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Tall Story

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,662 ratings  ·  236 reviews
What you want is not always what you get.
Even when your wishes come true

Andi desperately hopes her long lost half-brother Bernardo will be as mad on basketball as she is. But when he steps off the plane from the Philippines, she cannot believe her eyes. She hasn't seen him for ten years, but even so, how did he get to be EIGHT FOOT TALL? An eight-foot tall boy who is abou
Hardcover, 296 pages
Published 2010 by David Fickling Books
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3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,662 ratings  ·  236 reviews

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K.D. Absolutely
Dec 18, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: Tina Matanguihan
Shelves: ya, local
Candy Gourlay truly loves the Philippines and it just shows in this book, Tall Story. This being her first novel makes me agree with one of the blurbs that she is an author to watch. Having been married to a British national and now raising her three sons in London, I will not be surprised to know that she has changed her citizenship from Filipino to British. But the way that she carefully, positively and realistically depicted the Philippines and its people, culture, folklore and even superstit ...more
Sue (Hollywood News Source)
In all the years that I’ve been actively reading, this is the first time I’ve read a book where the characters are Filipino, where the majority of the story is set in the Philippines, where my culture is breathing and so alive.

Bonus: Tall Story is also written by a Filipino author.

It’s incredibly cruel. And it says so much about our publishing industry. We needmore diverse books. We need more marginalized authors with unique stories to partake. And we need you to champion them just as much as yo
Jul 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tina by: Chachic
First posted at Pinoy Pop

My brother doesn’t know this, but I consider him to be one of my best friends. He’s four years older than me, and like every other sibling pair, we used to have our share of screaming matches when we were kids. We only started having serious conversations as we grew up, thanks to the long rides from school to our house during college, when he'd pick me up. My relationship with him gave me a soft spot for stories about brothers and sisters, so it was no surprise that I co
Apr 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
"What you want is not always what you get. Even when your wishes come true. Andi desperately hopes her long-lost half brother, Bernardo, will be as crazy about basketball as she is. But when he steps off the plane from the Philippines, she can't believe her eyes. She hasn't seen him for ten year, but even so, how did he get to be EIGHT FEET TALL? This eight-foot-tall boy is about to crash into her life with his size 22 feet. But Bernardo is not what he seems. Bernardo is a hero, Bernardo works m ...more
Aug 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kids at heart!! ♥♥♥
Recommended to Apokripos by: Chachic
Also Posted at my book blog Dark Chest of Wonders

A Giant Tale with a Giant Heart
(A Book Review of Candy Gourlay’s Tall Story)

"Rush hour. So many armpits, so little deodorants." So begins Tall Story, Candy Gourlay’s fantastic debut novel about basketball, sibling love, cultural differences, legend and magic. A poignant tale that warns us of the dangers of the things we wish for and that ultimately, size doesn’t really matter.

Andi is a basketball-obsessed, 13 year old, half-Filipino who wishes not
Jun 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Teresa by: K.D. Absolutely
With four children, all under the age of 10, spending the weekend here, this was the perfect kind of book for me to be reading if I wanted to get any reading done at all. (And, of course, I always do.)

Besides enjoying this book very much, I learned new things about the Philippines, such as that the country loves basketball -- I had no idea -- and the legend of Bernardo Carpio, which I especially enjoyed, as I love folktales from other countries and noting the similarities and differences among t
Jun 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to rhea by: Teresa Brader
I'm so glad this book was passed onto me, it was very touching. I am close to my family, especially my mom and brother and to read about a family like this was emotional, happy and sad. I also learned a lot from this book, the mythology or folklore of other cultures can be very cool. My first thought after reading this was to email my favorite anthropology teacher, who I took Cultural Anthropology from, and see if she'd read this. Maybe she'd even want to teach this book with the other ones she ...more
Jul 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There was a time when I would be tanned so dark (Sunblock was not in my vocabulary before) because I’d be playing basketball in open courts at noon. My younger sister too, was sporting the same tan. I’m the point guard, she was shooting guard because she was taller by 2 inches. But everyone who would come to watch a game would call us twins and if we correct them, they would readily point at my sister as the Senior and me as the Sophomore. That was in high school, we'd be juggling academics with ...more
Jun 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
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
Dec 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
So many armpits, So little deodorant.

