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.
~ My Review ~
This was such a lovely and refreshing read. It had enough intrigue to keep you turning pages and witticism and criticism of life in general that made you think.
As for me, it was love letter home. I was born in the Philippines but moved to the states when I was 9. I've only been back once but I can picture every single person, know movements, hear the beeps of jeepneys, smell the fish markets and everything in between that Ribay wrote. It made me terribly self aware that I know next to nothing about Philippine history, so I was completely immersed in Jay, the main character. I wanted him to find answers. I wanted him to soak up every single moment he spent in the motherland, so I could pretend I was right there next to him. I winced at his uncle's words because I know family like that. I can feel both pride and shame emitting out of his uncle and I understood exactly why it's not Jay's place....it's not mine to comment either. I only see through my American eyes....even if some days, I am reminded that I am not American enough.
This was a poetic read and I couldn't put it down!
About the Author
Randy Ribay was born in the Philippines and raised in the Midwest. A graduate of the University of Colorado and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Ribay taught English on the East Coast for a decade but now teaches in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit his website at randyribay.com and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @randyribay.
I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.
August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.
"Wonder is the best kids' book of the year," said Emily Bazelon, senior editor at Slate.com and author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” —indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.
I have so much to say and I still don't think it'll do this book justice. I got this from my local library and I will be purchasing this for my 6 year old to read in the future. Such a lovely read. I cried and laughed my way through this and ahh, just beautiful.
My Rating: 5/5
About the Author:
R. J. Palacio was born and raised in New York City. She attended the High School of Art and Design and the Parsons School of Design, where she majored in illustration with the hopes of someday following in the footsteps of her favorite childhood author-illustrators, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Maurice Sendak, and the D’Aulaires. She was a graphic designer and art director for many years before writing Wonder. We’re All Wonders, which is based conceptually on the themes of her novel, represents the fulfillment of her dream to write and illustrate her own picture book. R.J. is also the author of Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories and 365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Book of Precepts. She lives in Brooklyn, where she is surrounded by magical water towers, with her husband, their two sons, and their two dogs, Bear and Beau. Learn more about her at rjpalacio.com or on Twitter at @RJPalacio.
The witch: supernaturally powerful, inscrutably independent, and now—indestructible. These moving, relatable poems encourage resilience and embolden women to take control of their own stories. Enemies try to judge, oppress, and marginalize her, but the witch doesn’t burn in this one.
I wasn't feeling this one, honestly. I loved her debut, "the princess saves herself in this one," and I was expecting the same level of slow build up into something like a powerful anthem mid-book, but it never got there, for me. This was almost rushed and jotted down thoughts that got turned into a book. I will say there were some poems that I was like, "ahh this one!" but those turned out to be few and far between. I still love her style and zeal but overall, this was a quick disheartening read.
My Rating: 3/5
About the Author
growing up a word-devourer & avid fairy tale lover, it was only natural that amanda lovelace began writing books of her own, & so she did. when she isn't reading or writing, she can be found waiting for pumpkin spice coffee to come back into season & binge-watching gilmore girls. (before you ask: team jess all the way). the lifelong poetess & storyteller currently lives in new jersey with her fiancé, their moody cat, & a combined book collection so large it will soon need its own home. she has her B.A. in english literature with a minor in sociology. the princess saves herself in this one is her debut poetry collection & the first book in the women are some kind of magic series. the second book in the series, the witch doesn't burn in this one, will be published in 2018.
her official website is amandalovelace.com.
you can also find her as ladybookmad on twitter, instagram,
these are the stories of
people i once knew.
they have come and
gone like ghosts in
the night. you might
~ My Review ~
I was so excited to get a signed copy of this book. I’m a huge fan of poet, Gretchen Gomez. I don’t know how many times I've readlove, & you, her debut poetry collection. From what I’ve gathered about this book is that it’s not pretty and it’s not hopeful. Even as I began to read the first few pages, I was thankful that I didn’t wait until the new year to start with this one. My family and I have had a tough year, to say the least, and to end it with this book, I realized my takeaways after reading this collection isn't to leave the past exactly as that; to have it occupy some memory but rather, confront my fears, continue to journal, and be brazen about new beginnings. In other words, stop apologizing for taking space. Own not just the pretty story about grace but what it took to get me here. But this isn't about me in this review, this is about a woman who have been burned several times over and her story of learning how to walk through fire.
When I think of ghost towns, I think “empty,” “ silent,” but walking through feeling every bit like someone or something is taking you in; watching your every move hidden in the darkness.
This collection isn’t what I’d label as “haunting.” It is a brutally honest walk through this shell of our memories and calling out every single skeleton in our proverbial closet and demanding it/them to show themselves out. There are trigger warnings peppered throughout the book, some ghosts have more than others. My hope for Gomez is this: that she found healing, not just strength in writing this brilliant and unapologetic collection.
However you find yourself in the new year, I encourage and recommend that you pick up this poetry collection. We all have our own ghosts and skeletons in the closet, may you finally confront your hidden fears and mistakes, look them in the eye, and challenge them, 'welcome to ghost town.'
My Rating: 5/5
About the Author
Gretchen Gomez is a Puerto Rican poet from The Bronx. When home you will find her watching crime shows, cuddling with her dog, or writing--trying to make sense of things. Gretchen is a full-time lover of words. She is the author of love, and you. She's also working on other collections.
You can find her here:
This is my first endeavor of publishing a book of poems composed by me. I have put a piece of my heart and soul in form of words. Hoping to touch the reader's heart.
~ My Review ~
I read this collection over the summer and felt like it matched the theme of June: promising, carefree, lovely and all things random. But then June turned to July and our family got swept in a whirl of hospital visits, prayers and pouring over Dr. Google. I stopped reading poetry for fun - which is a shame.
The recent news and grief stricken faces on TV, I needed something airy, something wild and fun. I follow Hiya on Instagram and love what she posts, and I remembered that I hadn't gotten around to doing her review. It was a treat to revisit her words of lighthearted musings which brought back beautiful memories of this summer.
This was such a great debut! Well done, Hiya!
My Rating: 4/5
About the Author
Vachaknavi Sarma aka Hiya is an automobile designer by profession. She belongs to a small town of Digboi, in the state of Assam in North Eastern India. She presently lives in Manchester, United Kingdom.
She writes poetry in her spare time. She has been writing for the past 5/6 years. Wild Imagination is her first publication. It is a collection of her very first poems.
cheyenne raine explores the themes of culture, faith, love, and more in a bilingual collection of poetry. lemon acuarelas is soaked in light and things that feel both sweet and sour.
***This collection releases on 9/14.***
Book Club Pick:
I use Goodread's rating scale
1 star – didn’t like it
2 stars – it was OK
3 stars – liked it
4 stars – really liked it
5 stars – it was so amazing, it's on my reread pile!