Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Lucky Boy” as Want to Read:
Lucky Boy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Lucky Boy

by
4.14  ·  Rating details ·  6,679 Ratings  ·  1,168 Reviews
A gripping tale of adventure and searing reality, Lucky Boy gives voice to two mothers bound together by their love for one lucky boy.

Solimar Castro Valdez is eighteen and drunk on 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.
...more
Hardcover, 472 pages
Published January 10th 2017 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Lucky Boy, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Shanthi Hi everyone! It's wonderful to hear from readers here. Thanks for reading and supporting my book. If you're interested in more interviews/essays, my…moreHi everyone! It's wonderful to hear from readers here. Thanks for reading and supporting my book. If you're interested in more interviews/essays, my website features a lot of them, and I try to keep it updated with my events and new interviews and articles. www.shanthisekaran.com Take care and happy reading!(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Diane S ☔
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
When I first started this I wasn't sure if this is one I would like. The writing was good so I continued and am so glad I did. This is a wonderful story, a devastating one and a timely one. Two women, one Soli, illegally in the US, went through so much to get here, not an easy trip. The second a young Indian woman, Kavya, who wants desperately to have a child. Married to Rishi, they have been trying without success. Two women, one little boy named Ignacio, who will steal your heart and wrap it a ...more
Angela M
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it

This really timely story is a heartbreaking one about an undocumented young woman, Soli, who takes risks for hopes of a better life, risks which were more dangerous than she ever imagined as she leaves her family in Mexico to make her way to the US. Soli's story is told in conjunction with the alternating narrative of a young couple of Indian descent, Kayva and Rishi who want desperately to have a child but are not successful in their attempts to conceive. They are ultimately connected by a baby
...more
Elyse
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Boy.....this is a timely - heartfelt book!!!!! Kudos to the author!!!

Kayvan had moved to Berkeley eighteen years earlier for college. She graduated,
traveled, became a chef, and married Rishi. After nine months of trying to get pregnant with no success -they were looking into adoption. Their plans took a detour when they became foster parents to a little boy - a toddler named Ignacio. They hoped to adopt him.

Solimar Castro Valdez makes plans to meet her cousin in Berkeley. She needs to make it
...more
Cathrine ☯️
Dec 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: net-galley
Update 3/4/17: Today in my local town 2 parents were deported to Mexico and were forced to leave their US born child here (thankfully with relatives). I have updated my original rating because though I was not in love with the style of storytelling, it nevertheless brings this sad state of affairs into the light and it's going to become a more prominent issue.
3★
Infertility, foster parenting, and undocumented immigration across the Mexican/US border are the focus of two stories that will connect
...more
Jill
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The heartbreaking journey of two women, bound by the love of a baby boy, was so NOT a book I wanted to read. It sounded like a potboiler romance…that is, until I actually started it and didn’t want to come up for air. The writing was so mesmerizing, the situation so poignant and the characters so authentic that I found myself staying up past my self-appointed bedtime to read “just another page.”

There are two key characters here: Kavya, daughter of Indian immigrants, who has always taken control
...more
Jennifer
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
"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
...more
Vikki
I felt such a wide range of emotions reading this book that it is hard for me to write a review that will make others understand why it meant so much to me but here we go... The two main characters in this book are woman who feel like they are not enough and desperately love the same child, and use their love for this child to get them through some very rough times. Soli left her small town in Mexico because she was the only one her age left and she felt like she could be more in America than sh ...more
switterbug (Betsey)
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: prizeworthy
If any readers are skeptical that vibrant, tingling, page-turning storytelling can also be literary, I’m convinced that LUCKY BOY could change your mind. Saturated with ethical questions about maternal love, privilege, boundaries, and the immigrant experience, the story tells itself without any authorial interference. Hard questions have no soft answers, and the reader, while adventuring through morally complex lines and barriers, will surely be exhilarated and full of empathy for all the primar ...more
Lisa
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
[3.9] This was a painful novel for me to read, given the recent headlines about children being ripped from their parents at our borders. I'm glad I persisted. It was well done and quite gripping. One quibble - for a 469-page sprawling novel, the ending felt too abrupt, especially Kavya's story.
Julie Christine
When I retrieved Lucky Boy from the holds shelf at the library, I groaned in dismay. It's the July read for my book club, but no one mentioned at our last meeting that it weighs in at nearly 500 pages. My mind went immediately to Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy, which I loved and is admittedly three times longer, but it took me weeks to wend my way through. I didn't have that kind of time or worse, the needed attention span.

Not to worry. Lucky Boy captured me in its opening pages and held me for t
...more
Ace
Jan 23, 2018 rated it liked it
3 stars

I have started this review 3 times now. I think there is just too much to say about this book as it tackles some heavy situations and emotional trauma is rife. Whether these situations were avoidable was a big question for me for most of the book. By the end, I stopped judging by my own standards and was engaged in the characters as the author intended them to be read, and of the decisions that they made.

