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YA Review: Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

Title: Patron Saints of Nothing
Author:Randy Ribay
Year Published: 2019

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 318
Rating: 5 out of 5

Location (my 2019 Google Reading map)USA (MI) and Philippines

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Jay Reguero plans to spend the last semester of his senior year playing video games before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. But when he discovers that his cousin June was murdered as part of President Duterte's war on drugs, and no one in the family wants to talk about what happened, Jay travels to the Philippines to find out the real story. 

Hoping to uncover more about June and the events that led to his death, Jay is forced to reckon with the many sides of his cousin before he can face the whole truth--and the part he played in it.

Review: Wow. Can a review be just one word? Probably not. I don't know if I can do this book justice, but I will try.

There are so many things I love about this book. The writing is good, it flows, it is poetic, it is descriptive, it's raw, and it is powerful in its message. I was pulled into the story very quickly and it didn't let go.

Jay and the other characters are well done. Through them we can see the span of emotions that are present when a family member dies, when we reconnect with family and our heritage, and when we face the truth. Though I hated Jay's Tito Manning, I can also understand how he feels. There are a lot of characters / family members in this book and each one is important, bringing a new viewpoint to the story and the truth.

I also love that we learn about the Philippines and the filipino people and culture. While I always enjoy learning when I read a book, I feel like I understand the issues surrounding Duterte and his actions against drug addicts and dealers more. I certainly don't agree with it, but I am more knowledgable. This book is also a reminder that there are always at least two sides to each situation.

So, if you're ready to read about family, emotional pain, learning about one's culture, and more, get this book and read it.

Note: In February 2020 this book was a finalist for the 2019 CYBILS awards. The round 2 judges had a really tough time deciding between this book and another for the winner, but the other one won out. I don't want this to detract from this book as I loved this one!

Challenges for which this counts: 

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