For US-based Filipino-American teenager Jay Reguero, President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug campaign just got personal. Jun, Jay’s cousin in the Philippines, was an unfortunate casualty of the administration’s aggressive war on drugs—and his mysterious death leads Jay to fly to the Philippines in search of answers. In the process, he learns about the country he left behind and the family he thought he knew.
That’s the gist of Patron Saint of Nothing, the third novel by Fil-Am young adult author Randy Ribay, who wrote it “ultimately, as a way to confront that question: What’s my role as a Filipino American who is at once connected, but also an outsider to what’s happening in the Philippines,” he tells npr.org.
For accuracy and authenticity, Randy flew to the Philippines to visit some of the places he cites in his story, “just to make sure factually that those places were actually presented,” he says. He also sought the opinion of Filipinos who read his early drafts of his work.
The result is a riveting read that has received consistent praise and five-star ratings. “Powerful and courageous,” wrote Kirkus Review. “Deeply nuanced and painfully real,” said Booklist. And School Library Journal called it “A perfect convergence of authentic voice and an emphasis on inner dialogue.”
Patron Saint of Nothing was a finalist of the 2019 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Get a copy at fullybookedonline for P528.