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Blue Boy

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  1,002 Ratings  ·  160 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 stuff fo

Paperback, 276 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by Kensington (first published January 1st 2009)
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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 did not like it
Recommends it for: NO ONE
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 22, 2015 Shawn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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.
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
Mar 25, 2014 Joanna rated it it was ok
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
Oct 27, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Satyal gives us an idealistic, quixotic star of the show and a thoughtful, sweet yet heartbreaking story with Blue Boy. Young Kiran Sharma loves all things glittery, musical, and dramatic. He secretly keeps a Barbie under his bed, loves ballet, and takes the annual school talent show more seriously than absolutely necessary. In the not-so-gender fluid days of the 1990s, this is difficult enough to make Kiran a bit of an outcast. To further complicate his young life, he is part of an Indian-Ameri ...more
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
Jun 05, 2015 Brandy rated it liked it
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.
Jon Forsyth
Dec 31, 2014 Jon Forsyth rated it really liked it
“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
Nov 13, 2012 Samantha Davenport rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
Jun 07, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, underrated
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
I really couldn't stand this book, I gave up about 50 pages in. The narrator is both disturbingly precocious and woefully naïve. He sounds like a overly poetic 45 year old man trapped in a 6th grader's body. Consider this passage:

"How to explain the universal intrigue of a tit?
There is something ever-calming about the roundness of a tit, its buoyancy, the peacefulness of the concentric circle in its middle, darker. The posturing of a tit can vary so greatly, and yet the allure of it never dissi
Spider the Doof Warrior
Aug 14, 2013 Spider the Doof Warrior rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 06, 2013 Karen rated it it was amazing
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
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
Brian Centrone
Nov 29, 2016 Brian Centrone rated it it was amazing
An outstanding book. One of my favorites. I loved this book!
Jul 28, 2010 Queen rated it it was amazing
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
Eric Klee
Mar 12, 2012 Eric Klee rated it liked it
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
Jan 21, 2016 Jim rated it it was amazing
Kiran Sharma—the complex, precocious, brazen, stubborn, adventurous, and decidedly “different” 12 year-old Indian-American protagonist—is convinced that he is the Hindu god Krishna come to life. As a culturally and sexually marginalized boy living in the Cincinnati suburbs during the 1990s, persuading himself that no one seems to understand him because he is, in fact, a deity becomes both a coping mechanism and a means of identity development for the charming and infuriating main character of Ra ...more
Dec 21, 2010 Kooheli rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 14, 2016 Rucha rated it liked it
The book takes a peek into the life of a preteen boy discovering his sexuality, and talks about how difficult it can be for a child due to cultural, or family situations to be who he or she really is. I commend the author on picking up such a delicate subject and handling it well.
However, I would not recommend this book as a good novel to anyone. One of the biggest inconsistencies I noticed is the writer frequently switches between the innocence and nativity of a preteen boy Kiran (the hero of t
Apr 27, 2011 Katie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contemporary-lit
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
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
May 07, 2016 Rachel rated it liked it
The story of only child Kiran as he figures out who he is - son of immigrants, vibrant artist, smart child. Kiran doesn't fit in with the other Indian children, but neither does he fit in with the kids at his school - and maybe none of that matters if he is the god he believes he is.

First thoughts: This book has so much description - I could picture everything in each scene, down to the feelings in the air and on people's faces. It took me a bit to get used to the completeness and I had to rerea
Nov 30, 2010 Martin rated it really liked it
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
Steve Woods
May 30, 2013 Steve Woods rated it really liked it
Shelves: gay-fiction
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
Emily Dangler
Aug 05, 2013 Emily Dangler rated it it was amazing
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
Kelly  Schuknecht
Jun 10, 2011 Kelly Schuknecht rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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
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
Aug 26, 2010 Chrisiant rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, queer, asia
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
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RAKESH SATYAL is the author of the novel Blue Boy, which won a 2010 Lambda Literary Award and the 2010 Prose/Poetry Award from the Association of Asian American Studies and which was a finalist for the Publishing Triangle's Edmund White Debut Fiction Award. Satyal was a recipient of a 2010 Fellowship in Fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts and two fellowships from the Norman Mailer Wr ...more
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“Books are much better companions to me than people.” 6 likes
“I have discovered that we do not hold our sexuality but our sexuality holds us.” 5 likes
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