Tall Story - Candy Gourlay + GIVEAWAY (UK only)

Title: Tall Story
Author: Candy Gourlay
Publisher: David Fickling Books (Random House Children's Books)
Category: 9+, Young Adult
Release Date: 3rd June 2010
Source: Sent to me by Random House for review
Hardcover: 296 pages

Summary from Amazon:
Be careful what you wish for ...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 mad as she is about basketball. When he finally arrives, he's tall all right. But he's not just tall ...he's a GIANT. 
In a novel packed with humour and quirkiness, Gourlay explores a touching sibling relationship and the clash of two very different cultures.


This is one of the sweetest and most refreshing books I've read this year. It is a very sweet story, extremely well written and deeply enjoyable !

Actually, you want to know a funny story? My roomie is from the Philippines and (wait for it) is a nurse! Exactly like the mother of Andi and Bernardo. And I laughed so much when Andi transcribes what she thinks is Tagalog, because that's exactly what I hear when my roomie talks to her family there. Sorry, I'm in a boring anecdote mode today !

This is a very sweet and touching story about a family finally coming together and getting to know each other after so many years apart. Andi and Bernardo's mother is a Filipino nurse who went to work in the UK, leaving her first son behind, thinking she could make him come after. But the immigration laws are such that Bernardo hasn't been granted the right to go to the UK, and he spent his childhood in San Andres with his Aunt and Uncle. Andi is his half sister that he met only once. The story starts when Bernardo has finally the right to go to the UK and live with his family. It is told from the point of view of Andi and Bernardo and we learn from their history and how they became the persons they are today. Andi (Amandolina) is a boyish basketball fan and Bernardo is a 8ft tall teenager who is believed to be the new incarnation of Giant spirit Bernardo Carpio who saved the village of San Andres from a catastrophe.

The characters were all very well described and very original and unique. I profoundly love both Andi and Bernardo, and the relation they have with each other. I like how Bernardo wants to act like a big brother to his sister and how tough little Andi is a kickass basketball player.
I loved the family spirit that come out of the story in general. It is such a beautiful book! And I found all  the stories and traditions from Philippines very interesting. 

There are also some serious issues developed in the plot, about working immigrants in the UK not being able to bring their children in the country or how nobody really cares about earthquakes on the other side of the world. I found this paragraph very spot on:
"And the weird thing was, everybody probably knew about it. Everybody had glanced at the newspaper headlines or heard the radio in passing or glimpsed something as they changed channels on the TV. Hundreds of Casualties in Massive Philippine Earthquake. But 'hundreds' are not people, are they? And blank faces on TV are not people either." p.249

Anyways, this is a very touching and down-to-earth story about a family, about making choices and having to live with the consequences. You will laugh out loud at some of the moments and cry your heart out in others. And as everyone in the book falls for Bernardo, you will fall for this unique and original story !


So the lovely people at Random House sent me two books of Tall Story and as I am a very nice person, and I love the book, I am organising a tiny giveaway to send this book to someone !
Since I'm broke (yeah well there's no other word for it!), I'm only doing it as a UK thing only

TO PARTICIPATE, send me an email here (with "Tall Story Giveaway" as a subject) and tell me a TALL STORY !
Isn't that the stupidest thing ever ? Haha, YES ! But I find the play on word very sweet !

No one has a clue of what a tall story is (me neither). It's just an anecdote involving height like being tall or small. 

Caroline "Tall Story Giveaway"
When I was around 6 years old, I went to visit a salt mine with my family and since I was tiny and it was dark, I approached a man (whose head was in the dark) whom I thought was my dad and asked him to take me in his arms because I was tired. I insisted *heavily* for 10 minutes with my legendary grace and discretion and the poor guy didn't know what to do besides pushing me discreetly and gently away. And then I started crying, and everyone was looking at him in the mine (poor dude), including my dad who thought this was hilarious. He keeps laughing his head off whenever we talk about this story. Pfff *looking grumpy* unfit parent! :-D
Yeah now you know where I got my humour from !

Okay, I have -clearly- a very very loose definition of what a tall story is, and I just want to send the book to someone, so just go ahead and send me a funny anecdote and I'll sort it out !

And I would like to thank the people at Random House for sending me this book and making me discover the amazing Candy Gourlay !!


  1. Ooh I had no idea that this book also discussed child immigrant workers. I'm so looking forward to reading it. Loved your thoughts Caroline.

    Your contest is too cute :-)

  2. I've got this book to read and I can't wait - it sounds fantastic! Thank you for the review. I love your tall story, too. :)

  3. what a NICE review! you are so kind! and how funny that your roommate is filipino! please tell her "kamusta" (kah-moos-tah) from me (that's "how are you?" in tagalog. thanks so much - you really made my day! i've excerpted your review on my website and linked to your blog.

  4. Ha. The book does sound really cute, but I just wanted to comment and say I loved your little asides. Very funny.

  5. You definitely were not boring, I love anectdotes, they make reviews more fun or meaningful to read :)

    In the US we have to wait till 2011 for Tall Story! *weeps softly* I'm very excited to read it though. I'm not familar with Filipino culture or issues in the UK, like immigration.

    Great review!