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McNeal, Tom.
New York : Knopf, 2013
ISBN 0375849720

(3 booktalks)
Click on the book to read Amazon reviews
Booktalk #1

Jeremy Johnson Johnson lives a solitary life in Never Better, USA. His mother vanished when he was in first grade but has left with him a precious gift – a love for fairy tales. His father is still mourning his wife’s departure and has become a television-watching recluse. Jeremy is seen as an outcast by the rest of the townspeople, partly because he once admitted to being able to hear voices. The voice Jeremy hears is none other than Jacob Grimm, a ghost caught between mortal life and the hereafter, who is there to protect Jeremy from his “Finder of Occasions.” Jeremy’s quiet life takes a sharp turn when the outgoing and bold Ginger Boultinghouse invites him to join her for Prinsesstårta at Sten Blix’s Swedish bakery. Ginger’s friendship changes the course of Jeremy’s life; he begins to takes risks that he would never have even dreamed of taking before, much to the disapproval of Jacob Grimm. Jacob would prefer that Jeremy stay at home and study, study, study. As it turns out, he should probably have listened to Jacob, as innocent mischief leads the friends to an unexpected and dangerous place.
  (Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fisher award, 2015)

Booktalk #2

Jeremy is a regular kid in modern-day middle America, but there are a couple of unique things about him: he lives in the back of the Two-Book  Bookstore that he inherited from his grandfather, which only sells both volumes of his grandfather's memoir, with his shut-in dad, and he has an interesting relationship with a ghost that only he can hear: Jacob Grimm. 
Yep, that Jacob Grimm, or, as it is properly pronounced and specifically mentioned in the book, Yaukub. This beautifully written story follows Jeremy through the tribulations of
both regular teenage life and the potential loss of his home as the bookstore fails, and then life begins to resemble the fairy tales that he loves so much (and don't forget that they are the grim Grimm versions).
I’ll warn you: it took me a bit to really get into this one, though I loved the idea of it, but once I did, I finished the last half in one sitting. (Booktalk by NH Flume Committee)

Booktalk #3

When Jeremy Johnson Johnson’s mother eats a Prince Cake from the bakery in Never Better, she falls in love with the first man she sees and leaves Jeremy and his father. Jeremy’s father disappears into his bedroom with a broken heart, and Jeremy is left on his own—except for his constant companion, the ghost of Jacob Grimm. Jeremy has been able to hear the voice of Jacob Grimm since he was a young child, and Jacob has been both a friend and protector to Jeremy.  When Jeremy meets lively Ginger Boultinghouse, he joins in her adventures and shares his secret with her. With Ginger’s and Jacob’s support, Jeremy begins to recover from the loss of his mom.  When people begin to disappear from Never Better, Ginger and Jeremy become involved in solving the mystery. With Jacob’s ghost following along, they find themselves on a scary, dangerous path leading straight to the evil heart of town, the village bakery. If you like scary tales, mystery, and a little bit of magic, read Far Far Away by Tom McNeal.  (Prepared by: Nora Whelchel, Liberty Middle School, South Carolina Junior Book Award)

SUBJECTS:     Grimm, Jacob, 1785-1863 -- Fiction.
                        Ghosts -- Fiction.
                        Friendship -- Fiction.
                        Missing persons -- Fiction.
                        Supernatural -- Fiction.
                        Ghost stories.

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