I received this book for free from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.Saints of the Household by Ari Tison
Published by Macmillan Children's Publishing Group Farrar Straus and Giroux (BYR) on March 28, 2023
Genres: Young Adult Fiction / Family / Siblings, Young Adult Fiction / People & Places / United States / Hispanic & Latino, Young Adult Fiction / Social Themes / Physical & Emotional Abuse, Young Adult Fiction / Social Themes / Prejudice & Racism, Young Adult Fiction / Social Themes / Violence
Source: the publisher and Netgalley
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Bookshop
Saints of the Household is a haunting contemporary YA about an act of violence in a small-town--beautifully told by a debut Indigenous Costa Rican-American writer--that will take your breath away.
Max and Jay have always depended on one another for their survival. Growing up with a physically abusive father, the two Bribri American brothers have learned that the only way to protect themselves and their mother is to stick to a schedule and keep their heads down.
But when they hear a classmate in trouble in the woods, instinct takes over and they intervene, breaking up a fight and beating their high school's star soccer player to a pulp. This act of violence threatens the brothers' dreams for the future and their beliefs about who they are. As the true details of that fateful afternoon unfold over the course of the novel, Max and Jay grapple with the weight of their actions, their shifting relationship as brothers, and the realization that they may be more like their father than they thought. They'll have to reach back to their Bribri roots to find their way forward.
Told in alternating points of view using vignettes and poems, debut author Ari Tison crafts an emotional, slow-burning drama about brotherhood, abuse, recovery, and doing the right thing.
I wasn’t playing when I said that it was a “Read What I Want” December Reading List! Because even though Saints of the Household by Ari Tison isn’t out until March 28, 2023, it has been on my mind to read it sooner rather than closer to its debut.
I’m so glad that I did not wait. So far, it is one of my faves for 2023 and we still have a few weeks before we even enter the new year.
Brotherhood, Survival & An Act of Violence
I’m halfway done with this book about two brothers struggling in survival mode in their family life and having to face themselves when that survival mode triggers an act of violence outside of their home. These boys are academic and artistic geniuses respectively, but they often feel like outsiders in their school. Their relationship with each other is changing as their dependency on each other changes.
I’m loving how the author tells the story in alternate point of views that switch between prose and poetry — one representing each brother.
Also, I am always on the lookout for Central American authors and Ari Tison is an indigenous Bribri Costa Rican author. She weaves Bribri language and culture into the brother’s story. Learn more about the author at her website.
You can definitely expect a detailed review from me in March when Saints of the Household debuts. But if you are interested by Netgalley review will be up before then. I’m just going to say now that from what I’ve read so far, you are definitely going to want to read it. And for educators looking for shorter books to entice their students into reading more, definitely try this one out. So you are aware, it does contain domestic violence.
If someone asks you what book you want for Christmas, ask them to preorder Saints of the Household by Ari Tison for you!