Saints of the Household By: Ari Tison Genre: YA, Contemporary Number of Pages: 320 Published: March 28, 2023 Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux Dates Read: March 21, 2023 - March 22, 2023 Format: ARC / eBook
Trigger Warnings: Domestic abuse, bullying, mental health; depression, alcoholism, death, mention of suicide
Before the incident in the woods, Max and Jay were pretty much connected at the hip, they had to be in order to protect themselves and their mother from their physically abusive father. Afterwards, their act of violence threatens the brothers’ dreams of their future. As the details of the event unfold throughout the book, Max and Jay take different courses as they think about their actions, their own shifting relationships, and just how alike to their father they may be. Told in alternating points of view using vignettes and poems, Saint of the Household tells of two Bribri brothers as they deal with brotherhood, abuse, recovery, and trying to do the right thing in their last few months of high school.
This isn’t an easy book – there’s no fuzzy feelings or giant smiles. These poor boys went through a lot in this story and it’s their journey of how they came out on the other side. Now, I will say the boys’ Grandfather does come in at one point and helps the boys reconnect with the Bribri culture and some of those lessons were tender and much needed for the boys.
I thoroughly enjoyed the vignettes of chapters that we got. It made the story read faster, but it also didn’t need any kind of filler in between and what was on the page was only the important stuff. Jay’s viewpoint is told in prose and is short and to the point. Max’s are in verse and sometimes into calligrams, which match perfectly with his escapism he uses in his art.
Overall, this is an incredible debut from Ari Tison and I can’t wait to see what they will write in the future. I can’t wait to share this book with others once it’s released and the amount of book lists I will be putting it on are endless.
*Thank you Farrer, Straus and Giroux and NetGalley for a digital advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review