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Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay
Young adult

Patron Saints of Nothing

by Randy Ribay

Quick take

How far would you go to learn the truth about your family?

Good to know

  • Emotional

  • Social issues

  • Sad

  • Puzzle

Why I love it

I was drawn to this fierce #OwnVoices novel because I love YA that both promises a great story and teaches me something about a culture I'm not familiar with. The Patron Saints of Nothing delivers on both counts.

Randy Ribay dedicates this novel to "the hyphenated" before diving into the story of Jay Reguero, a Filipino-American teen whose world is turned upside down when he learns that his estranged cousin has been murdered as part of President Duterte's brutal crackdown on drugs. Motivated to uncover the truth of his cousin's life and death, he travels to the Philippines to confront family secrets and honor his relative's legacy.

Rooted in fact (and equipped with an in-depth bibliography on Duterte's regime), Jay's story is both heartbreaking and lyrical. The book moves swiftly and encompasses everything from the intricacies of family politics, to the difficult feelings that accompany growing up as an immigrant in a homogeneous community, to the complexity of teenage crushes. I was deeply moved by Jay's journey and the way his relationships with his family, his culture, and his plans for the future developed as he searched for the truth about his cousin.

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Synopsis

A powerful coming-of-age story about grief, guilt, and the risks a Filipino-American teenager takes to uncover the truth about his cousin's murder.

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 Filipino cousin Jun 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 Jun 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 horrible truth—and the part he played in it.

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Sneak peek

Check out a preview of Patron Saints of Nothing.

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