This book is not something I'd normally be interested in reading, but To Be Sung Underwater
was one of my favorite books of 2011. I had no idea that McNeal had another life as a children's author.
This one's actually a title for teens, and I found it quite charming. It reminded me so much of Pushing Daisies
that I even heard Jim Dale's voice as I was reading it.
Jeremy Johnson Johnson is an outcast in his small town of Never Better. His two surnames honor the fact that his parents were both named Johnson - though they weren't related. His mother took off when he was young and his father hasn't left the house since. He runs the Two-Book Bookstore, which only stock the two volumes of his grandfather's autobiography and doesn't actually make any money. As if that weren't weird enough, he's the only one who can hear the voice of a ghost. That ghost is Jacob Grimm, who's not able to move on to the afterlife until he's fulfilled his duties on Earth. Evidently, for reasons unknown, his duties involve protecting Jeremy from enigmatic danger.
Tell me that doesn't sound like a Bryan Fuller pilot.
This isn't a flawless book. Sometimes, the fact that Jacob Grimm is a narrator who can sneak off and see what other people are up to feels a bit like a device and I never fully understood the origins, if you will, of the sinister part of the storyline. Overall, though, I was so lost in the quirkiness that I wasn't overly bothered by a few problems in the execution. I think anyone who gets excited by offbeat themes and a little suspension of disbelief will enjoy this book.