Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Review Tall Story by Candy Gourlay

Tall Story is a candidate in the Nerds Hear YA event that spotlights under recognized books in the YA field.


Andi is short. And she has lots of wishes. She wishes she could play on the school basketball team, she wishes for her own bedroom, but most of all she wishes that her long-lost half-brother, Bernardo, could come and live in London where he belongs.

Then Andi's biggest wish comes true and she's minutes away from becoming someone's little sister. As she waits anxiously for Bernardo to arrive from the Philippines, she hopes he'll turn out to be tall and just as crazy as she is about basketball. When he finally arrives, he's tall all right. Eight feet tall, in fact—plagued by condition called Gigantism and troubled by secrets that he believes led to his phenomenal growth.



I didn't know what to expect with Tall Story.I don't read a lot of middle grade fiction I was fortunate to get a copy of this book at a convention and thought it would be a nice change for my reading palate and my blog to read and review it.
This story is told through alternating chapters in the narrative voices of  Amandolina and Bernardo. They are siblings separated by years and distance. Andi lives with her Mother and father in England While  Bernardo is in San Andres . I immediately connected with Andi, She is such a bright , Athletic girl. Despite her diminutive size she adores basketball and has finally made it to the school basketball team before her family has to move. The biggest change is yet to com to her family though when after years of trying Bernardo has been approved to come live with the family in England.
Andi is excited to have a brother, a friend and a fellow basketball fan. When Bernardo  arrives though he plunges Andi's world into chaos. at over 8ft tall he draws attention to himself that makes her self conscious. Her parents busy schedule makes Andi often responsible for him.
Bernardo's height is something that he has become used too. In the village he is considered good luck, a reminder of another mythical Bernardo who as legend tells saved the small village from horrible earthquakes. There is a deep sense of responsibility and guilt residing in Bernardo's heart. The villagers don't take well to his relocation and many fear the quakes will come again.
In London Bernardo struggles to fit in with the new city but his heart is filled with love to be with his family again
 It is the reappearance of a strange dizziness and seizures that will occupy the family as the reason for his height becomes revealed.
I really enjoyed the alternating narratives. I especially enjoyed seeing the siblings describe each other. Bernardo is a gentle soul . He has yearned to return to his mother but feels a responsibility to his childhood home.

Candy also does a great job introducing the reader to some of the Philippine culture.
A sweet realistic portrayal of family and sibling life and an enjoyable read. A wonderful read for all ages .


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