Book of the Week: Far Far Away, by Tom McNeal

Far Far Away, by Tom McNeal
Fantasy

First line: “What follows is the strange and fateful tale of a boy, a girl, and a ghost.”

Booktalk: We all think we know fairy tales. Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty – there’s a bad guy and a princess and they all live happily ever after. At least they do in the Disney versions.

In the original stories, though, Little Red Riding Hood gets eaten by the wolf. The evil stepsisters get their eyes pecked out. And the poor Little Mermaid jumps into the sea and evaporates.

That’s the kind of fairy tale that this book deals with.

In a town called Never Better, it seems like things can’t get much worse for Jeremy. He’s an outcast at school, his mom is dead, and he and his dad are about to be evicted. Oh: and he can talk to ghosts, so the ghost of Jacob Grimm – one of the fairy-tale-collecting Grimm brothers – has been following him around for months, constantly reminding him to do his homework.

The romantic attentions of a popular, rebellious girl named Ginger make him think that his luck is about to change, and following her lead, he makes a U-turn from “weird kid who studies too much” to “kid who breaks into someone’s house and gets chased by the cops”. Unfortunately for both of them, there is a lot more at stake than getting arrested: in this brutal world inspired by the tales of the Grimm Brothers, they may end up paying with their lives.

Similar titles: A Tale Dark and Grimm (Adam Gidwitz), The Sisters Grimm (Michael Buckley)

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