Parents' Guide to

Far Far Away

By Sally Engelfried, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Clever, creepy modern fairy tale with irresistible heroes.

Far Far Away Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 15+

Slow start. Very predictible. Not for children.

Setting confusing-audio-narrator gave foreign accents to characters yet one part announces the setting is in America. Doesn't feel like America. Predictible at all high points. Boring more than not. Listened to the end because I was cleaning up yard after hurricane and it was better than no book to listen to. Good concept a ghost narrator who whispers to a young man. First book I've ready by this author. Won't seek out his others.
age 14+

Silence of the Lambs for kids!

*Spoilers here* A well written, suspenseful book, but extremely inappropriate for kids. Let's see: 3 kids are abducted by the town baker and kept in cells in his basement. He slowly starves them. He tells them that their parents have forgotten about them and they'll never get out. When he's displeased with them he puts them in total darkness and plays recordings of the dying screams of other children he's murdered at high volume for hours. He also terrorizes them by playing recordings of what sound like rats scurrying around on the floor in the dark. When they're almost dead, he brings them disgusting, moldy food with no silverware and watches as they eat like starving animals with their hands. A librarian recommended this to my sensitive 9 year old. Nice. So glad I happened to pick it up before he got too far into it.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3):
Kids say (3):

Though the story takes place in a modern American village, it evokes the feel of a classic fairy tale, the kind where truly horrible things may indeed happen along the way to happily ever after. Woven throughout is a rich respect for stories and storytelling, but the real strengths of this book lie in its creepy undertones and its cast of complex characters who are always more than what they appear to be: Bullies have deep emotions, loving parents are neglectful, and a well meaning ghost sworn to protect offers misguided advice. Author McNeal deftly plants hints of the very real dangers to come as villagers vaguely wonder why so many children are disappearing, all the while munching on the town baker's delicious Prince cakes.

Jeremy is an instantly likable hero readers will root for despite -- or maybe because of -- his initially humble appearance. As his unlikely friendship with the daring Ginger blossoms and their lives take a distinctly Hansel-and-Gretel turn, the courage and cleverness they inspire in each other is worthy of any of the old tales.

Book Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate