Cover Image: Lucky Boy

Lucky Boy

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Member Reviews

A heart breaking story about an undocumented young woman, Soli, who makes the trip from Mexico to California and finds herself pregnant. Her life collides with Kavya Reddy, a 30+ woman who is unable to get pregnant. As someone who is infertile and adopting, I really connected with Kavya.
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This was an absolutely heart breaking story. The story revolves around two mother’s. One who yearns for a child and one who has a child. The way their lives end up becoming the focus of one child and the emotions that each mother goes through. The love that this boy is delivered by both of them. It just left my heart breaking for the both of them. One of the best stories about motherhood that I have ever read!  This author did an excellent job of making you feel part of the story.
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It's a beautiful story dealing with a heavy topic. I liked how the characters were formed and the plot kept me reading. The writing is good, in my opinion, and it didn't distract from following the story.
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Unfortunately I did not end up reading this while given a free download via netgalley. I did end up purchasing it on my own and loved it. Hit home with what the u.s is currently going through in regard to immigration, legally and illegally.
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When I first read the synopsis, I was in the mood for a 'pull at the heartstrings' book and the first time I tried to read it, I got bored. It's very slow moving in the beginning. I don't know what was different this go around but I must have been in the actual right mood for the book also I finally realized it was set in Berkeley for the most part, which is one of those cities near where I live. I was gearing up to be angry with the ending of this book based on what the outcome of the boy was going to be. But I'm surprised to say I'm glad it ended the way it did. It was sad for one of the mothers, yes, but it was unfair for her to think she could keep this little boy who stole her heart when he wasn't hers. There are parents who don't deserve to be parents, yes, but this wasn't the case in this book. 

There was a distance between myself and the characters but I liked them well enough by the end. They were well-written and the emotions they all felt were written adequately. Ignore my first attempt at reading this book and just believe me when I say it was easy to read Shanthi Sekaran's writing and I would absolutely read something else written by her in the future. The focus on the topics of immigration and infertility were handled very well, in my opinion as a Hispanic who has never had to deal with the threat of being deported and a woman who has never faced any childbearing difficulties. But it didn't feel disingenuine and it was handled with the delicacy that both topics should be covered.
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I read this novel about a young Mexican immigrant woman, Soli, who arrives into the USA illegally, and a married woman Kavya, who is from a family of immigrants from India. The story follows their separate yet parallel paths on the role of motherhood for one little “lucky boy.” Soli is the boy’s real mother, Kavya is the foster mother who was never able to have children. Who will end up with the baby in the end? I found myself grappling with the answers. It’s a gripping novel and an interesting read considering the political world we are living in today.
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Lucky Boy, by Shanthi Sekaran, explores what it means to be a mom from very different perspectives. The book starts out with Solimar, a young Mexican girl who crosses the US border illegally. She makes her way to her cousin who lives in Berkeley, CA. She finds work and tries to make a life for herself but then she finds out she's pregnant. Soli gives birth and finds that being a mom to Ignacio comes naturally.  Across town, Kavya and her husband Rishi are trying to get pregnant and struggling. Eventually, they decide to become foster parents and find themselves fostering Soli's son when Soli is sent to a detention center.  Motherhood comes naturally to Kavya as well, but she is mothering someone else's child, 

This is a beautiful story of love and loss and what it really means to be a mother.  Both Solimar and Kavya are well drawn, realistic characters whose lives truly come alive on the page.  Both of them were dealing with difficult situations and the author does a great job of exploring all of the relationships within each woman's life. The writing is powerful--honest without being melodramatic or overly descriptive.
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We are emotionally torn between two women, both want the best for Ignacio. One woman is Ignacio's biological mother who struggled to get to America only to lose her American Dream when she was caught and the system took over. The other woman is the foster mom, with no children of her own, who falls in love with Ignacio. Both women want to love him unconditionally and for him to be happy. 
I recommend this book to anyone who has ever loved a child unconditionally. I recommend it to women who have children that are being loved by other women ... be it foster moms, step moms, grandmothers. 
This book is an eye opener in so many ways, it addresses very real struggles that surround families involved in our immigration and family services in America. There is no Team Mom or Team Foster-mom here. You will appreciate the love and struggles of both. What you will question is the reason why they ever had to struggle in the first place.
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This book is beautifully written, completely empathic, and totally gutwrenching. Parallel stories of an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who becomes pregnant with a son, and an Indian American couple who desperately want but are failing to conceive a child of their own. Shanthi Sekaran manages to make you feel for everyone involved in the story, never in a preachy way or in a melodramatic way, but in a way that will grip you and rip your heart out in the best way possible. Completely timely. Fantastic writing; can't wait to see more from the author.

