Hello everybody! Today I have the lovely Jillian from Jillian's Books on my blog today to talk about some books set in the Philippines!
Hi everyone! My name is Jillian, and I blog over at Jillian’s Books, a mostly YA/MG book review blog. Thank you so much, Ri, for letting me blog here!
As a reader, I enjoy reading books that are set in different places. Most YA books I read are always set in different parts of the US, which makes me think a lot – what about other places? Why does it always to be set in the SAME PLACE all the time? Very few books are set in various places, such as Daughter of Smoke and Bone, in which the story occurs in Prague, Czech Republic. But those are the only few ones!
I want to spotlight some books set from where I am because I like things different. Here are some of the few books set in the Philippines:
Noli Me Tangere (“Touch Me Not”) by Jose Rizal – This book is originally written in Spanish, but is actually written by a Filipino. Truthfully, I really liked this book even if it’s very complicated! No, it’s not a YA book, but is actually a book mostly studied in school because it is a complex “manifestation of Asian resistance to European colonialism.”
In more than a century since its appearance, José Rizal's Noli Me Tangere has become widely known as the great novel of the Philippines. A passionate love story set against the ugly political backdrop of repression, torture, and murder, "The Noli," as it is called in the Philippines, was the first major artistic manifestation of Asian resistance to European colonialism, and Rizal became a guiding conscience—and martyr—for the revolution that would subsequently rise up in the Spanish province.
The Last Time I Saw Mother by Arlene J. Chai – One of those heartbreaking books about a relationship between a mother and daughter set during the Japanese colonialism in the PH. This book truly showcases not only historical aspects, but also the love of a mother for her daughter. Such a sad book! :(
Caridad's mother never writes. So when a letter arrives for her in Sydney from Manila, Caridad doesn't even recognize her mother's handwriting. There is more distance than just miles between the two women. And that is why Caridad is called home. Her mother needs to talk. And to reveal a secret that has been weighing heavily on her for years.
As Caridad hears at last the unspoken stories, and the never forgotten tragedy of the war years, she will learn a startling truth that will change her life forever. For Caridad is not who she thinks she is. . . .
Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto – Not actually completely sure this is set in PH, since this is the only book here that I haven’t read yet (I’ll get to it soooon!), but it IS written by a Filipino writer. Before Ever After is a chicklist/realistic fictional book about a girl named Shelley, whose husband, Max, died not too long ago, one day meets a man named Paolo, an Italian man, who shows her photos of a bearded man. Paolo claims that the bearded man is his grandfather; however, he never seems to age. Shelley finds out that it is her Max. Her Max. Thinking he must have actually been alive after all, Paolo and Shelley both seek to find out the mystery behind Max’s “death.”
Three years after her husband Max's death, Shelley feels no more adjusted to being a widow than she did that first terrible day. That is, until the doorbell rings. Standing on her front step is a young man who looks so much like Max; same smile, same eyes, same age, same adorable bump in his nose; he could be Max's long-lost relation. He introduces himself as Paolo, an Italian editor of American coffee table books, and shows Shelley some childhood photos. Paolo tells her that the man in the photos, the bearded man who Paolo says is his grandfather though he never seems to age, is Max. Her Max. And he is alive and well.
As outrageous as Paolo's claims seem; how could her husband be alive? And if he is, why hasn't he looked her up? Shelley desperately wants to know the truth. She and Paolo jet across the globe to track Max down; if it is really Max and along the way, Shelley recounts the European package tour where they had met. As she relives Max's stories of bloody Parisian barricades, medieval Austrian kitchens, and buried Roman boathouses, Shelley begins to piece together the story of who her husband was and what these new revelations mean for her "happily ever after." And as she and Paolo get closer to the truth, Shelley discovers that not all stories end where they are supposed to.
Those are the few that I have for now! I absolutely loved some of the books here, even if I have yet to read Before Ever After. Thanks again Ri!
Thanks to Jillian for creating this wonderful and informative post about books set in the Philippines!