I discovered this author while browsing our NEW bookshelves in the Teen Department last year. I was trying to find a book with a male protagonist, which is harder and harder in the current publishing trend. After the Shot Drops also included basketball and a diverse cast, so how could I resist? It turned out to be one of my favorite books of the year. Which is why I'm pumped that Ribay has a new book out this week! Do I already have it checked out? YES!
Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay (Jun 18, 2019)
Shocked out of his senioritis slumber when his beloved cousin Jun is killed by the police in the Philippines for presumably using drugs, Jay makes a radical move to spend his spring break in the Philippines to find out the whole story. Once pen pals, Jay hasn’t corresponded with Jun in years and is wracked by guilt at ghosting his cousin. A mixed heritage (his mother is white) Filipino immigrant who grew up in suburban Michigan, Jay’s connection to current-day Philippines has dulled from assimilation. His internal tensions around culture, identity, and languages—as “a spoiled American”—are realistic. Told through a mix of first-person narration, Jun’s letters to Jay, and believable dialogue among a strong, full cast of characters, the result is a deeply emotional story about family ties, addiction, and the complexity of truth. The tender relationship between Jay and Jun is especially notable—as is the underlying commentary about the challenges and nuances between young men and their uncles, fathers, male friends, and male cousins. Part coming-of-age story and part exposé of Duterte’s problematic policies, this powerful and courageous story offers readers a refreshingly emotional depiction of a young man of color with an earnest desire for the truth. [from Kirkus Reviews]
Read an excerpt here.