Synopses & 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 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 readable, and altogether thrilling — and McNeal fans of their tautly told stories will not be disappointed.
"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, Starred Review
"Enchanting, romantic, and tinged with terror, this modern story subtly weaves the haunting essentials of the fairy-tale tradition into a fascinating and beautifully written homage to its source material." The Bulletin, Starred Review
A National Book Award Finalist
An Edgar Award Finalist
A California Book Award Gold Medal Winner
A dark, contemporary fairy tale in the tradition of Neil Gaiman.
Jeremy Johnson Johnson hears voices. Or, specifically, one voice: the ghost of Jacob Grimm, one half of 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 Jacob can't protect Jeremy from everything.Whencoltish, copper-haired Ginger Boultinghouse takes a bite of a cake so delicious it s rumored to be bewitched, she falls in love with the first person she sees: Jeremy.In any other place, this would be a turn for the better for Jeremy, but not in Never Better, where the Finder of Occasions whose identity and evil intentions nobody knows is watching and waiting, waiting and watching. . . And as anyone familiar with the Brothers Grimm know, not all fairy tales have happy endings.
Veteran writer Tom McNeal has crafted a young adult novel at once grim(m) and hopeful, full of twists, and perfect for fans of contemporary fairy tales like Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book and Holly Black's Doll Bones. The recipient of five starred reviews, Publishers Weekly called Far Far Away "inventive and deeply poignant."
About the Author
Tom McNeal holds an MA in creative writing from UC Irvine and was a Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer at Stanford University. He is the author, with his wife, Laura, of four young adult novels published by Knopf: Crooked, Crushed, The Decoding of Lana Morris, and Zipped. His adult titles include Goodbye, Nebraska and To Be Sung Underwater. He lives with his wife and two sons in Southern California. Visit their website at McNealBooks.com.