Review: Patron Saints of Nothing

Click the picture to purchase the book

Rating: ★★★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher as part of a blog tour. Since I received an ARC, my quotes from the book are tentative. 

I just want to preface this review by saying this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. Like the main character of this book, I am half Filipino and half white. Seeing myself represented in literature means the world to me. I also want to say that I’ve never been to the Philippines so I can’t speak to anything in that regard.

Wow. This book was everything. I don’t even know where to begin. 

First off, all the Filipino culture was amazing to see. I’ve never read a book with this much Filipino culture. Every time I saw something, I was like, “Yeah, that’s my culture right there!” By the way, that happened a lot throughout this book. 

The blurb on the back of the cover compares this book to Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give. That was likely a marketing ploy, but in a way I do see merit to that comparison. There’s something about Randy Ribay’s writing that reminds me of Angie Thomas’s. They both like to bring up big points in subtle ways. If you’ve read my review of THUG, you’ll see some examples. In this book, one example is when  the author casually brings up the American human zoos. Tito Maning says to Jay, “Do you know the Americans stole entire villages and then displayed them in your country as I they were animals in a zoo?” (pg. 153). Yes, that really did happen. Just google, “1904 World’s Fair filipino.” I only just learned about that when I was in college. 

I thought that the author did a great job describing the President Duterte’s war on drugs in a multifaceted way. He showcased different viewpoints on it and shared actual accounts, like the story of Kian delos Santos, who was unjustly shot and killed by the police. 

I also loved how the author tackled the issue of identity and being biracial. As a fellow biracial Filipino, I could relate to Jay a lot. Being biracial is such a tricky thing and the author captured it perfectly. 

There’s a little bit of LGBT representation which I appreciated. It’s always nice to see the LGBT community acknowledged and normalized, even when it’s not a part of the main storyline.

As for the plot and what happened with Jun, there was a lot of gray areas, which made it feel realistic. Things aren’t so clear cut which is what happens in real life. I appreciated that approach. 

Basically, I just want to thank the author for writing this book. Not only does this book successfully highlight the biracial Filipino American experience, but it also shines a light on a lesser known social injustice. 

To end, I want to share a quote that really hit me:

“It strikes me that I cannot claim this country’s serene coves and sun-soaked beaches without also claiming its poverty, its problems, its history. To say that any aspect of it is part of me is to say that all of it is part of me”

pg. 227

BOOK DESCRIPTION

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.

As gripping as it is lyrical, Patron Saints of Nothing is a page-turning portrayal of the struggle to reconcile faith, family, and immigrant identity.

Quarter year reading update

With the end of March, we’re about a quarter of the way through the year. How time flies! I’ve been reading a lot a the past three months so I wanted to give you guys a little reading update.

How many books have I read?

So far I have read 31 books, which is really good for me. I’ve never started out a year this strong.I’m currently on a gap year so that’s probably why. I don’t have schoolwork to worry about.

How have I been doing on my reading goal?

For my reading goal this year I did the same thing as last year, which was to start low and adjust as needed. I did this so that I wouldn’t be overwhelmed and pressured to read. So far for these past two years, it’s been working great! I set my goal at 30, but once I got close I upped it to 35. I’m really happy with this method.

What have I been reading?

I’ve read all 8 of Jacqueline E. Smith’s books. She is an amazing Indie author who writes the best books. I’m seriously in love with her writing. I really recommend her book, Trashy Romance Novel. I’ve also read quite a few books from other Indie authors such as Control Freakz by Michael Evans and A Cactus in the Valley by Olivia Bennett.

Additionally, I finally read The Hate U Give and it was as amazing as everyone says it is. I also finally read Lolita and damn that was a crazy book.

I’ve loved most of the books I’ve read but a few of them (particularly The Echoes of Love and What the Valley Knows) were just so-so.

25 out of the 31 books I’ve read so far have been books I won in giveaways or review copies that the author or publisher gave to me and I am so thankful for that. Having a bookstagram and a blog has opened so many doors for me and I am eternally grateful for the opportunities that have come my way.

191F84F9-7240-4E57-B638-DE91B6F1ADE3

Some of the books I read so far this year

What’s next?

More books of course! I definitely have some books that have been sitting on my TBR shelf for too long, like Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann, that I’m hoping to read soon. I start law school in August, so that will affect my reading time. For right now, I’m trying to enjoy all this free time I have to read!


 

How are you doing this year in regards to reading? Are you on track for your goal? What have you been reading? What has been your favorite read so far? Tell me in the comments! 

xoxo,

Jessica

SaveSave

Review: The Hate U Give

32075671

Rating: ★★★★★

Wow. This book was phenomenal. it completely lived up to the hype.

I have a lot of thoughts on this so here they are (keep in mind this is coming from an Asian American from the Bay Area):

I loved how educational it was. It really made you understand the Black Lives Matter movement and the reality of it. It hit every single point and put you right in the middle of it.

I also liked how Angie Thomas made brought up big points in really subtle ways. For example, “Funny how it works with white kids though. It’s dope to be black until it’s hard to be black” (11). That is so true. People only like black culture when it’s cool , but the minute something bad happens to the black community, they distance themselves from it. But the quote that really hit hard was, “Funny. Slave masters thought they were making a difference in black people’s lives too. Saving them from their ‘wild African ways.’ Same Shit, different century. I wish people them would stop thinking that people like me need saving” (246). I read that quote and was like, damn, preach it girl!

IMG_8589

The minority alliance between Starr and Maya made me so happy. It was so good to see a black girl and her Asian best friend team up. Angie Thomas could have done a bit more with it, but it was still nice to see it included. Personally, I think we need more minority alliances because there is more that unites us than divides us and together we can make a big impact. #Asians4BlackLives

I also liked that this tackled interracial dating. It added an extra layer to the complexity of this novel.

The pop culture references were a really nice and unexpected touch. I was definitely not expecting High School Musical and the Jonas Brothers to be mentioned in this book.

Overall, this book was everything. It should be taught in schools because despite being fiction, it was so informative, thought provoking, and leaves the door open for a lot of discussion.