If you are looking for a short fun read, read this novel!

Will give an elaborate verdict later ;)
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Maria by: Veronica
I highly recommend Tall Story.

...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 afte
Binibining `E (of The Ugly Writers)
This is interesting and I enjoyed this book.. The story of a mother who left his son in the Philippines to work in London but as you read on this particular mother never forgets his son and shows him that she loves him and that she is doing her best to be with Bernardo soon. With regards to the idea of siblings who are raised in different sides of the continents. The fact that the other sibling was raised in London and the other one who was raised in a baryo in the Philippines.

This book has so m
Jul 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: filipiniana
A lovely, heart-warming story about a boy from the province who ends up coming home to his family in London. I love how it breathes of provincial superstitions and modern living. The myth of Bernardo Carpio takes a special place in these pages, while family love is featured heavily next to basketball point guards. The dialogue is very believable, and the characters are presented well. Lovely storytelling, and a great story that moves mountains- almost literally.

(Currently playing at a 4.5 to 4.7
Jul 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Monique by: Aldrin

Originally posted here.

Tall Story is a touching, poignant story about family, sibling love, infusion of cultures, and sports. More specifically, the novel tackles the importance of being with our families, appreciating and taking care of our siblings, Filipino and British cultures (their similarities and differences), and the love of basketball. Take all these ingredients together, and here's a lovely story that will inevitably leave a mark in the reader's heart.


Bernardo is a sixteen-year-old
Jul 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted here.

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 be
BookNoy (Pinoy Reads Pinoy Books)
Dahil sa ganda ng pabalat nito at disenyo, nakuha nito ang aking atensyon para bilhin ang aklat na ito. Base pala ito sa mga tunay na pangyayari pero sa magkaka-ibang kwento ng buhay tungkol sa basketball player, at masugid na tagahanga nito, at nabiktima sa pagkagat ng isang aso sa magandang babae.

Para sa akin ang Tall Story ay isang malaking istorya na tumatalakay sa literal na paglaki o pagiging matangkad na may kinalaman sa abnormal na paglaki ng tao. Tinalakay din nito ang pagiging “resp
Arjun Achar
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Swish, swish, swish
This book surprised me. Not that I thought it would be a bad book, but it was much better than I hoped. I picked it pretty much on its cover, and the fact that it was available right then as an audio book. ;)
The story is not all about basketball. It is the tale of a boy's unique journey through and perspective on life as a giant. It is the story of a basketball loving girl who is finally becoming a little sister. It is the story of a Filipino village, their culture and lege
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful little book!

This is a heartwarming (and heart-rending, might I add) novel. A Phillipino widow leaves for England, leaving her son Bernardo behind. 16 years later, they are reunited - his papers finally came through! He gets to live in London, with his mother, sister Andi and step-dad.

I was in tears for the most part. This book is so full of feeling, in a subtle way. It really got me interested in Phillipino folklore, and I felt like a part of the village. I mean, I was really angry
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Also posted in It's A Wonderful Bookworld.

There is a lot to learn from Tall Story despite being a short read. The themes are close to home — and to the heart, as it tells about long distance family relationships, sibling rivalries, friendship, and basketball — all interspersed with Philippine folklore.

After waiting for too long, Bernardo finally sets foot in London. His mother and his sister, Andi, are likewise excited to meet him and when they did, they were surprised. Because Bernardo is tal
Kerry Cerra
Mar 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mg
When I first picked up this book, I assumed it was titled Tall Story because one of the main characters, Bernardo, is sixteen years old and already eight feet tall. But, I love a twist in any title and was totally pleased to discover this book was rich with tall tales from the Philippine's. As a kid, I always loved folklore: Hansel and Gretel, Jack and the Beanstalk, etc. They had an element of danger. Candy Gourlay's Tall Story took me right back to being five years old. I felt myself holding m ...more
Nicky Schmidt
Jan 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully constructed book, well-written and full of humour, magic and pathos.

