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Blue Boy

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  823 ratings  ·  141 reviews
Meet Kiran Sharma: lover of music, dance, and all things sensual;son of immigrants, social outcast, spiritual seeker. A boy who doesn't quite understand his lot--until he realizes he's a god. . . As an only son, Kiran has obligations--to excel in his studies, to honor the deities, to find a nice Indian girl, and, above all, to make his mother and father proud--standard stu ...more
Paperback, 276 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by Kensington (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

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rakesh satyal has written a brilliant, delightful, heartbreaking/heart-lifting story of the coming of age of a 12-year-old queer indian-ohioan (second generation: the parents immigrated to the US as adults) boy. kiran is a beautifully drawn character. original, thoughtful, playful and super-smart, he deals with his difference (racial, sexual) and his status as an outcast with the aplomb, dignity, and life-joy of someone with tremendous faith in his vision of himself. in this vision kiran is simp ...more
Feb 14, 2010 Serena rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: NO ONE
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gina (My Precious Blog)
I've signed up to receive an email alert for Kindle Freebies from Advanced Kindle Alert website. This book was one of the first books I was lead to by this site. The subject nature was different from what I might normally read. It was free so I figured I didn't have much to lose. So, I pushed "Download to My Kindle" and didn't look back.

The narrator of this book is Kiran, a 12 year old Indian boy, growing up in Ohio who just doesn't seem to fit in anywhere. Boys his age have always caused him to
Blue Boy is a beautifully written, bittersweet story about an Indian-American adolescent growing up in Ohio, discovering how different he is from everyone around him. I was drawn to this book because the name of the main character, Kiran, is similar to the name of one of my sons (Kieran).

Kiran is a highly artistic, creative, and spiritual child. He is drawn to pink, dressing up, makeup, Strawberry Shortcake, and the finer things in life. He has an amazing sense of self in spite of the ridicule
The style is good, but Kiran is not at all believable. Perhaps if it had been told by an older Kiran looking back on his twelve-year-old self, I would have found it more realistic. But as it is, Kiran is at once remarkably knowledgeable about many things, yet almost incredibly naive for an American sixth grader, whether of Indian descent or not.
Jon Forsyth
“Sometimes we are so consumed by the flame, burning so painfully in its heat, that we can’t see the utter gorgeousness of the fire.” This final line of Rakesh Satyal’s shimmering coming of age story, Blue Boy, captures the experience of reading the book in beautiful shorthand. The book chronicles the life of twelve-year-old Kirtan as he struggles with his Indian-American identity, gender expression, and burgeoning sexuality. In some ways the book is an odd mix of genres; at times it feels like a ...more
Samantha Davenport
It started off well and I bonded with the whole family.

In the middle I thought things were heavy-handed: I didn't think he needed makeup AND dolls AND ballet AND supplements AND migraines before the godhead thing. I also thought the Country Crock bit was gratuitous and the Penthouse scene contrived.

Despite that though, the book really grew on me. The family and community painted around our protagonist are every bit as integral to the story as he is, particularly the quietly complicit mother. I
At the beginning of Rakesh Satyal's debut novel Blue Boy, Kiran Sharma gets a big splinter in his butt while being tormented on a wooden balance beam by two of his bitchy sixth-grade classmates. Things still don't get notably easier for him after his humiliating foray into the playground -- it's not easy being an Indian-American in a white-bread Ohio suburb, and things aren't made easier for 12-year-old Kiran by his quirky personality, unusual interests (ballet, for one, as well as Strawberry Sh ...more
Jan 06, 2013 Karen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Karen by: Kim
Who'd have guessed that a novel from the perspective of a smart, artistic, and flamboyant sixth-grade boy could cover so much emotional ground? Kiran--the only child of immigrant Indian parents--struggles with acceptance and a sense of belonging at public school, in his Hindu temple, and at home. How he grapples with the people and situations (and with his sense of self) is in turns funny, heartwarming, and surprising. An insightful book that reminds us how difficult--and ultimately liberating-- ...more
What a fun book - well written, great story, predictable but touching ending. This is a coming of age gay boy story told in the context of an Indian boy growing up in Ohio as an only child (a genre of GLBT literature that continues to grow and disappear into the land of out-of-print). I could use this book in that slot for my gay literature class. Rakesh Satyal establishes a wonderful ironic and self reflective tone for his protagonist, and a sweet representation of his doting mother and distant ...more
Synesthesia (SPIDERS!)
I really like Kiran. He's a great kid. He likes dolls better than sports. He is awakening to his sexuality at the age of 12, so it's a bit uncomfortable. I never even thought of such things until I was 20. He is different and he just wants to keep his light shining even if his peers don't approve and tease him. Even if it makes his parents angry and frustrated that he tries on makeup.