I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Let me strongly recommend Lucky Boy, an official big book at 496 pages. Kavya and Rishi want a baby, but can’t make one. Soli got pregnant on the harrowing and illegal trip from tiny Popocalco, Mexico, to Berkeley, California. I don’t want to give away too much, but this book will make you ask what it means to be lucky. Did Ignacio, Soli’s (and Kavya and Rishi’s) son get lucky when he was born in the US? When Kavya saw him in foster care and fell in love at first sight? Was having two families lucky or unlucky? I couldn’t put this book down. It beautifully captures both the best and worst of the American experience with protagonists that you really care about. 

Read if: You want to meditate on the nature of family and belonging.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for more great reading in exchange for an honest review.
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A Hard Look into the Life of an Immigrant and Where We Call Home.

Solimar is just eighteen when her parents risk all they have to send her to America. Dubious arrangements are made and Soli is excited for the promise of a new life and anxious to leave her impoverished Mexican town behind. As the trip wears on, Soli quickly learns the harsh realities of life and as the underbelly of her fellow man is exposed, she hardens herself against trusting others. She arrives broken but fortified by the glue that holds her together.

Rishi and Kavya are young, newly married and living in upwardly mobile Berkeley California. Both come from prideful Indian families. Kavya especially is expected to go forth in the world with the rules and customs of her heritage fully intact. Bearing children is a big deal and Kayva has succumbed to the added pressure of not only wanting a child herself but being expected to bear one almost on command by an overbearing and pushy mother. Rishi is trying to do right by his wife as he navigates the politics of his job as a clean air engineer.

Soli comes to America pregnant and along with finding work as a housekeeper for a well off Berkeley family, she also bravely gives birth to a child in a country where she is undocumented. An unfortunate mishap that quickly goes from bad to worse, gets Soli thrown into a detention center, her son separated from his mother and plunged into the US court system. 

Rishi, Kavya, and Soli’s paths cross through this child as a mother engages in the fight of her life to get her son back with every obstacle stacked against her and Rishi and Kavya begin to dream they finally have the family they always wanted. Lines are drawn as we see how poorly illegals are treated in our country and what little rights they have. Uncovered are the strict barriers that keep the help separated from their employers no matter how progressive and open-minded these Americans claim to be. This story is bound to elicit strong feelings of right and wrong as a mother is wrenched from her child while wealth, privilege, and entitlement form the backdrop. 

Rishi and Kavya’s privileged and exclusive upbringing to their trendy choices of employment, to the affluent town in which they bought their first home is juxtaposed by the poor, the indigent who clean their homes and care for their children. You will see what it means to struggle in a new light as Soli’s point of view and experiences takes center stage. Her evolution from a young naïve small town girl to a warrior wolf is nothing short of spectacular. 

This is powerful story of immigrant awareness, civil rights, and human dignities. There are no clear winners but this kind of story opens a dialogue we should all be engaged in. Provocative and timely.

BRB Rating: Read It.
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Timely book showing different families and the immigrant experience. Very moving.
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Diversity is not a gimmick in this people of color centered story of childlessness (in Indian-American culture) and undocumented (Mexican) motherhood in the US-very related to the current times we live in. The book felt a little long in places but overall a good exploration of ethics.
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A true story of friendship in the most unlikely circumstances, Lucky Boy will leave you inspired and hopeful for new beginnings.
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True love of a parent, or parents. A young immigrant mother that wants the best for her young son. And is willing to do what she has to, to get her son to the land of milk and honey.  Then in another part of the world is a young couple Native American that can not have a baby. And the consistent pressure from family about giving them a grandchild. 
Two worlds come together for the love of this young boy. The emotional turmoil, the ups and downs. The heart break and sadness. The author truly brings you in and you the reader will feel the same emotions as the characters.

