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Penguin: Young Readers Group Summer 2019

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Patron Saints of Nothing
By (author): Randy Ribay
9780525554912 Hardcover English Young Adult : Age (years) from 14, Grade (US) from 9 YOUNG ADULT FICTION / People & Places / Asia Jun 18, 2019
$23.99 CAD
Active 5.88 x 8.5 x 1.13 in 352 pages Penguin Young Readers Group Kokila
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.

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.

TIMELY TOPIC: Since July 2016, President Duterte’s war on drugs has been responsible for the death of more than 20,000 people according to some estimates, including minors, which makes a book that tackles these killings especially important.

There are no widely available YA novels about the Philippines’ war on drugs currently being sold. This book FILLS AN IMPORTANT GAP.

PERFECT FOR YA READERS WITH A PASSION FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE: Author Randy Ribay explores themes of justice, race, and class with depth and nuance. School Library Journal said his debut novel, After the Shot Drops, “belongs on the shelf alongside contemporary heavy-hitters like Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give, Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds’s All-American Boys, and Nic Stone’s Dear Martin.”

Jay grapples with IMMIGRANT, BIRACIAL, and RELIGIOUS IDENTITY, making him a character many readers will connect to as they explore their own identities.

CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED AUTHOR PERFECT FOR SCHOOL VISITS: After the Shot Drops garnered three starred reviews. Randy’s experience as a high school English teacher and his own family’s connection to the Philippines make him a smart choice for thoughtful classroom discussions.


AN ENGROSSING PAGE-TURNER: Jay’s first person narrative is peppered with Jun’s haunting letters, adding tension that will hook readers from the start.

WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS: Fulfills Kokila’s mission of centering stories from the margins, celebrating the full range of authors’ experiences, and answering the call for more diverse children’s literature.

Randy Ribay was born in the Philippines and raised in the Midwest. He is the author of After the Shot Drops and An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes. He earned his BA in English Literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder and his Master’s Degree in Language and Literacy from Harvard Graduate School of Education. He currently teaches English and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Marketing: Major prepublication buzz campaign

National media campaign

Consumer advertising campaign

Promotion at select consumer festivals and cons

Online promotion and social media outreach

Author blog tour

Extensive blogger outreach

Major promotion at national school and library conferences

Librarian and educator outreach

Author Website:

Author Social Media: @randyribay


An Amazon Best Book of the Year So Far

“Powerful and courageous.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Deep, nuanced, and painfully real.”—Booklist, starred review

“A perfect convergence of authentic voice and an emphasis on inner dialogue.”—School Library Journal, starred review

“Passionately and fearlessly, Ribay delves into matters of justice, grief, and identity.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A must-read.” - Erin Entrada Kelly, author of 2018 Newbery Award-winning Hello, Universe

“Lyrical. Stunning. Searing…The real deal.”- Mark Oshiro, author of Anger Is a Gift

“Riveting, brilliantly told and deeply moving.” - Francisco X. Stork, author of Disappeared

“Complex, gripping, haunting and deeply human…a story alive with longing and pain and grace. - Kelly Loy Gilbert, author of Picture Us In The Light

”A searing, soul-searching novel about grief and identity. This book makes me proud to be Filipino-American. - Melissa de la Cruz, author of Alex and Eliza


* “A well-executed book featuring complex, diverse characters we rarely meet—a real winner for its heartbeat, compassion, and integrity.”— Kirkus Reviews, starred review

* “A must-have for YA shelves.” —School Library Journal, starred review

* “This layered and emotionally rich story gracefully captures its protagonists’ external pressures and inner conflicts.”— Publishers Weekly, starred review

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