Confident five stars. Definite one for the classroom. Please, just read it. If nothing else, google “Rodrigo Duterte” and understand that this story IS real, for so many people.
Recommended: YES, TO EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE
For those who struggle with their identity, their family. For those who have let someone they loved drift away for no good reason. For those who value and seek the truth. For those who are impassioned by injustice. For those who are angry with or horrified by or unaware of government sponsored police brutality around the world. Honestly, it’s also just a really powerful, heart-wrenching story.
Summary, from Goodreads:
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.
I saw this and thought, “Yeah that has some serious potential.”
Then I read the 5 chapter excerpt from NetGalley, and was already slavering for more.
FINALLY, release day came, and it was everything I had expected and more.
Our characters are complex, so much so that I felt like I had run into them before in classrooms, meetings, or coffee shops. The truth is complex, and that’s what this story grapples with, as well. Every part of this story feels real, like it was torn straight from the author’s heart.
The shame Jason feels at letting Jun drift away, and at knowing nothing about his home country across the world. The anger he has toward his father for never reacting, never pushing, never caring. The constant surprises and chagrin at being surprised that he faces during his trip – that people living in slums are still living, and still have happiness within them, faces him to confront his own judgments and the inherent biases he has from only being exposed to what is shown to him by Western media.
God, I could go on forever about this book. It’s important, it’s real, and it will make you cheer, grimace, rage, and so much more. Please, just read it. If nothing else, google “Rodrigo Duterte” and understand that this story IS real, for so many people. (I put this at the beginning AND end of the review, because it’s that important and I want to make sure as many people as possible see it.)