Mini Reviews: Something like Gravity by Amber Smith, Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

Mini Reviews: Something like Gravity by Amber Smith, Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

Hi everyone! Today, I thought to do a Mini-Review post of two diverse books which are completely different to each other in so many ways. I’ve participated in two readathons back-to-back and because of that, my TBR is 15/16 books lighter and my review pile that much heavier. With that said, let’s begin my mini-review of Something like Gravity by Amber Smith and Patrons Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay. Both are gifted by the author and the publisher(UK) respectively.

Something like Gravity by Amber Smith

For fans of Love, Simon and Eleanor and Park, a romantic and sweet novel about a transgender boy who falls in love for the first time—and how first love changes us all—from New York Times bestselling author Amber Smith.
Goodreads | Book Depository | Wordery

Chris and Maia aren’t off to a great start.
A near-fatal car accident first brings them together, and their next encounters don’t fare much better. Chris’s good intentions backfire. Maia’s temper gets the best of her.

But they’re neighbors, at least for the summer, and despite their best efforts, they just can’t seem to stay away from each other.

The path forward isn’t easy. Chris has come out as transgender, but he’s still processing a frightening assault he survived the year before. Maia is grieving the loss of her older sister and trying to find her place in the world without her. Falling in love was the last thing on either of their minds.
But would it be so bad if it happened anyway?

My Thoughts

Something like Gravity can be described as a beautifully written YA contemporary. It’s about a transgender boy Chris who’s spending his summer months at his aunt’s place where he meets a girl named Maia. Both of them are haunted by their pasts and these summer months will change them forever. Chris’ backstory is one I found to be too traumatic and there’s no real closure to be soon which I really wanted to see. Maia’s character, however, had major development from living in her dead sister’s shadow with her divorced parents ignoring her to gaining closure and perhaps a semblance of her own identity. The author has such a way with words that I never felt bored throughout the book. The characters go from friends to lovers but their ending is left open-ended. I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a light read but as I mentioned before, Chris’ backstory is triggering and I would advise that you proceed with caution.

Publication date: June 18, 2019
Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

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.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Wordery

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.

My Thoughts

Patron of Saints is an own voices novel that I was very excited about and it delivered on its promise. Jay, a Filipino American high school senior, on hearing the news of his cousin’s death travels to Philippines alone. The author masterfully displays the contrast between a High School senior’s life in America and Philippines; for example, in one page we see Jay’s friend smoking weed without any fear but on the other hand, Jay finds that the situation is reversed in the Phillippines..he sees that if he’s seen smoking weed, he could be killed on site. After arriving in the Phillippines, he finds that almost no one in his family is willing to talk about his cousin, it’s as if he never existed. At every moment, he views himself as an outsider despite being born in the Phillippines; at every turn, as he uncovers more secret, Jay realizes how naive and sheltered he has been all these years.

This is not a “happy” book, but rather an important one which I’ll highly recommend. Most of the news about this drug war is written by journalists who probably are not native and thus, we do not get a “clear” view of the situation. Randy Ribay, the author, through Jay’s perspective gives us a view of the situation as a foreigner and through him, we also learn of others’ thoughts who have been affected directly or indirectly.

In his author’s note, Ribay mentions a rough estimate of people who have killed because of the President declaring war on drugs. Imagine 20,000 people (could be more) who were someone’s son, or father or brother, who could have been rehabilitated, were not given a chance to exercise their choice between life and death. Although Jay got more than what he bargained for, he grew as a character and closer to his family which was beautiful to watch.

Publication date: June 27, 2019

Have you read either of these two books? If not, then will you be adding any of them to your TBR? I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below!

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