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Patron Saints of Nothing

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On sale Jun 18, 2019 | 9 Hours and 2 Minutes | 9781984886026
| Grade 9 & Up
A NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST

"Brilliant, honest, and equal parts heartbreaking and soul-healing." --Laurie Halse Anderson, author of SHOUT 

"A singular voice in the world of literature." --Jason Reynolds, author of Long Way Down

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.
© Author photo by Leopoldo Macaya
Randy Ribay is a Filipino American author of young adult fiction. His novel Patron Saints of Nothing was a finalist for the National Book Award and the LA Times Book Prize. Randy was also a contributor to the Printz Award–winning anthology The Collectors, edited by A. S. King. His other works include An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes, After the Shot Drops, and Chronicles of the Avatar: The Reckoning of Roku. Born in the Philippines and raised in the Midwest, Randy currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, son, and cat-like dog. View titles by Randy Ribay

UNANSWERED

I sleep in on Saturday because I’ve got no plans beyond gaming with Seth later tonight after he finishes his shift at the sock store. So after what I’ll generously call brunch, I shuffle downstairs in my joggers and an old T-shirt, sink into the living room couch, and fire up my PS4 to make some progress in this one-player game where you battle massive robot dinosaurs in a post-apocalyptic Earth.

I don’t know how many hours into this session I am when my dad’s suddenly standing behind me like he’s learned to apparate.

“Jason, can you pause your game for a second?” he asks.

“I’m almost at a checkpoint,” I say.

“Jason . . .” he starts and then falters. He tries again. “Jason, I have something important to tell you.”

“Hold on.” I know I’m being an ass, but I’m pretty sure this is probably going to be about college or something and I don’t really want to talk about that anymore. Plus, I’m in the zone fighting this mech-T-rex that’s already killed me, like, a million times.

“Jay,” he says.

I slide down a hill and draw my bow and arrow, triggering the slow-motion mode. I release two arrows in quick succession. Both hit the beast’s energy core, drawing heavy damage and narrowing its HP counter to a sliver.

“YES!” I say.

“Your Tito Maning called.” He pauses. “Jun is dead.”

My fingers slow, but I keep playing. I’m not sure I heard him right. “Wait—what?”

Dad clears his throat. “Your cousin Jun. He’s dead.”

I freeze, gripping the controller like a ledge. I suddenly feel like I’m going to be sick. On the screen, the mechanical creature mauls my avatar. My life drains to zero. The camera pans upward, mimicking the soul’s skyward path.

The words finally land, but they don’t feel real. I was just thinking about my cousin last night. . . .

“That’s impossible,” I say.

I sit up and shift so I’m facing Dad. He’s still wearing his nurse’s scrubs, and his salt-and-pepper hair is disheveled like he’s been running his fingers through it. Behind his glasses, his eyes are bloodshot. I glance at the time again. Mom’s at the hospital, and he should be, too.

“I thought you’d want to know,” he adds.

“When?” I ask, my chest tightening.

“Yesterday.”

I’m quiet for a long time. “What happened? I mean, how did he . . .”

I can’t say the word.

He sighs. “It doesn’t matter.”

“What?” I ask. “Why not?”

“He’s gone. That’s it.”

“He was seventeen,” I say. “Seventeen-year-olds don’t randomly . . .”

He takes off his glasses and rubs his eyes. “Sometimes they do.”

“So it was random? Like a car accident or something?”

Dad puts his glasses back on but avoids looking at me. He says nothing for a few beats, and then quietly, “What would it change if you knew?”

I don’t answer because I can’t. Doesn’t the truth itself matter?

I should be crying or throwing my controller down in anguish—but I don’t do any of this. Instead, there’s only a mild confusion, a muddy feeling of unreality that thickens when I consider the distance that had developed between Jun and me. How do you mourn someone you already let slip away? Are you even allowed to?

Educator Guide for Patron Saints of Nothing

Classroom-based guides appropriate for schools and colleges provide pre-reading and classroom activities, discussion questions connected to the curriculum, further reading, and resources.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)

  • FINALIST | 2019
    Los Angeles Times Book Prize
  • FINALIST | 2019
    National Book Award Finalist
A National Book Award Finalist
An NPR Best Book of the Year
An NBC News Best Asian American Young Adult Book of the Year
A Paste Best Young Adult Book of the Year
A New York Public Library Top 10 Best Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
A USA Today Best Book of the Year So Far

A Raleigh News & Observer Best Book of the Year
An Amazon Best Book of the Year
A Junior Library Guild audio selection 
National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) Freeman Book Award Winner

An L.A. Times Book Award Nominee  
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award 2021-2022
MISelf in Books 2020 Book List (Michigan)


FIVE STARRED REVIEWS

"Powerful and courageous." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Deep, nuanced, and painfully real." --Booklist, starred review

"A perfect convergence of authentic voice and an emphasis on inner dialogue." -- School Library Journal, starred review

"Passionately and fearlessly, Ribay delves into matters of justice, grief, and identity." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Compelling and informational" -- VOYA Magazine, starred review 

“A must-read.” – Erin Entrada Kelly, author of 2018 Newbery Award-winning Hello, Universe

 “Lyrical. Stunning. Searing…The real deal.”– Mark Oshiro, author of Anger Is a Gift

“Riveting, brilliantly told and deeply moving." – Francisco X. Stork, author of Disappeared

“Complex, gripping, haunting and deeply human… a story alive with longing and pain and grace.  – Kelly Gilbert, author of Picture Us In The Light

About

A NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST

"Brilliant, honest, and equal parts heartbreaking and soul-healing." --Laurie Halse Anderson, author of SHOUT 

"A singular voice in the world of literature." --Jason Reynolds, author of Long Way Down

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.

