Ever since Gail approached Shealea, Cara, and I about hosting the #ButterflyTour for My Fate According to the Butterfly, I’ve just been super eager to finally get my hands on this book and read it. It’s premise – that of a young girl who gets caught up in Duterte’s drug war – captured both my mind and heart easily. And best of all, it was an internationally published book written by a Filipino author who grew up here, and who still lives here. Not to discount my diaspora Filipino brethren, but really – that kind of representation is irreplaceable.
I’ve sat down many times over the past few weeks to try and write this review, and here I am now: an hour and a half from my deadline, and I’m just getting down to it. A whole host of factors – mostly involving work – contributed to me not being able to get this out sooner; but mostly, it was the fact that I was (and still am, if I’m being 100% honest) kind of at a loss as to how to coherently and cohesively describe just how much I loved this book, and how much it means to me.
Naturally, I will do my best. Gail’s debut deserves nothing less!
I have been waiting for literal months to write this review, you guys. I first saw the cover of Patron Saints of Nothing on Twitter at the start of the year, and just from that magnificent photo complete with the Philippine flag stars behind the main character’s head, I already knew I wanted to get my hands on this book. I would honestly, legitimately kill for an ARC of this book. Really.
The bookish gods smiled down on me and influenced the kind hearts (lmfao) of the good folks over at Bookworms United PH to allow me to be a part of the #PatronSaintsPHTour, the blog tour promoting this awesome, amazing book. So huge thanks to them, and of course to Penguin Teen, Penguin Random House International, Kokila Books, and Randy Ribay for getting this whole thing off the ground.
Quick little story before hopping right in to this review: I read this book in the space of four hours while I was lying on a deserted beach on an island south of Cebu, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I was surrounded exactly by the unbelievable beauty that is so very often the first thing that comes to mind when you talk about the Philippines, but reading that book right there was a stark reminder of the lesson that Jay learns: if one is to claim being Filipino, then you have to claim the poverty, the hardship, the starvation, and all the difficulties happening in the country, and not just the beautiful beaches and mountains.
Taken on a deserted beach in Malapascua Island