2013 National Book Award Finalist, Young People's Literature

Tom McNeal

Far Far Away by Tom McNeal Tom McNeal

Far Far Away

Alfred A. Knopf/Random House

ISBN: 978-0-375-84972-5

Photo credit: Jeff Lucia


Tom McNeal finds the occasion to unite a teenager haunted by the ghost of Jacob Grimm, a girl, and a villain in a tale firmly rooted in the tradition of children’s stories of yore. Set in a place that is both here and now and not, the dark deeds in this book and the heart needed to survive are brilliantly stitched together, creating a unique and modern fairy tale that is as timeless as it is fresh.

About the Book

Jeremy Johnson Johnson’s life has begun to feel like a cruel fairy tale. He hears voices – “strange whisperings” – so the citizens of the small town of Never Better treat him like an oddity and an outcast. Meanwhile, his mother takes a bite of a cake so delicious it’s rumored to be bewitched and runs away with another man. Jeremy’s heartsick father goes into his room and stays there unhappily ever after. Then the town’s coltish, copper-haired beauty takes a bite of the cake herself and 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. . .

Award-winning author Tom McNeal has crafted an enchanted and enchanting novel, a wholly original and addictive fairy tale that, like the cake of Never Better, will make you fall in love and take you far, far away.

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. McNeal’s solo young adult debut, Far Far Away, was released by Knopf in June 2013 to critical acclaim. He is also the author, with his wife, Laura, of four young adult novels (also published by Knopf)—Crooked, Crushed, The Decoding of Lana Morris, and Zipped. His adult titles include Goodbye, Nebraska, winner of the California Book Award, and To Be Sung Underwater. He lives with his wife and two sons in Southern California.


> McNeal's website: mcnealbooks.com