Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay
All the feelings by Linz
**We received a finished copy at ALA. We’d like to thank Randy and Kokila for the opportunity**
What it’s about (excerpt from Goodreads blurb): “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.”
What I drank: Sober Sunday turned into a trip to a brewery, and then Italian wine tasting, and then the dregs from earlier in the weekend. (This description was clearly written after the fact.)
I FEEL SEEN. I HTE THAT PHRASE BUT IT HAS NEVER APLIED MORE IN MY LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIFEEEE.
This book was so on point i do not know what to dow ith myself
- The cultural nuances were totally accurate
- Jay’s voice as a teen and a mixed race teen was on piint
- ribay hit a great balance of explaning what the average reader wouldn’t know withouhg explaining everyhting to death
- oh also IT IS A HALF FILIPINO HALF WHITE MAIN CAHARACTER AND ALL THE FEELINGS ARE COMPLETELY ACCURATE
- the inner conflict jay constantly feels trying to figure out his identity, oh god i’m gonna start crting again
to write a book coming down so hard (and riohtly so) on duterte – you don’t even know how brave taht is my dudes. how Ribay describes the corruption and drug traficking and poverty – it is amillion times so correct. this is such a great book to introdcue the history of conflicvts int he philippines and the actula fucking insanity that is the current administration. I just – there is SO MUCH i want to say but so little i want to reveal bc i don’t want to ruin anything! READ THIS BOOK RN I WILL SEND YOU A COPY
And Now Sober Rant:
In 2019, I’ve purposely sought out as many minority authors as possible, and it has been a DELIGHT that I have so many options. I’ve already read THREE books with Filipino characters (among many other books with a mix of LGBTQA characters, ethnically diverse characters, and socioeconomically diverse characters). My halfie heart was so warmed. And then, like a fool, I read some reviews.
IF I HEAR ONE MORE PERSON SAY WE DON’T NEED ANOTHER ASIAN TEEN COMING-OF-AGE STORY YOU CAN EFF OFF. (And feel free to replace Asian with any underrepresented group, it holds true, but obvi the Asian representation speaks to me on a personal level.) Oh, are there “too many” “too similar” books for you on second-generation Asian teen trying to learn how to live in America and still retain their Asian identity, or Asian-American teens going back to the motherland? Screw all y’all. A. They are not all the same story, thank you and B. even if they were, forgive us for wanting more books that make us feel like we belong to a community. I only had Claudia Kishi growing up, Mulan didn’t come out til I was a teenager, and you bet your butt there were VERY few mixed-race characters (and if there were, they were a plot device and never a character in their own right).
In Patron Saints of Nothing, Jay (the half-white, half-Filipino narrator) says “Fuck anyone who tries to tell you who you are and where you belong.” (And it’s a major theme in Slay by Brittney Morris, but that’s for another review.) WE decide how to define ourselves, how much to celebrate our diversity, and when it’s “enough.” WE NEED ALL THE DIVERSE BOOKS.
God I’m an angry sober person.
What I gave it: FIVE STARS
What I would pair it with: What else but THE beer of the Philippines, San Miguel