READING WITH THE AUTHORS:Far Far Away by Tom McNeal Reviewed by author Meredith Leigh Burton

READING WITH THE AUTHORS:Far Far Away by Tom McNeal Reviewed by author Meredith Leigh Burton


·       ISBN: 9780375849725, New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2013.

REVIEWED BY: Meredith Leigh Burton


For as long as Jeremy Johnson Johnson can remember, he has been able to hear voices no one else can here, and one voice in particular, the voice of the ghost of Jacob Grimm.  Yes, that Jacob Grimm: one of the infamous Grimms brothers who collected fairy tales from many different people.  Jacob Grimm narrates this riveting story of a young boy’s journey of first love, adventure and terror.  As the summer begins in the town of Never Better, Jeremy Johnson Johnson starts spending time with spunky Ginger Boulting house, a flamboyant young girl who encourages him to leave his sheltered life of studying and taking care of his reclusive father.  But a mysterious enemy lurks in the shadows, and both Jeremy and Ginger may be the target of this malevolent enemy’s interest.

I loved that Tom McNeal chose to set this book in a modern-day setting while still evoking a classic feel.  This feeling is due to Jacob Grimm’s narration, as he has a grandfather type voice and is featured as the protagonist pitted against the evil force in the book.  However, Jacob himself learns as much as Jeremy, and the adventure is suspenseful and delightfully unforgettable.  The author’s exploration of the meaning of life, the characters’ search for what is truly important, and the fairy tale feel of this novel make it one that I could not put down.  One of my favorite scenes involves a game show in which Jeremy participates.  It is a suspenseful and very poignant scene.  Far Far Away is a novel that I thoroughly recommend, especially if you enjoy modern mystery stories flavored with bits of magic and heavily seasoned with suspense and poignancy.  Also, if you adore food fiction as much as I do, this book has food descriptions that will make you salivate.

A Finalist for the Edgar Allan Poe Award.

National Book Award Finalist.


CAUTIONS: No cautions for this one.  The implications of villainy are chillingly real, but McNeal leaves it up to the readers to use their imaginations and is never gratuitous or gory.

California Book Award Gold Medal Winner.


Far Far Away is available in both Braille and audiobook formats from NLS. BR 20132.  DB 76877 and can be found by visiting: .





Meredith Leigh Burton was born on July 4, 1983.  She attended the Tennessee School for the Blind and Middle Tennessee State University.  Graduating in December of 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and theater, she then obtained her teaching certification for grades 7-12.  She enjoys working with students, helping them to explore their own talents and learn self-expression through writing.  She also enjoys helping with church activities.  She resides in Lynchburg, Tennessee.

Meredith is an author of young adult fantasy.  Her recent release, Blind Beauty and Other Tales of Redemption, is an anthology of fairy tale retellings that seek to explore the familiar tales in unique ways.  Most of her works feature disabled protagonists who are called upon to fight against evil.  All her characters face difficult obstacles and must find strength to fight.  Meredith hopes to show her readers that disabilities are really blessings, that we all have gifts and long to make a difference in the world.

To see and buy her book visit her at:

Find her on Goodreads at:

Find her on Audible at:

Buy her book in braille at:

Blind Beauty and Other Tales of Redemption is now also available on cartridge from the Tennessee branch of the National Library for Books and Accessible Media, (National Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped).  Meredith is working to get it uploaded on BARD, but that will take a while.  People may call and request the book on cartridge.



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