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Tall Story [Kindle Edition]

Candy Gourlay
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $6.99
Kindle Price: $5.98
You Save: $1.01 (14%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Working through the many meanings of “tall story,” first-time author Gourlay slam-dunks this tale of a towering boy from the Philippines and the pint-size, basketball-crazy half sister with whom he has recently been reunited. Told in the alternating voices of Bernardo, who suffers from gigantism, and Andi, who longs to play point guard on her school’s b-ball team, the novel effortlessly encompasses real-world dreams as well as magic realism. Bernardo was left behind when his mother, a nurse, immigrated to the UK and forged a new family. In San Andres, Bernardo is seen as a reincarnated folk-hero giant who protects the area from earthquakes, though he believes the blame for his freakish height falls on the local witches who cursed him. In contrast to Bernardo’s anxieties over coming to the UK, Andi’s struggles of readjustment to her changed family appear minor. Wonderfully, though, Gourlay uses the dual viewpoints to show that Andi’s concerns are no less important. And, it turns out, she finds that there is more than one thing worth wishing for. This will capture the hearts and minds of sports lovers—and just about everyone else as well. Grades 6-9. --Karen Cruze


Starred Review, School Library Journal, March 2011:
"Contemporary Tagalong and British vernacular enhance the brother/sister narration and enliven the depiction of cultures. In her first young adult novel, Gourlay offers an appealing blend of diverse characters, emotional conflicts, well-paced action, and an upbeat finale. The challenges facing separated, immigrant families and the universal teen desire for acceptance and respect ring true."

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 929 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: David Fickling Books (February 8, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #451,959 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Debut Gem April 26, 2011
By ToyaTex
Gourlay's first novel shows her intimate familiarity with both cultures portrayed in the book - especially the Filipino culture, with its folk beliefs, obsession with basketball, familial loyalty, religion, close community, as well as the reality of immigration overseas to find greener pastures, often at the expense of keeping families geographically intact; and British culture, which she has embraced herself as an adult and in which her children have been raised. Her characters are wonderfully colorful and easy to visualize - from the gentle giant Bernardo to the diminutive and tomboyish Andi - and the rest of the supporting characters have their own engaging stories. I found myself immersed in their lives and laughing with, worrying about and cheering for them. I could easily picture Old Tibo or Jabby in my mind while reading about them. They are unusual but not outrageously so - cultural peculiarities add a rich source of learning for readers unfamiliar with them. There is an interesting mix of fantasy with reality, the fantasy coming mostly from legends and myths told by the characters in Bernardo's small town. The sports theme is not overarching, so as to turn off non-basketball fans. All in all, a page-turner with enough adventure, realism, emotion, myth, diversity and humor to entertain anyone! I highly recommend it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Reviewed for [...]

I was intrigued by Tall Story as soon as I heard of it, because while I am not as tall as Bernardo in the story, I am taller than most (6' 6 1/2", or 2m for you metric folks). Additionally, I am very eager to find books that explore diversity and acceptance in various manifestations.

The story is shared between Andi, a 13 yeaar-old girl who lives in London, and Bernardo, her giant 16 year-old half-brother, who lives in the Philippines with his aunt until the government gives him permission to leave. This wait has dragged on for years. Andi and d Bernardo have pretty much given up hope that he will ever come to live with their mother and her new husband in London.

But just when Andi and Bernardo seem to have settled into their respective lives, Andi playing basketball with a passion and Bernardo learning to cope with his new height, things start happening very quickly. Soon, both are disrupted and stranded in new situations that force them to rethink their views of themselves and others.

This parallel storytelling, with chapters alternating between Andi and Bernardo in first person, is both powerful and a little confusing. While each chapter is clearly labeled, it is easy to forget and be perplexed for a half page about whose perspective you are in. On the other hand, this helps to reinforce the sense that the dislocations in Andi's life are as potent and real to her as Bernardo's are to him. Throughout it all, there is a magic realism that pervades Bernardo's old village, but seems to travel with him around the world.

A fascinating story with clear and appealing characters, I would strongly recommend to both boys and girls. A strong sports theme makes this especially interesting for sports-oriented kids, although most others would like it as well.

