Twelve-year-old Andi’s pleasure in her family’s move to a real house and the coincidental long-awaited arrival of her older half brother from the Philippines is overshadowed by learning that only boys play basketball at her new school.
For Bernardo, happiness about his immigration clearance is tempered by worry that his departure will expose his small village to earthquakes. Ever since he began to grow—he’s now 8 feet tall—some villagers believe he is the returned legendary giant Bernardo Carpio, who saved San Andres from being crushed long ago. In alternating chapters, Andi and Bernardo describe Bernardo’s first days in London—the chilly weather, the MRI for the seizures that Bernardo has begun to experience, the first real clothes that fit his tall body, the sister and parents who love him. Andi’s voice is genuinely funny, tender and acerbic, especially about her parents; Bernardo’s is thoughtful and earnest, his forays into English nicely handled with sympathetic humor.
Gourlay spins slender threads of wishes and prayers, magic and miracles, desires and redemption and weaves together an impressively sweet and rich tale. (Fiction. 9-13)