This is a good book about finding yourself, acceptance with a bit of Indian culture and spirituality thrown in.
The potential within this book was both amazing and heart-breaking. It has all the ingredients of a fantastic novel – quirky characters, a balance of what is culturally familiar and unfamiliar to Americans and Indians, boldness to deal with mature subject matter, and so on – but Satyal simply failed to create a masterpiece. At best, Blue Boy was cute. As worst, however, it was boring, drawn-out, and ultimately dissatisfying.

Before I tear this novel apart, I will share one thing that I found ref
I wanted to like Kiran, but it turns out there's a reason why everyone loathes him. He's a dirty little voyeuristic, school-burning-down, tattle-taling shit. Even still, I was pulling for him in the end, hoping his parents would come through for him and give him the kind of support he needed to get through his socially awkward, self-realizing phase.
Blue Boy is a Beautiful Experiment. It is the first book that I have had the privilege to Read related to Gender-Identity and it is satisfying at the least.
One of the few things mildly negative with the book is that the content became too complex with the protagonist being a NRI(non residential Indian) and a unique(in a good way) character. Now I'm not an expert , I say this as a Indian guy living in India. the book just sort of felt inaccessible with the extended explanations of customs and ter
Emily Dangler
This book was a required reading for an Asian American literature course that I took last semester. I thought it might be a total bore (as some required reading tends to be), but I was completely wrong. Honestly, this has become one of my favorite books!

Young Kiran isn't exactly what his traditionally-minded Indian parents expect him to be: he likes makeup and pretty clothes, and his best friend is a Strawberry Shortcake doll. As Kiran struggles to find his place in his parents' world, as well m
This book has received many (much-deserved) acclaim as gay literature, Asian-American literature, Indian-American literature, but the piece that kept resonating with me was the broader coming-of-age story. Clearly Kiran's gender and ethnic identities heavily influence how his narrative unfolds, but there's something in his story that any creative misfit child of the 90s can grab onto. Maybe I'm just swept away by all the references to Strawberry Shortcake and The Babysitters' Club, but I felt li ...more
Eric Klee
Kiran is your average boy...who likes to play with Strawberry Shortcake dolls and wear his mother's make-up. BLUE BOY is told from Kiran's perspective. He's a pre-adolescent boy who doesn't have any friends and is looked upon as "weird" in school because of his predisposition to be more feminine than masculine. In addition to the normal school woes of a boy his age, he has to deal with living in Ohio, his family, his Indian culture, and their religion as challenges to being himself.

The novel fo
Dec 21, 2010 Kooheli rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kooheli by: Found it on the library shelf!
This book was, on so many levels, a surprise to me - and a delightful one at that. As Satyal acknowledges in the Q&A at the end, South Asian American fiction has covered ground from magical realism to historical fiction to contemporary diaspora fiction, but it has rarely chosen to take itself lightheartedly. Some of Rushdie's work is supremely funny - Haroun & the Sea of Stories comes to mind at once - but the framework is somber and intent on the delivery of messages. Here, Satyal manag ...more
Pia Veleno
Okay, done. It sounded like it had such promise, but I'm not a fan of the narrator's storytelling voice.

(DNF at 15% so no review or rating other than a comment on dialogue, because I found it interesting that I didn't see it mentioned in other reviews.)

The dialogue, with words spelled as the author must imagine they sound, ruined those scenes as I had to guess at what was being said. I tried reading the dialogue out loud to understand the weird spelling, but when I did, it remind me of Dracula
Larry Hoffer
Kiran is a sixth-grade student who knows he's different from his fellow classmates, but in his mind, different is better. He's intrigued by his mother's makeup drawer, takes ballet class instead of basketball, is tremendously focused on his schoolwork and is determined to show everyone how amazing he is at this year's talent show. But all of the things that make Kiran who he is cause him to be ostracized by his peers, which he just doesn't understand.

