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Tall Storyby Candy Gourlay
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Thirteen-year-old Andi's brother, Bernardo, has lived halfway across the world from her since she was born. But the British Home Office has finally allowed 16-year-old Bernardo to immigrate to London, and he arrives just as basketball-obsessed Andi is struggling at a new school where the basketball team is boys-only. Bernardo has grown up in the small Philippine village of San Andres where he is hailed as a hero — often compared to the legendary, Paul Bunyanesque figure of Bernardo Carpio — yet is plagued by a past tragedy. At over eight feet tall, Bernardo is indeed a giant, a fact that initially freaks out tiny Andi (the family discovers he has a tumor on his pituitary gland). The story switches between Andi's feisty narration and Bernardo's descriptions of life in his village (and the mystical responsibility he feels for it) as well as his adjustment to life in London. Small details, such as why modern-day Andi idolizes Michael Jordan instead of, say, LeBron James distract slightly, but overall first-time author Gourlay weaves just enough magic into this moving family reunion to deliver an emotional punch. Ages 10 — up. (Feb.) Sixteen-year-old 'Beatles nerd' Regina Bloomsbury is devastated that her retro pop band, the Caverns, is falling apart, so she makes a 'tossed-off wish' for them to be as famous as the Beatles. Her wish is granted by a fairy godmother, and she awakens to find that the Caverns have taken the place of the Beatles, albeit in the present day. Regina persuades her resentful love interest/bandmate, Julian (who, in her new life, she has dated and dumped), that she has amnesia, to give herself time to make sense of her new superstar circumstances. In her fast-paced alternate life she is dating a teenage movie star, crashing in fancy hotels, and performing at the Grammys. Regina has only six days to decide if she wants to remain a pop princess or return to her smalltown life. As in his debut novel, Killer Pizza, Taylor has hold of an undeniably clever concept, though this high-energy fairy tale is let down by foreseeable plot twists and lightly drawn characters. Regina's mixed emotions and path toward gaining confidence are similarly unsurprising, resulting in an entertaining but not entirely memorable magical mystery tour. Ages 11 — up. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
Andi wishes that her long-lost half-brother, Bernardo, could come and live in London. When he finally arrives from the Philippines, Andi discovers Bernardo is plagued by a condition called Gigantism and troubled by secrets that he believes led to his phenomenal growth.
About the Author
CANDY GOURLAY was born in Manila during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. After working as a journalist for some years, she moved to the U.K. in her twenties. Candy is now a full-time writer across a range of mediums: short stories, blogs, Web sites, journalistic features, and radio programs. Tall Story is Candy's first full-length published novel. Visit her on the Web at CandyGourlay.com.
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