Patron Saints of Nothing should be required reading for YA! And to all of the adults who all too often bypass a book simply because it's of the Young Adult Genre? READ THIS!
Jay's father moved his family from the Philippines to the United States in order to give them a better future (more prosperous). It has been nearly a decade since they have returned to the Philippines and their family only provides Jay's father with a minimal and often superficial update of how everyone is faring. So, when Jay is told that his cousin, Jun, has died and the particulars are not forthcoming he is determined to find out what happened.
For a few years the boys were very close and communicating via snail mail, but eventually Jay became caught up in the world immediately occupying his time and lost touch with Jun. His cousin then leaves home and Jay wonders why yet doesn't try to locate him or find out what happened to result in such a thing. It is only upon Jun's passing that Jay decides there must be more than what his father is telling him, more than his uncle would like to be known. I mean what kind of family would not hold a funeral for their child after he was murdered by the police? Except maybe those who are under the thumb of a corrupt police chief and a brutal ruler.
Jay convinces his parents to send him to the Philippines during his school vacation in order to better connect with his roots. Promising not to stir up any trouble by mentioning his cousin or delving into what has happened to him. Of course, finding out what happened to Jun is his sole purpose in traveling halfway around the world. So, it is only a matter of time before this lands Jay in trouble with his uncle. With the help of his cousin and a new friend Jay eventually learns what life was really like for Jun, why he left home, and what really happened to him. There are so many elements to this story and it is incredibly relevant to the times we are living in. I highly recommend this book to everyone.