McNeal, Tom. Far Far Away. Knopf BFYR, 2012
Jeremy can hear voices; specifically, Jeremy hears the voice of Jacob Grimm (the narrator of this book) in his head. Jeremy is trying to keep his family afloat: caring for his father who hasn't recovered after the disappearance of his mother, running his grandfather's two-book bookstore, and trying to survive going to school, etc. Also, because of the narrator we know there's a villain somewhere in this story, but not until the narrator recognizes the villain do we discover him, too.
Wow. This book was really well done, and I am so glad we have a copy of it in my library. First, having a fairy-tale style story narrated by Jacob Grimm is awesome. Second, I liked the sub-plot of Jeremy trying to save his bookstore by going on the reality TV show, but losing because he's never watched a Disney movie. Third, Jeremy's grandfather opened his bookstore to sell his own autobiography, both volumes of it, hence the Two-Book Bookstore. [Needless to say, Jeremy doesn't get much business at work.] Then we have the baker with his mysterious green smoke the night before he sells the prince cakes. And the whole time we know there's a bad guy that Jacob is keeping his eye out for, but since he doesn't know who it is, we don't, either. I guessed the ending long before we got there, but I still enjoyed the story very much. This will be an easy one to book talk, and I'm hoping it will get my students reinterested in the expansive fantasy collection in our library!
Recommended for: tweens, teens, strong middle grade readers, fans of fairy tales
Red Flags: some minor violence
Overall Rating: 5/5 stars