352p. ISBN 978-0525554912 hc. $17.99 Gr. 9-12 YA FIC
Jay Reguero, Filipino-American high school senior from Michigan, is ready to graduate high school, attend college, and begin his adult life. That's the plan - until he gets news of his cousin Jun's death back in the the Phillipines. The two cousins used to be close and continued to write letters to each other. Then Jay wrote back less and less often; a fact that makes him feel guilty about his cousin's death. It's hard to dig information from his Filipino father who considers the family's honor above all else, but Jay refuses to believe that Jun was involved in using and selling drugs leading to his execution by the government under President Duterte's aggressive war on drugs which led to multiple deaths of people in the drug trade. Somehow, Jay convinces his parents to let him travel to the Phillipine Islands to visit his extended family, although he secretly wants to uncover the cause of Jun's death. Jay remembers little of the country from his childhood visits, but does re-connect with family while he investigates the truth of his cousin's untimely death. Readers will feel the cultural pull of living in the U.S., while having parents genetically connected to two different countries.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI