Novel about Duterte’s drug war nominated for National Book Awards for Young People’s Literature

Time to get our thumbs tweeting #PinoyPride right about now, fam — Patron Saints of Nothing, the highly-acclaimed young adult novel written by Filipino-American fictionist Randy Ribay, has been included in this year’s longlist for the U.S. National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the National Book Foundation announced today.


The novel takes a hard look into the impact of President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody drug war through the eyes of its protagonist Jay Reguero, a Filipino-American teenager who was supposed to prepare for his college freshman year. Instead of going along with that plan, however, Reguero finds himself investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of his cousin in the Philippines.

Read: Incoming: New YA novel ‘Patron Saints of Nothing’ is a coming-of-age story set in Duterte’s drug war 

Readers from all over the world have responded positively to the novel, and it currently holds a 4.46 out of 5 rating on Goodreads, a social networking platform and book review aggregate targeting avid readers. It has also earned positive reviews from Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal.

On Twitter, Ribay reacted to the news with much excitement. “A huge THANK YOU to all who have been sending congratulations my way this AM for the NBA longlist announcement! It’s a school day, so I can’t reply to everyone at the moment, but know that I appreciate all the love and support!” he wrote.

Aside from Ribay’s work, other books included in the longlist were The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander; SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson; Pet by Akwaeke Emezi; A Place to Belong by Cynthia Kadohata; Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds; Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby; 1919: The Year That Changed America by Martin W. Sandler; Out of Salem by Hal Schrieve; and Kiss Number 8 by Colleen AF Venable and Ellen T. Crenshaw.

Finalists will be announced on Oct. 8, and the winner will be revealed on Nov. 20 in New York City.

Have you read Ribay’s novel? Tell us what you think of it by leaving a comment below or tweeting to @CoconutsManila.

This article, Novel about Duterte’s drug war nominated for National Book Awards for Young People’s Literature, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!