Review: Patron Saints of Nothing

Review: Patron Saints of Nothing

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)

*I received a physical copy via the publisher in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*

I’m not sure where to start because there’s so much to this story. After discovering his cousin, Jun was murdered and fuelled by a mysterious Instagram message, Jay Reguero heads to the Philippines to find out the real story. There, Jay must reconnect with a life he barely remembers and family who refuse to acknowledge what has happened.

Told through a mix of narrations, switching between Jay and the letters addressed to him, Patron Saints was deeply emotional. It’s a coming of age story that really tugs at your heartstring.

If you don’t know much about Duterte’s war on crime, this book really sets the scene really well. It’s not going to hold your hand and tell you the violent history of Philippine’s current president, but it really highlights and summarises the political background Jay is set in really well. We get an understanding of the situation from different characters. And I thought it was discussed really well and didn’t shy away from controversies and really emphasises how the context impacts Jay and his search for the truth.

The story follows Jay as he’s moving from different family households in his visit to the Philippines. His extended family play a huge part in this story as we’re introduced to an army of aunties, uncles and cousins. I loved how it showcased how diverse family can be. Each house brought something new and helped Jay in his search. His uncle is a police officer who Jay suspects of being complicit in his son’s death. His rigid way of raising his children has his cousins opening up to him. He then moves in with his aunts, a lesbian couple, who are more caring toward Jay. Then he eventually comes to his grandparent’s house where everything that the story accumulated finally comes free.

Patron Saints tackles a lot of heavy subjects. It discusses colourism, the impact of American Imperialism, ethnocentrism and privilege. And that isn’t even all of it. The second Jay comes to the Philippines, he’s very much confronted with his more privileged way of living. He quickly realises how easier it is for him, a light-skinned man, to navigate the space he’s in. He even finds himself speaking overturn but is quick to learn and acknowledge the privilege he has.

The one thing that follows Jay in the Philippines is how much of an outsider he feels. A child of mixed heritage (White and Filipino), Jay is seen as very much whitewashed in the eyes of his family. After being away for much of his life, his family don’t see him as Filipino. I could really relate to Jay: having not knowing your country’s language, history or culture and feeling like an outsider at any given moment. I really think Ribay showcased the diaspora struggle and was dealt with spot on. His internal conflict was realistic and deeply emotional.

The only criticisms I could have are how Jun was treated and the character of Mia. The mistreatment of Jun, especially with his ending.

Overall, it was an illuminating and compelling story that delved deep into justice and grief and identity. It’s a coming of age novel that was character driven and offered an emotional and powerful punch. Rarely do YA novels tackle global issues that are often buried under Western domestic problems, and I found it an excellent read.


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#RamadanReadathon 2019 Wrap Up!

#RamadanReadathon 2019 Wrap Up!

Eid Mubarak, everyone! Today, I’m going to be wrapping up my first ever #RamadanReadathon. I honestly can’t believe how quickly this Ramadan has gone this year. I hope everyone had a productive month. I did manage to complete the readathon and overall, I had some fun reading my chosen books.

I had chosen the Salah pillar and I read a total of five books. I have yet to review all of them but expect reviews up in the upcoming month!

A Torch Against the Night

Having read Ember almost five years ago, I was surprised how well my own memory held up to this book. If I can recall, I was a little iffy about Embers but after reading Torch, I think it was just my general feelings about the first book in a series. I tend to not enjoy the first book in series but find myself thoroughly enjoying the rest of the series a whole lot more. (see: shatter me series)

Exit West

I didn’t clock on that this book about the refugee experience and migration until very later on, but once I did, it was eye-opening and poignant. The use of fabulism to explore migration was a genius concept and I would really love to read more stories that use this take as well.

Secrets of the Henna Girl

While I didn’t hate any of the books I read for this readathon, I would, for list-sake, have placed Secrets of the Henna Girl last. But that doesn’t mean it was terrible, it was actually really great. I’ve just read quite a few stories about SEA girls being taken back home to marry people recently, it was hard not to compare it to them.

We Hunt the Flame

Hands down, one of the BEST books I’ve read this month. Altair has my heart and soul. That cliffhanger was jaw-dropping and I kind of hate myself for reading this as a new release. I need the next one ASAP.

Amina’s Voice

Amina’s voice was a delightful read, and definitely one that I would’ve loved if it was released when I was a kid. Something about it captured me and was so charming to read. This book was made for younger readers, so I can’t complain about my issue with the pacing. The named attack on her local mosque doesn’t actually occurs until 80% into the book.


Overall, I’m happy with how this month went. I’m not the greatest with readathons because I have a lot going on and time management, especially on my blog, is something I struggle with. But I had so much fun finally reading some of the books on my list and I’m definitely taking part in next year’s readathon.

And that’s a wrap on my first ever #RamadanReadathon! I hope to be back next year!

Monthly Rewind: May 2019

Monthly Rewind: May 2019

B O O K S

During the month of May, I read 7 books and 1 webtoon.

Shadow of the Fox
A fantasy novel based on Japanese mythology which follows Yumeko, a kitsune, who forms an alliance with a mysterious samurai to transport a piece of an ancient scroll that has the power to summon a great dragon. This one took a while to fully appreciate. It was kind of slow in the beginning and since I was also in a book slump, that didn’t help the experience either. But towards the end, I found it so enjoyable and the story and characters were so brilliant.

