Far Away the most enjoyable?

It was a beautiful story, written as if specifically to be read aloud by this particular narrator. Perfect for a fairy tale.

What did you like best about this story?

I love to read fantasy for the escape from "reality" where infinite darkness can be found, and as it was that I went in knowing very little about the story (my favorite way to read a book or watch a movie) I wasn't prepared for how "grim" it became. However, the creepy dark moments were so beautifully written and resolved and infused with such humanity that they were all the more worth it. Also I liked that I didn't know quite where or when it was taking place, which allowed me to slip fully into the fantasy.

What about W. Morgan Sheppard’s performance did you like?

Oh, his deep tone and timber was enough to compel me listen. I really liked that he didn't try to "do voices," he was just, telling the story as the main character of the ghost. Quite often when a male narrator does young female voices it can grate on the nerves. Also I find many book narrators enunciate very sharply and deliver with an edgy tone, as if the listener were to fall asleep if they didn't. In contrast, Mr. Sheppard's enunciation was soft and often seemed to fall off at the edges. Unusual and perfect. A new favorite narrator, can not wait for another by him.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

There were very poignant moments definitely made me tear up.

Any additional comments?

While there were "edge of your seat" moments, this isn't a continually fast-paced action story, so some may not get what they are looking for. Rather, this is the kind of story that, like a slice "Prince Cake," you want to savor each .... delicious .... bite.... sloooowly.