So I talked about Candy Gourlay’s Tall Story launch in this post over here. I finally got a chance to read my signed copy and I’m excited to share this book with you guys with a giveaway.
Here’s the summary of the book from the official site:
Andi hasn’t seen her brother for eight years and when he steps off the plane from the Philippines, she cannot believe her eyes. He’s tall. EIGHT FOOT TALL.
But Bernardo is not what he seems. Bernardo is a hero, Bernardo works miracles, and Bernardo has an amazing story to tell.
This book is more middle grade or younger YA for me, just to give you guys fair warning. The story is told in alternating perspectives of Bernardo and Andi (real name: Amandolina, such an old school Filipino name). Andi is a thirteen-year-old girl who lives in London with her parents. She has a half-brother named Bernardo and he lives in the Philippines. Their mum came to the UK to work as a nurse and that’s when she met Andi’s father, who also works as a nurse. They’ve been trying to get Bernardo to the UK ever since they settled down but the immigration process is taking a long time. Andi can’t wait to meet her brother because she’s crazy about basketball and her mum says Bernardo is tall. Also, basketball is a popular sport in the Philippines so Bernardo must love basketball! Bernardo is sixteen when he receives the news that he can finally go to his family in the UK. The story focuses on Bernardo’s experiences as he adjusts to a new life in a foreign country with a family that he loves but doesn’t really know. Bernardo is tall, awkward and shy but he strives to do all that he can for his friends and family. Andi is a spirited tomboy of a girl and she’s determined to play basketball even if she doesn’t have the height for it. I think it was a good idea to tell the story from both of their points of view because it gives the readers a better idea of the whole situation. It’s easier for us to understand what both of them were going through.
Tall Story is a heartwarming, hilarious tale about friendship and family and how certain bonds can transcend the physical distance. As cheesy as this sounds, I really think this book shows how people can be involved in each other’s lives even if they are continents apart. And this happens all of the time! I have friends and family all over the world and even if I don’t see them that often, I still feel the connection. A lot of you readers and book blogger friends live abroad and even if I haven’t met you in person, I feel like I know you. Isn’t that amazing? Most people have relatives and friends abroad so I have a feeling a lot of us can relate to Bernardo’s story and how hard it is to live away from those you love. I think it’s great that a Filipino author with a young adult book has been published internationally because I’d love for you guys to read this book. It has a wonderful blend of contemporary fiction and Filipino mythology, resulting in a cohesive story that has a lot of heart. Superstition plays a big part in this story because Filipinos are big on superstition, probably more so in the provinces.
I also think Candy Gourlay’s portrayal of Filipinos in foreign countries is pretty accurate. Andi’s mum gets carded whenever she buys wine because she’s such a small person. I’m five foot flat and I had the same problem when I went to the States for a vacation. Whenever I ordered alcohol, the servers would ask for my ID and they couldn’t believe that I was twenty-four years old at that time. They all used to think I was seventeen or younger. Also, Andi doesn’t understand why her mum calls her aunt in the Philippines when they spend most of their time on the phone saying “Hello? Can you hear me? Hello? Hello?” That is EXACTLY how my aunt in the States talks to my grandmother! They use up the call card just saying “Hello.”
Check out this nifty book trailer created by the author’s brother. I find the accents so funny! I mean it’s funny to hear a distinct UK accent side by side with a Filipino accent. Watch it to see what I mean.
All in all, a lovely debut from Candy Gourlay and I’m going to watch out for more of her books. I’m giving away one SIGNED copy of Tall Story to residents of the Philippines. To join, just leave a comment and answer the question: Who is your favorite Asian character? It can be from a book, TV show or movie. Sorry, international friends! International shipping is so expensive but you guys can buy Tall Story from The Book Depository, here. The winner will be randomly chosen using random.org on August 6, Friday.