This was the other book Parenthetical and I read for the Nerds Heart YA.
“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.”
This book did not make it to the next round of Nerds Heart YA, and here is my review with my reasons.
I personally did not enjoy this book. I felt that it did not go anywhere. It had a flow to it but to me it felt like someone was giving an account of a family visit. Parenthetical said that it was like an adult book as it had a slower pace. As so many YA books (which are new) are fast paced, I just could not seem to stay interested in the book. The characters seemed a little far-fetched. Bernardo was extremely tall, unrealistically tall for his age (16 years old). This book had a sense of magic because Bernardo is believed to save San Andres from earthquakes and the towns people do not want him to go to London because they are scared. His mom thinks Bernardo has a medical condition because he is so tall, but is it something else?
I thought that the story line was interesting with the children visiting (and moving) and how they had not seen each other for a long time and how the mother was paranoid because she was so short and did not want her son to be tall. That was quite humorous to me. It reminded me of my mother in many ways as I am taller than her (which is not hard) and she wants me to stop growing :). He was an 8 foot tall child – freakishly tall for his age. Well, freakishly tall in general.
I was also confused in the beginning of the book. I wasn’t clear who the characters were and thought both of the children were boys. Reading further I found out that Bernardo was a boy and Andi was a girl. Confusing.
This book was nominated for the CARNEGIE MEDAL. The Sunday Times voted it one of the 100 Best Summer Titles. The Times voted it the Most Recommended Children’s Book for Christmas. It is a YA book but the reviews are by adults. They read differently. I think that might be why they enjoyed it. Since I am YA, I like books that have something happening, like many teen readers. It was a little too slow for my taste and not enough happened to keep my interest. I have never read a book like it. I like reading faster paced books and if there is nothing interesting in a book I am instantly turned off. I guess this is something I have to work on.
But even if I did not like it, it does not mean that you should not try it out. Please have a look at it as everyone has a different reading style. I am just picky.
Check out Parenthetical’s review of the book.
Also check out Candy Gourlay’s website.