I read the book in one sitting, I couldn't put it down. Make sure you keep a box of tissues next to you as you read. The ending was not what I would have wanted, but it fit. 

I gave the book 5 stars, but be ready for truth, heartbreak and unconditional love.
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This is a really well written novel which explores motherhood with a compelling and thought provoking story.  The story centers on two women. Soli is a young undocumented immigrant who survives the atrocities of illegally crossing the border and finds herself pregnant. Kavya lives a comfortable married life in Berkeley, California and is desperate to be a mother after facing infertility. Soli is detained and Kavya and her husband become foster parents to the boy Ignacio. The author is able to sympathetically portray both sides as the two desperately fight for custody of the child.  Overall the story is exceptional in conveying the the gut wrenching emotions that come with being a parent and is an eye-opening portrayal of the plight of immigrants.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Books for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  This subject matter of this book is so timely.  It is a well written, emotional and heartfelt story about two mothers bound by a baby boy, with immigration issues as the backdrop.  Highly recommended..
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"If this is a story, it's one with no right ending."  Lucky Boy digs deeply into several hot button, sensitive topics - infertility, illegal immigration and the plight of undocumented parents and children, foster parenting, and what it means to be a family.  The book follows the harrowing journeys of two women - one fighting to finally become a mother and the other fighting to stay one.  

Solimar (Soli) is desperately trying to get to the US in order to find work.  There are no jobs in her rural town in Southern Mexico and her aging parents are struggling to support them all.  They scrape together enough to pay a coyote to smuggle her across the border, but when the coyote turns out to also be smuggling drugs, Soli runs.  She has to brave unspeakable things to get to the States, and when she arrives, she finds out she is pregnant.

Kavya is a happily married chef in her mid-thirties.  She has everything she's ever wanted...except a baby.  After several failed fertility treatments, she and her husband decide to pursue adoption through foster parenting with the California Child Welfare System.

The paths of these two women collide and neither of them will ever be the same.

The most impressive thing about this book is the author's ability to make you see both sides of the situation, and completely identify with each.  You can so easily see exactly where each woman is coming from - both of them are good people, with good hearts, and true motives, and they both love one little boy more than they ever knew was possible.  This book forces you to acknowledge all the angles of a heartbreaking situation, where there is no easy answer.  If forces you to see beyond the surface of our immigration system and past the label of 'undocumented'.  Lucky Boy is heartwrenching, hopeful, and unflinchingly brave.  I highly recommend it.
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"She'd learned the lesson that all women learn sooner or later. If there was something to be done, she'd have to do it herself."

"There is a beast in all of us. Only the worst things can bring it ripping through the human veneer."

This is one of the most powerful books I have read so far this year. While the title is "Lucky Boy," I'm not sure that anyone in this timely novel could be considered "lucky." 

Young and naive, Solimar (Soli) Castro-Valdez leaves Mexico on a wing and a prayer in hopes of a better life in California. She has only a vague understading of the system, and believes that a cousin who lives in the US will help her establish her new life. 

Before even reaching the border Soli meets with heartache and disaster, and, unknown to her at the time, a child in her womb. 

Simultaneously, author Shanthi Sekaran introduces the reader to an upwardly mobile Indian-American couple named Kavya and Rishi. Educated and talented, they are living the American Dream, except that they are struggling with infertility.

This heartbreaking book is told through alternate lenses: Soli's and Kavya/Rishi's as we see Soli give birth to a son, Ignacio; get arrested and held in a detention center for illegal aliens; and witness Ignacio go into the care of Kavya and Rishi.

This book stirred my emotions and has inspired me to learn more about the deportation process as well as the rights aliens have regarding their American-born children. 

4.5 stars (which I may end up rounding up to 5)

Thank you to G.P. Putnam's Sons and NetGalley for a galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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