Author

© Author photo by Leopoldo Macaya
Randy Ribay is a Filipino American author of young adult fiction. His novel Patron Saints of Nothing was a finalist for the National Book Award and the LA Times Book Prize. Randy was also a contributor to the Printz Award–winning anthology The Collectors, edited by A. S. King. His other works include An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes, After the Shot Drops, and Chronicles of the Avatar: The Reckoning of Roku. Born in the Philippines and raised in the Midwest, Randy currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, son, and cat-like dog. View titles by Randy Ribay

Excerpt

UNANSWERED

I sleep in on Saturday because I’ve got no plans beyond gaming with Seth later tonight after he finishes his shift at the sock store. So after what I’ll generously call brunch, I shuffle downstairs in my joggers and an old T-shirt, sink into the living room couch, and fire up my PS4 to make some progress in this one-player game where you battle massive robot dinosaurs in a post-apocalyptic Earth.

I don’t know how many hours into this session I am when my dad’s suddenly standing behind me like he’s learned to apparate.

“Jason, can you pause your game for a second?” he asks.

“I’m almost at a checkpoint,” I say.

“Jason . . .” he starts and then falters. He tries again. “Jason, I have something important to tell you.”

“Hold on.” I know I’m being an ass, but I’m pretty sure this is probably going to be about college or something and I don’t really want to talk about that anymore. Plus, I’m in the zone fighting this mech-T-rex that’s already killed me, like, a million times.

“Jay,” he says.

I slide down a hill and draw my bow and arrow, triggering the slow-motion mode. I release two arrows in quick succession. Both hit the beast’s energy core, drawing heavy damage and narrowing its HP counter to a sliver.

“YES!” I say.

“Your Tito Maning called.” He pauses. “Jun is dead.”

My fingers slow, but I keep playing. I’m not sure I heard him right. “Wait—what?”

Dad clears his throat. “Your cousin Jun. He’s dead.”

I freeze, gripping the controller like a ledge. I suddenly feel like I’m going to be sick. On the screen, the mechanical creature mauls my avatar. My life drains to zero. The camera pans upward, mimicking the soul’s skyward path.

The words finally land, but they don’t feel real. I was just thinking about my cousin last night. . . .

“That’s impossible,” I say.

I sit up and shift so I’m facing Dad. He’s still wearing his nurse’s scrubs, and his salt-and-pepper hair is disheveled like he’s been running his fingers through it. Behind his glasses, his eyes are bloodshot. I glance at the time again. Mom’s at the hospital, and he should be, too.

“I thought you’d want to know,” he adds.

“When?” I ask, my chest tightening.

“Yesterday.”

I’m quiet for a long time. “What happened? I mean, how did he . . .”

I can’t say the word.

He sighs. “It doesn’t matter.”

“What?” I ask. “Why not?”

“He’s gone. That’s it.”

“He was seventeen,” I say. “Seventeen-year-olds don’t randomly . . .”

He takes off his glasses and rubs his eyes. “Sometimes they do.”

“So it was random? Like a car accident or something?”

Dad puts his glasses back on but avoids looking at me. He says nothing for a few beats, and then quietly, “What would it change if you knew?”

I don’t answer because I can’t. Doesn’t the truth itself matter?

I should be crying or throwing my controller down in anguish—but I don’t do any of this. Instead, there’s only a mild confusion, a muddy feeling of unreality that thickens when I consider the distance that had developed between Jun and me. How do you mourn someone you already let slip away? Are you even allowed to?

Guides

Educator Guide for Patron Saints of Nothing

Classroom-based guides appropriate for schools and colleges provide pre-reading and classroom activities, discussion questions connected to the curriculum, further reading, and resources.

(Please note: the guide displayed here is the most recently uploaded version; while unlikely, any page citation discrepancies between the guide and book is likely due to pagination differences between a book’s different formats.)

Awards

  • FINALIST | 2019
    Los Angeles Times Book Prize
  • FINALIST | 2019
    National Book Award Finalist

Praise

A National Book Award Finalist
An NPR Best Book of the Year
An NBC News Best Asian American Young Adult Book of the Year
A Paste Best Young Adult Book of the Year
A New York Public Library Top 10 Best Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
A USA Today Best Book of the Year So Far

A Raleigh News & Observer Best Book of the Year
An Amazon Best Book of the Year
A Junior Library Guild audio selection 
National Consortium for Teaching about Asia (NCTA) Freeman Book Award Winner

An L.A. Times Book Award Nominee  
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award 2021-2022
MISelf in Books 2020 Book List (Michigan)


FIVE STARRED REVIEWS

"Powerful and courageous." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Deep, nuanced, and painfully real." --Booklist, starred review

"A perfect convergence of authentic voice and an emphasis on inner dialogue." -- School Library Journal, starred review

"Passionately and fearlessly, Ribay delves into matters of justice, grief, and identity." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Compelling and informational" -- VOYA Magazine, starred review 

“A must-read.” – Erin Entrada Kelly, author of 2018 Newbery Award-winning Hello, Universe

 “Lyrical. Stunning. Searing…The real deal.”– Mark Oshiro, author of Anger Is a Gift

“Riveting, brilliantly told and deeply moving." – Francisco X. Stork, author of Disappeared

“Complex, gripping, haunting and deeply human… a story alive with longing and pain and grace.  – Kelly Gilbert, author of Picture Us In The Light

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