Tween Tuesdays (20) Tall Story by Candy Gourlay

Tuesday March 15, 2011

Tween Tuesdays is a meme I first saw at Green Bean Teen Queen and really liked because she is also a librarian who deals with teens and tweens. So, since most of my blog is devoted to YA and teen books I figured that on Tuesdays I can do posts for all the tweeners out there!

Tall Story
by Candy Gourlay
February 8, 2011
David Fickling Books (Random House)
Goodreads summary: 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.

In a novel packed with quirkiness and humor, Gourlay explores a touching sibling relationship and the clash of two very different cultures.

Pontifications... Loved, loved, loved this story! Funny, sad and heartwarming I enjoyed every page. Sometimes I muddle through middle grade reads because of the obvious age difference and interest level but I can't imagine anyone who wouldn't thoroughly enjoy this sweet tale. 

Your heart will go out to Bernardo as he transitions from one culture to another and deals with his medical issues as well as the sadness he feels in leaving his small Philippine village. His half-sister Andi has been eagerly waiting Bernardo's arrival as she disappointingly deals with the fact her new school only lets boys join the basketball team. In alternating chapters Andi and Bernardo describe Bernardo's move from the Philippine's to London. A huge change for him is how the people in both places see his physicality...the villagers attribute magical means while the medical community in London strictly identifies Bernardo as a person with a disease. This is a stark contrast for Bernardo because his villagers see him as a protector and folk hero. When disaster befalls his Philippine village, Bernardo must also deal with the guilt of not being there. 

This is one of those times I feel my review can't say enough good things about a book or do it justice. With a wide range of readers, from 5th and up, I think this belongs in every library! Highly Recommended.

  • A Junior Library Guild Selection
  • Booklist Starred
  • Kirkus Review Starred
  • School Library Journal Starred


GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

This one sounds so good! I hadn't heard of it before-thanks for sharing!

Candy Gourlay said...

yay! i'm so glad you like it!