My So-Called Bollywood Life
Winnie follows her prophecy to the T. Until the boy who is supposed to be her true love cheats on her. Now she’s doing things her way. Honestly, I found this book rather dull and, in the end, it wasn’t really for me. I do see its appeal and I would recommend others to give this book a try.

The Paper & Hearts Society
Out of the other youtuber-turn-author books, it’s pretty decent. My thoughts about this are the same as My So-Called Bollywood Life, I see it’s appeal and how a lot of people are going to love this book and looking back, this isn’t a terrible book but it’s just one of those stories that doesn’t fit my own reading style and taste.  

A Torch Against the Night
I cannot believe it took me so long to read this sequel. Having to rely on my memory all the way from 2015 probably dampened by experience of this book, but I really enjoyed it.

Exit West
Another neutral read. Quick, captivating and interesting.

Continue reading “Monthly Rewind: May 2019”

Review: My So-Called Bollywood Life

Review: My So-Called Bollywood Life

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)

*I received a copy via the publisher in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*

Winnie Mehta dreams of getting her Bollywood forever after. For her, everything was perfect. Her life was going according to the words of her family pandit, who swore Winnie would find the love of her life, whose name starts with R, before her 18th birthday. And suddenly, everything is going wrong. Her boyfriend Raj had cheated on her. She’s lost her chair position in the film festival, lowering her chances of getting into film school. Winnie decides to look her prophecy differently, begins taking control of her destiny, in any way possible.

It’s always disappointing not to like a book that you really wanted to enjoy.

Continue reading “Review: My So-Called Bollywood Life”

Mini review: The Paper & Hearts Society and Secrets of the Henna Girl

Mini review: The Paper & Hearts Society and Secrets of the Henna Girl

I apologise in advance. 😂 I took a semi-hiatus because of assignments and I ended up writing these during that hiatus so these reviews aren’t written up the standard I would usually prefer.

The Paper & Hearts Society

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2/5)

*I received a copy via the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*

A young teen moved to a new town and discovered a book club that pushes her out of her comfort zone.

Honestly, this was a little disappointing, considering how positive the reviews were for this book. I really wanted to love this book, but this book was just not for me. This is a story I would say good in concept, but the execution was so bland.

I have no issues with references to certain things, but this book really overdid it with the book mentions. Like I genuinely thought this book would’ve collapsed on itself if it didn’t mention another book. Yes, this is a book about a book club. But the way it was written was definitely meant to namedrop, which I don’t have an issue with, but it just wasn’t smooth.

A majority of the book is:
Tabby/ Anyone else: Oh, wow. I love [book title] by [author]! Spends a couple of lines on how great it is.

A lot of the books mentioned were prevalent Young Adult/ Contemporary novels. I understood wanting to celebrate UKYA, but I found myself rolling my eyes a lot of it because it was so just so cringey.

I also found the characters to be quite snobby at some points. And a lot of them act as if reading is such a weird thing that makes them different. Like, you know when people say “Am I the only one who does [something that everyone does]?” Tabby and some of the others all tends to give off that similar vibe, and it was just a little frustrating.

Continue reading “Mini review: The Paper & Hearts Society and Secrets of the Henna Girl”

Review: Ayesha At Last

Review: Ayesha At Last

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)

Ayesha’s dream of being a poet is on a standstill as she’s stuck paying off a debt to her uncle. So while she’s stuck being a substitute teacher, she’s also tailing behind her gorgeous cousin who has marriage proposals thrown at her every day. An identity mishap leads her to be in charge of a fundraising conference for the young Muslims at their local mosque and pairs up with Khalid Mirza to run it. Khalid is conservative and judgemental with secrets of his own. Why should Ayesha fall for a man who acts above her? But a surprise engagement blows everything out of the water.

I enjoyed this book a lot more than I had expected. Like, wow. I couldn’t get enough Ayesha and her family. And her hilarious antics as she falls further down a web of lies by pretending to be her cousin. Each character was so unique and likeable. The narration jumps between different people. It was a bit too much, but each character has a distinct voice that separated them all, voices that were authentic and funny.

Khalid was the one that took me a while to get used to. I didn’t even think he deserved Ayesha for a good half of the novel. He just reminded me of most Muslim men I’ve met who are pretty ridiculous and judgemental before getting to know anyone. You can tell from the offset he’s grown to follow whatever his mum agrees to because of some background events that happened with his sister. And he does learn to become less judgemental, but when I say it took a while, it took a long while.

Apart from the growing relationship between Ayesha and Khalid, multiple complex conflicts grow in the back that adds to this drama-filled debut. Weddings to be planned and had, gossiping aunties that get their due and a very unexpected twist at the end.

Overall, I really enjoy Ayesha At Last. I think this book addressed so many issues and was so well done in that aspect. Workplace racism, Islamophobia, and double standards that women face. A great window into Muslim communities that explored the complexities of life, family and belief. Ayesha At Last was refreshing and hilarious.


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Content warning: workplace racism, Islamophobia, revenge porn

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