Blue Boy is an extremely entertaining, heart
Steve Woods
This is a really beautiful book. I traces the unfolding realisation of his sexuality for a 12 year old Indian boy who already sees himself as an outsider. It traces his courageous efforts to maintain his own sense of spiritual integrity in the face of the denial of that very thing by his parents, the Indian kids who are part of his community and the American kids who place him with the outcasts.

Kiran is highly intelligent and as his name implies full of "light". His flamboyance and sensitivity i
Amira Soltani
Amira Soltani
Blue Boy Review by Amira Soltani
In the fictional coming of age novel Blue Boy, author Rakesh Satyal writes about a twelve year old gay Indian American named Kiran Sharma. Kiran is a social outcast not only because of his ethnicity but also because of his “girlish” ways. Kiran's parents want him to be successful, find a nice Indian girl, and to make them proud. The protagonist struggles to find himself among the crowd and turns to the blue Hindu God Krishna, whom he identifie
A first generation Indian Hindi boy living in an Ohio suburb, Kiran knows he’s very different from his American classmates and he is also very different from the Indians he goes to temple and parties with on the weekends.

Kiran is a sixth grader and he intends for the school talent show to do a tribute to Krishna. He will wear his mother’s blue eye shadow, has learned to play the recorder, will dance and sing and has designed a wild costume made from one of his mother’s saris all to a Whitney Ho
R. Satyal knows the recipe for a great read: A cup of butter. A scoop of sequins. A heavy dose of adolescent identity searching & sexuality. A bundle of culture and spirituality. Not overseasoned with pretty words but still flavored with literary mastership (thanks to Princeton), and most of all, biting humor.

Some of my own favorites taken totally out of context, but it doesn't represent the style of the entire book.

. “I’ve been creating my own whimsy—or at least my heart has—and that whimsy
Sep 10, 2012 April rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Ages 22-30, anyone who didn't quite "fit in" as a child
I LOVE THIS BOOK AND I WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW IT. Best book I have read in a long, long while. Heartwarming, humorous and impeccably written, Blue Boy chronicles the life of Kiran Sharma, a twelve year-old boy who defies the mainstream in all of his social circles (school, South Asian social network). Despite relentless "push-back" from peers and family that admonish him for being "different," Kiran is determined to be true to himself.

This book is life-affirming, inspiring and completely heartfel
Kelly  Schuknecht
I was lucky to find this book on the list of Top 100 Free Kindle eBooks a few weeks ago. I didn't really know what it was about, but it had a nice cover, so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm glad I did.

The story is about an Indian boy, Kiran, who is going through some of the normal pre-teen growing pains that we all remember, such as bullying, friendships and discovering sexuality. But Kiran has another set of hurdles to face as he learns how he is different from the other kids at school when it
I loved this book. It is a work of fiction, but the author Rakesh Setyal infuses it with the truth of his own childhood. The hero is an Indian boy growing up in Cinncinati with his traditional immigrant parents. He does not fit anybody's idea of what a good Indian male child should be and also sticks out like a sore thumb at school, where he is the only Indian student. It doesn't help that he likes to play with dolls, put on make-up and dance around in ballet shoes. It was especially interesting ...more
This is a fabulous book. The main character is delightful and awkward and hilarious and so authentic his seemingly odd little perspective on the world.
He's caught between his Indian immigrant/Hindu temple community and his central Ohioan middle school community and not able to express his developing queer and artistic identities easily in either of these places. His emerging identity doesn't fit into any of the little boxes the people around him would like, but he's so dear and earnest he's bee
There are some wonderfully detailed scenes in this novel. Kiran's life is drastically different than mine in some ways, and so much like mine in others. I was him but without the nerve. I felt myself comparing notes with him, wanting to figure out how he could persevere in the realms of family, school, and ethnicity, which in different ways impose a great deal of homogeneity.

While I believe most everything that happened to him is possible, the events in the last 40-ish pages don't ring true. He
Who doesn't have a soft spot in their heart for the little gay boy who loves the talent show and Strawberry Shortcake? Especially when he is a little gay, first generation American with traditional Punjab parents? This one made me laugh out loud over and over again. Satyal's image of this little boy reminded me of the one in the film "Ma Vie en Rose" - they know that they are different but it seems normal in their eyes. They like to play with dolls, put on makeup, sing out loud, perform songs us ...more
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