Four stars out of five.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Filipino at heart. November 23, 2013
..Oh, wow. What a heartwarming, feel-good book :)

Family is very, very important. Would you agree? The sole reason that I do not want to work abroad is that, I do not want to be separated from my better half, my toddler son, and my "senior citizen" parents. I want to be with my best friend as we grow together in our married life. I want to be here when my son grows up. I want to be here for whatever number of years my parents have left before they retire to the afterlife. And so, Tall Story having centered on a Filipino family, here and abroad, pricked me, and that made it so dear to me.

I understood Nardo. Longing for a mom who's halfway around the world with his little sister. Constantly anxious over the townspeople's belief that he is their hero. Awkward over his gigantism. When his immigration papers came, suddenly living in London with his family is not a far-fetched idea. But the people of San Andres will not let him go, for fear of catastrophe hitting them once their hero leaves. And so Nardo's blackouts began.

I understood Andi, too. The jealousy over a brother that her mom probably loved more than her. The determination to own something for herself through her basketball skills. and the incredulity of how being a girl limits her from reaching her dreams.

How Candy Gourlay reflected Filipino family virtues through the characters was really nice. Andi's disdain for his brother was not prolonged, and so did Nardo's despair. The common destroyers (sibling rivalry, parent-child separation, overworked parents) of a family was kept at a minimum, thereby keeping the lightness of the story intact.

I love Jabby (well, minus the freak show incident). And that scene where he's calling for help? Creepy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for young adults September 8, 2013
By L. Asis
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Loved it! A must share with tweens and teens and all other ages. This book is now required text for Grade 7 in the Philippines.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book. Original and emotional. July 25, 2013
By rc rox
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This dramatic story had me by the heart strings. Typically, you wouldn't think you'd be able to relate to an 8-foot tall, Filippino immigrant. This story puts you right in his shoes and makes you feel strongly for him and for his British-born, tomboy sister, who is meeting him for the first time. It was a very enjoyable book, with an original plot. I would recommend it to a teen, who can appreciate an emotional read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars My son said that he really liked this book
My son said that he really liked this book. It is very emotional and life-like. A great book for any avid 5th grader.
Published 2 months ago by Island gurl
5.0 out of 5 stars This book, nominated for so many awards, is worthy of all of them.
The first protagonist is thirteen-year-old Amandolina – Andi for short – is half Filipina, half English, and lives in England. She is short but very talented at basketball. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ameya
5.0 out of 5 stars Fills a Tall Order for the imagination
Tall Story is a big-hearted, generous tale with charm and surprises for all ages. The story's weave (warp & woof) has its warp thread through a Philippine island village, an... Read more
Published 24 months ago by Scott D. Gilbert, music fan
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful novel to add to our diversity shelves
This heart-warming story blends so many things: two very different cultures, magic and realism, sadness and laughter, small and tall, separation and reunion, brother and sister. Read more
Published on September 2, 2012 by J D Marple
5.0 out of 5 stars refreshing ya debut
Candy Gourlay presents us with characters we care about immediately, loving teens and adults acting in good faith despite their faults. Read more
Published on June 20, 2011 by Susan Golden
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too
Standing over 8 feet tall with size 22 shoes, Bernardo has always felt like somewhat of an outcast. While his mom, stepfather, and half-sister live in England, Bernardo lives in... Read more
Published on June 13, 2011 by TeensReadToo
4.0 out of 5 stars I loved Andi & Bernardo
16 yr old Bernardo lives in the Philippines with is aunt and uncle. His mother lives in London with her husband and Andi, his step sister. Read more
Published on March 19, 2011 by DAC
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More About the Author

I was a journalist writing about dictators in the Third World before I took up a full time position battling dictators of the nappy-clad variety. I inadvertently became a web designer while avoiding doing the dishes. I take procrastination to new levels by blogging, drawing and making YouTube videos for fun. My debut novel TALL STORY has been nominated for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for 13 awards. It won the Crystal Kite Prize for Europe and the National Children's Book Award in the Philippines. My second novel SHINE will be published in the UK in September 2013.


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