Pretty much everything here originally appeared at my actual blog: By Singing Light. I particularly focus on upper middle-grade and young adult books. I also enjoy adult genre books, especially speculative fiction.
Tall Story by Candy Gourlay is told in alternating narration by Andi, who lives with her Filipino mom and British dad in the UK, and Bernardo, her older half brother who has been raised by his aunt and uncle in the Philippines. At the beginning of the book, he is finally allowed to rejoin his mom in the UK. But unbeknownst to her, Nardo has grown tall. Very, very tall. Meanwhile, Andi and her parents have just moved, leaving Andi’s beloved school and basketball team behind.
Bernardo struggles with leaving his village in the Philippines behind. This is understandable regardless: moving to a new place is often hard and moving half-way across the world to live with a mother you barely know would be especially so. But for Bernardo, there’s also the fact that his village believes he is good luck for them, protecting them from the earthquakes in the region.
And for Andi, there’s also a disruption as she was just named point guard in her school’s basketball team when her parents announce that they are moving. She finds out that her new school does have a team, but when she shows up to the try-outs, she discovers that it’s an all-boy team.
I liked this one quite a bit; Bernardo and Andi obviously care about each other even though they sometimes find each other baffling and even annoying. Their mom and Andi’s dad are somewhat oblivious to their kids, but they way Gourlay writes this, it came across as human and real rather than them being terrible parents.
At any rate, I thought this was a nice depiction of families, of the tension between the place you have left behind and the place you find yourself, and finding your own strengths. I think it would resonate with a lot of kids.