Books are more than a words

Mar 16, 2017

Review: Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran

Lucky Boy
by Shanthi Sekaran
Source: eARC provided for review. Thank you!
My Rating: 4 stars
Solimar Castro Valdez is eighteen and dazed with optimism when she embarks on a perilous journey across the US/Mexican border. Weeks later she arrives on her cousin's doorstep in Berkeley, CA, dazed by first love found then lost, and pregnant. This was not the plan. But amid the uncertainty of new motherhood and her American identity, Soli learns that when you have just one precious possession, you guard it with your life. For Soli, motherhood becomes her dwelling and the boy at her breast her hearth... Kavya Reddy has always followed her heart, much to her parents' chagrin. A mostly contented chef at a UC Berkeley sorority house, the unexpected desire to have a child descends like a cyclone in Kavya's mid-thirties. When she can't get pregnant, this desire will test her marriage, it will test her sanity, and it will set Kavya and her husband, Rishi, on a collision course with Soli, when she is detained and her infant son comes under Kavya's care. As Kavya learns to be a mother--the singing, story-telling, inventor-of-the-universe kind of mother she fantasized about being--she builds her love on a fault line, her heart wrapped around someone else's child.


Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran is one of the best and more inclusive books I’ve read since I started reading in English. This is not my usual read because I read mostly YA books and Lucky Boy featured Adult characters: a Mexican (and pregnant) young woman and an Indian (and long married) couple.

Lucky boy is told from the POV of Soli, a Mexican girl who leaves her quiet town looking for the American Dream and her raw and heartbreaking journey as an immigrant.
Maybe because her story is similar to many stories I know and because her town is very similar to mine (even if we live in different countries) I was instantly hooked to her POV and I found her voice to be honest and strong. And I loved the writing! Despite all the bad things happening to Soli, there was something almost magical about the way she described her everyday life.

And then, there were Kavya and Rishi. I loved them deeply too. Their story wasn’t as heartbreaking as Soli’s but it was truthful and deep. I’m not familiar with the Indian culture, so I don’t know if Shanthi Sekaran does justice to their rich traditions and culture with Kavya’s voice (and the few scenes with Rishi’s POV), but they were joyful and so lovely.

The synopsis gives away too much of the plot, just like the title. Lucky Boy is the story of a Lucky Boy, Ignacio. Soli’s son. She’s not pregnant when the book starts. She gets pregnant in her way to the US, and after some twists and turns, Ignacio ends up with Kavya and Rishi, his new foster family.
There’s so much more after that, of course, but I won’t tell anymore because of spoilers, but let me tell you this:
Lucky Boy is a story of immigrants, too. Legal and illegal immigrants. This is such an important topic and I’m so glad it exists because it made me more empathetic and sensitive toward immigrants (yes, me! A person with a lot of immigrant friends!) It made me understand how hard is their life so far away from their home, and their struggle to find a new one.

Lucky Boy is a well written and thought-provoking read. With honest, diverse and likable characters, it’s a book you’ll enjoy even if it’s not your “usual genre”. I’m so glad I did!
I hope you all give it a chance.

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