Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

Patron Saints of Nothing
Release Date: June 18th, 2019
Publisher: Kokila | Penguin Random House
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 352 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

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.

This was such a moving and poignant story. It's books like this that make me cherish the young adult genre. YA has been taking a major step forward when it comes to diversity and penning stories that make you think, make you wonder, and make you want to take action. Patron Saints of Nothing is one of those books!

Patron Saints of Nothing stirs up just about every emotion imaginable. There were moments that I seethed with anger while others had me reading through tears. Jay's storytelling felt so authentic. The author created such a powerful voice in Jay, his narrative transporting me, bringing to light current events that I, sadly, knew little about. It is shockingly eye-opening!

 Ribay's lyrical writing style makes the story flow in such a poetic way, unfolding at the perfect pace. Compelling, strong and effective, Patron Saints of Nothing is a book that all should read. It should land itself in the libraries of schools and in the hands of students. Knowledge is power. The more we get these stories out there, the more power we have for change. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante

The Grief Keeper
Release Date: June 11, 2019
Publisher: GP Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 320 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: Exchange for Honest Review
Find the Author: Website | @Magpiewrites on Instragram and Twitter
Buy the Book

Seventeen-year-old Marisol has always dreamed of being American, learning what Americans and the US are like from television and Mrs. Rosen, an elderly expat who had employed Marisol's mother as a maid. When she pictured an American life for herself, she dreamed of a life like Aimee and Amber's, the title characters of her favorite American TV show. She never pictured fleeing her home in El Salvador under threat of death and stealing across the US border as "an illegal", but after her brother is murdered and her younger sister, Gabi's, life is also placed in equal jeopardy, she has no choice, especially because she knows everything is her fault. If she had never fallen for the charms of a beautiful girl named Liliana, Pablo might still be alive, her mother wouldn't be in hiding and she and Gabi wouldn't have been caught crossing the border.
But they have been caught and their asylum request will most certainly be denied. With truly no options remaining, Marisol jumps at an unusual opportunity to stay in the United States. She's asked to become a grief keeper, taking the grief of another into her own body to save a life. It's a risky, experimental study, but if it means Marisol can keep her sister safe, she will risk anything. She just never imagined one of the risks would be falling in love, a love that may even be powerful enough to finally help her face her own crushing grief.The Grief Keeper is a tender tale that explores the heartbreak and consequences of when both love and human beings are branded illegal.
"You aren't an illegal. You're a person. You are a girl"

Firstly, can we address this absolutely stunning cover? It is the perfect representation of this story. Each time I'd pick the book up, I couldn't help but admire its beauty each time!

The Grief Keeper will sweep its arms around you and nestle itself right into your soul. The 2 main characters, Marisol and Rey will find a comfortable spot within your heart. You will be left completely changed by the time you are done with it.

Alexandra Villasante penned a heartbreaking tale that tackles immigration, grief, suicide and sexual orientation. She approaches each with such compassion and respect. The hardships of each matter were written with such authenticity; I feel that any person dealing with even just one of these issues would have felt greatly represented. The same goes for each character. Readers will relate to Marisol and Rey in some way or another.

The author's writing will transport you, as if you are alongside Marisol, Gabi, and Rey during their journey, rather than reading it. I was completely swept up in their worlds, invested. I had to suppress the urge to devour this book because I feel it is one that should be savoured, taking your time reading it. Not taking the risk of missing even one word. 

The Grief Keeper is such a unique concept. Unlike anything I have ever read. It begs the question: Would you be a grief keeper? Would you take the grief of a stranger to give yourself a chance at a better, safer life? Or a loved so they are no longer suffering? No longer in crippling pain? Or, on the other side, would you allow someone else to take your grief from you? Every painful emotion weighing you down, being given to someone else to bear?

The Grief Keeper is a touching story of the lengths one would go to for their loved ones. For a new chance at life. A life they are deserving of. It is about self-discovery and perseverance. It's books like this that make me a proud reader. I couldn't imagine missing out on this story! Though listed as a Young Adult, The Grief Keeper should find itself in the hands of all readers. You will not be sorry and will be forever changed after reading their story.

Monday, June 3, 2019

One More Lie by Amy Lloyd

One More Lie
Release Date: April 4th, 2019
Publisher: Century
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 400 Pages
Format: Ebook
Source: NetGalley
Reason: Honest Review

Charlotte wants to start fresh. She wants to forget her past, forget prison and, most of all, forget Sean. But old habits die hard. Despite the ankle monitor she must wear as part of her parole agreement and frequent visits to her therapist, she soon finds herself sliding back toward the type of behavior that sent her to prison in the first place. The further down that path she goes, however, the closer she gets to the crime that put her in prison all those years ago. And that's the one memory she can't face. Until, one day, Sean tracks her down.



One More Lie is a chilling and disturbing ride. This psychological thriller takes you through the past and present of 2 lives, Charlotte and Sean, and really happened on the day that changed everything.

This book is a very heavily character-driven novel. The character development builds up strongly throughout the entire novel. You will be lead through believing certain things, but do not underestimate a person, what you see is not always what you get!

Amy Lloyd does a spectacular job at the pacing of One More Lie. The story unfolds unhurriedly as we are taken between the past and the present. Trying to piece together Charlotte's memory that lead to that fateful day.

Charlotte is a character that you immediately empathize with. Even though she is now an adult, she still remains almost child-like. She suffered through some pretty traumatic events at such a young age that will make your heartache. Sean is just as in-depth. You almost immediately peg him as the trouble maker but something keeps hinting that there is more than meets the eye. Charlotte and Sean's lives intertwine at a young age, and they remain in a tangled web together. Their story is just as important as the main story at hand. You need a clean understand of their relationship together to understand what prompted the most horrific crimes in Britain.

One More Life is the whole package. Gripping and shocking, it will leave you wide-eyed and jaw-dropped until the very last sentence!
 
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