This is storytelling at it's finest. It's a story about wishes and being careful of your wishes - because they may not come true in quite the way you expect.

From the start, Candy Gourlay draws you into the worlds of fire-cracker Andi and Bernardo, the giant - a brother and sister who have lived at opposite sides of the world - one in London, one in the Phillipines. And herein lies Candy Gourlay's great strength - t
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Kira M for

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 the Philippines in hopes of making it back to England one day. When his wish comes true, however, he has a hard time dealing with the hustle and bustle and unfamiliar feel of his family and home.

Will he be able to adjust?

Amandolina has always lived in England and has only met her ol
Ma. Lalaine
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
I like...

1. It is recommended by the Filipino Group. (Putik! Di na naman ako nakapunta sa F2F Discussion.)

2. The name of the author is childish.

3. It is a tall story because Bernardo is the tallest man you can ever imagine.

4. Andi is a cool girl. She is competitive, speaks her mind, and knows what she want unlike most girls.

5. It features a typical barrio in a very vivid and comical way. It changes your perspective.

6. What perspective? The sense of community is strong in the province.

7. It has a
Jul 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Amandolina (Andi) knows her life is in for a change when she learns that her half-brother Bernardo is moving from the Philippines to live with her and her parents in England. People have always said Bernardo is "tall" but at eight feet he towers over everyone - taller even than Andi's hero Michael Jordan. At his home in the Philippines, Bernardo's height is considered a mark of good fortune. Though he longs to reunite with his family, he fears leaving his superstitious neighbors behind.

Tall Stor
Moira McPartlin
This story is written in dual narrative. Andi, a teenage girl, lives in London, mad on basketball and desperate to see her half brother safely battle through the immigration red tape to finally live with her family. Bernardo, her Filipino brother, is a giant. He too wishes to join his family, but his battles are not just with red tape but with the myths and legends of his land and the guilt he must carry when he leaves his homeland for a new life in the UK.
This is a gentle story, full of humour
Mar 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: class-library
I love the creative aspect of the book and besides it's set in the Philippines! It's not common that books are set from where I came from so it's fun and interesting to read about it.

Overall, the plot is refreshing. The characters especially Bernardo are interesting to read, I love the setting of London and Philippines (since that's my two favorite places). I also love the humor of the book and I literally laughed.

Just that the audience of the book is not someone of my age, probably younger. So
Mar 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
MIRACLES HAPPEN EVERY DAY...let us pray to earthquake/tsunami victims

THIS BOOK REVIEW IS DIFFERENT FROM the rest of my previous reviews. Honestly, I don't intend to write this review very soon but today is very important for us to offer our prayers and support (in any means) to people who are currently affected by a 8.9 magnitude earthquake (that created tsunamis/surges) in Japan (coast of Sendai City) and for those people in Christchurch (New Zealand) that suffered the same fate few weeks ago.
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
So few books with Filipino characters so I was very excited to pick this one up to help diversify my reading and my classroom library. The dialogue switches from sister Andi to brother Bernardo and Gourlay does a masterful job of giving each of them their own unique voice that positively shines through. In my process to vet books for read alouds for my 7th graders, having alternating narrators only works if it is supremely well crafted and Tall Story fit the bill. The interwoven bits of science, ...more
Barbara Balke
Apr 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lit-for-ya
My Summary:

This is a realistic fiction book written for students 12 and up. Andi, a thirteen-year-old girl who loves basketball, learns that her older half-brother from the Philippines, Bernardo, is finally coming to live with them in London. Because the family is expanding, they need a bigger house. Unfortunately, they move to a new school that does not have a girls’ basketball team. The chapters alternate from Andi to Bernardo in first-person voice. Bernardo is excited to come to London but wo
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Hello Goodreaders! Thanks for dropping in on my profile. I can't keep on top of all my social media at the moment because I'm busy writing my third novel. But if you'd like news, do check out my website where I blog now and then, or subscribe to my profile on Facebook. More news when there is any! And happy goodreading!

Candy Gourlay was a journalist writing about dictators in
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“You really wouldn't think, to look at the playground, that hundreds of people over on the other side of the world had just had their lives crushed by a horrible earthquake. 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.” 0 likes
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