For all that the story described seems fantastical, somehow McNeal is able to successfully pull off realism, mystery and fantasy all in one story. McNeal layers his story well: the fantasy elements of the story seem less like straight fantasy and more like every day magic where people discover the new in their daily life. The magic occurring in this book is one where love occurs in unexpected places and people stuck in their ways begin to change into someone new. In this way, McNeal’s writing does not isolate readers who are not necessarily fans of fairytales and enhances the story with the addition of an unexpected mystery.
Regrettably, the meat of the story is in the mystery, which only occurs towards the latter half of the book. Many readers will miss out on this addition if they are not immersed in the relationships McNeal creates between Jeremy, Jacob, and the rest of town characters enough to continue reading. McNeal builds these characters realistically and makes them so enjoyable that when the suspense arrives the writing makes it seem like readers should have seen it coming from the beginning. Together with the unique narrator, Far Far Away is a great read for those already interested in Grimm fairytales or those who enjoy reading about the magic of everyday life.
Does it have a Young Adult Label?: No.
Favorite Quote: “He says all that happens when you go far, far away is that you discover you’ve brought yourself along.”
Recommended if you like: fairytales, ghosts, cakes, magic, game shows, mysterious disappearances, love, family, for fans of A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz