Story by Leah Ash, Reporter
Photo courtesy Pexels.com
If you want a meaningful read that includes vivid imagery and compelling writing, “Patron Saints of Nothing” by Randy Ribay might be the book for you. Ribay tells the story of Jay Reguero, a 17-year-old, half-Filipino American that is off to college in the fall. In the story, Jay struggles connecting with friends, family, and himself. Then, Jay finds out that his cousin Jun has died due to President Duterte’s war on drugs. Unable to believe the Jun was using or selling drugs, along with struggling over guilt and grief, Ribay takes the readers through Jay’s journey for answers.
While in the Philippines, Jay faces his struggle with his racial identity and his family issues; President Duterte’s war on drugs, drugs themselves, and poverty; child trafficking; hypocrisy in Catholicism; his grief and guilt for Jun; as well as a glimpse into the dangers of journalism and the selective covering of news.
When authors cover themes such as these, it gives readers a chance to look at their own actions in the world around them. How do readers respond to the issues they witness around them? At Aquinas, how do we as a Catholic community respond to issues such as poverty? How do we as individuals respond to racial issues? It brings up a lot of questions into our own behaviors with the world around us.
“Patron Saints of Nothing” is a fantastic read for people who want to gain a new perspective on the world. This novel might be most enjoyed by people who take an interest in activism, especially in issues like Black Lives Matter and fighting against poverty. However, Ribay’s young adult novel is also great for readers who are looking for a well written story that is filled with twists, turns, and some tears. Despite the variety of themes in the novel, Ribay crafts a story that focuses on family, grief, and guilt that takes readers on an emotional rollercoaster. “Patron Saints of Nothing” also stands out because Ribay avoids a cliche happy ending and instead gives a more realistic set of events that make it easier for the audience to connect. This novel is not for the reader who is looking for romance or a fairytale finish. That being said, I believe that anyone can read this novel and take something away from it.