My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: PRH Canada
Published: June 2019
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Mystery, Family, Coming of Age, Culture
This felt like a familiar tale in the beginning. Someone close to the main character dies and the main character is angry and seeks justice. Except in this case the tragedy happens in the Philippines, far away from the protagonist, and Jay is reluctant to accept the events that lead to the death of his cousin so he travels to the Philippines in order to find out the truth his family is potentially hiding from him.
It’s a real page-turner. If you enjoy reading stories about change, journeys, family drama and mysterious circumstances, you will enjoy it as much as I did. If not more. Jay, the protagonist, is easy to relate to, despite being flawed and a poor detective. Luckily he makes friends and strengthens his links with some of his family members who are of great help to him. I genuinely wanted to see him succeed in his search of the truth.
I especially enjoyed all that happened in between him finding out snippets of the truth. How he reconnected with people he hadn’t seen in a while, how he learned more about his culture and where he came from, how he started to understand that life outside the USA can be quite different—that every country has its own ruler with his/her own worldview and laws—and how the truth can sometimes be very hard to obtain.
It’s a gripping and ultimately satisfying story.
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