Probably not the best written of the books I have read, but certainly engaging and m
...more
Rachel León
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, read-in-2017
Sekaran has woven a rich compelling story here. The novel juxtaposes two women's lives--one a middle class woman living in Berkeley, the other a poor undocumented immigrant. The latter leaves Mexico on a dangerous journey which leaves her pregnant with limited resources. Ultimately both women want the same things--the immigrant's baby. The story tackles several issues--immigration, rape, adoption, and foster care. I work in foster care so inauthenticity in such storylines is a true pet peeve of ...more
Rincey
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
3.5 stars
Marjorie
Dec 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written novel about motherhood. Kavya is an Indian American woman who is married to Rishi. Her deepest longing is to have a child. She feels she’s failed at so many things in life and this is something else that she has failed at as she’s been unable to have a child. She and her husband begin to talk about adopting. Soli is a young woman living in Mexico who longs for a better life. She manages to illegally immigrate to America but her high hopes fall apart when she learns ...more
Rachel Watkins
Sep 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Oh, my heart. LUCKY BOY is exactly the type of book that needs to be read and discussed given the ongoing global public conversation regarding immigration. Ignacio is indeed lucky to be loved so fiercely by his two mothers. Sekaran's debut is beautifully written. Highly recommend.
Carole
Apr 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked this story of Soli, a young girl who leaves Mexico for a better life in America. On her way she meets Checo, and ends up pregnant as she arrives in the States. Her cousin helps her find a job cleaning for a wealthy family in Berkeley CA. She delivers a baby boy named Ignacio Across town, a young couple are trying unsuccessfully to conceive. When Soli and her cousin are caught by immigration, baby Ignacio is sent to foster care. Rishi & Kavya bring the baby into their home and grow to ...more
madamereadsalot
Sep 19, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5
Trigger Warnings will follow towards the end, as they are quite spoilers. If you feel like you need TW's, definetly check them out, if you don't want to be spoiled though, don't read until the end.

This was one heavy read for me. It literally took me several months to finish. I only could read in small doses, because this book was really depressing me and also triggering some of my own insecurities. (About creating a family. Though my problems lie elsewhere, but some of the usual phrases by es
...more
Susanne Strong
My heart is broken. And many tears were shed.

Lucky Boy is a gut wrenching, soul searching novel by Shanthi Sekaran that keeps a tight grip on you and won't let go until long after you've read it.

This story is about two women: mothers, who love the same little boy. But only one can will be able to keep him when all is said and done. And who is to say what's fair, what's right or wrong, when a little boy's life and when love is at stake?

Soli is an illegal immigrant from Mexico and she is also t
...more
Lynne
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding writing about the disastrous state of our immigration system as told through the eyes of an immigrant. This was very thought provoking to me. Considering the title; I'm left wondering is it really so? Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.
L O R I L I N
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, fiction
Soli Valdez is eighteen and desperate to leave Mexico. Bored with the day-to-day monotony of her quiet existence, she’s ready for an adventure. So she makes a plan to meet up with her older cousin who lives in Berkeley, California. If she can just make it across the border, her cousin assures her there will be a job and a place to stay waiting for her.

Soli does make it to California, but not before enduring, well, a lot. When she finally arrives at Silvia’s doorstep, she is dirty, beaten, abused
...more
Barbara
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In writing this novel, author Shanthi Sekaram was inspired by a news report of an undocumented Guatemalan woman who was attempting to regain custody of her son who was being adopted by his foster parents. She was interested in the motivations of both parties; she wanted to understand both parties.

Sekaram is a first generation American whose parents were fortunate to find a workable way to live legally in the USA. The plight of undocumented immigrants are an interest to her; she sees her life as
...more
Gerard Villegas
This is one of those books that I couldn't put down. Lucky Boy is family saga involving two different woman of separate socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. The first is illegal Mexican immigrant Solimar "Soli" Castro who is pregnant and makes a harrowing journey across the California border and into the city of Berkley. The other is Kavya Reddy of Indian descent who struggles with infertility. Both their paths cross when Soli is jailed for fraud and illegal immigration leading for Kavya and ...more
Dorie
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is so timely with all of the immigration issues that our country is facing right now, this novel couldn’t have come out at a better time.

For me this book is personal in several ways. First of all my father was an immigrant from Mexico 70+ years ago when he had to have a sponsor and a job in this country and learn English to gain citizenship. He from Oaxaca city in Mexico and I just visited there 2 years ago.

One of my daughters has gone through 3 years of infertility work ups culminatin
...more
Kathleen
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
If John Gardner is to be believed, then there are only two plots in all of literature: "A person goes on a journey" and "A stranger comes to town." In her sweeping, deep and strikingly compassionate second novel, "Lucky Boy," Shanthi Sekaran weaves these two elemental narratives with emotionally arresting aplomb.

One of the novel's paired protagonists, 18-year-old Solimar Castro-Valdez, or Soli, bravely sets off on the fraught journey to cross the border from Mexico to the United States, only to
...more
Erin Glover
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: four-stars
That dark hole of infertility that brings a rollercoaster of emotions, makes couples question the meaning of life, threatens marriages, and brings then steals hope invades Kavya and Rishi’s lives. Of Indian descent, Kavya’s mother reminds her that adoption would dirty the bloodline.

As they struggle with their limited choices, they compare themselves to another Indian couple, Preeti Patel and Vikram Sen who also live in Berkeley, California. Preeti Patel is Kavya’s childhood friend and their par
...more
Megan Tristao
Ughhhh book hangover. I read more than 400 pages yesterday. Then I frantically tried to finish on the train this morning but had to slow down to savor the last few pages because I realized I didn't want it to end. This is one of my new go-to reading recommendations.

My review/blurb for the San Jose Public Library blog: "I'll admit I picked this book up because I loved the cover (yes, I totally judge books by their covers), but now I can't stop recommending it to everyone I know. This beautiful no
...more
Lynn
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of Ignacio, a little boy born to Soli, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico and being cared for in foster care by Kavya and Rishi, who are unable to have children of their own. All the adults love him deeply and want to raise him as best they can, which makes him a very lucky boy.
But Soli ends up in an immigration detention center facing eventual deportation, and Kavya and Rishi want to adopt Ignacio, who is a US citizen. They can offer him a good life in the US, but Soli is h
...more
Imogene Dacanay
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-reviewed
The moment Julia (from PRH International) introduced the book to us, I knew that Lucky Boy is not my cup of tea, but somehow I wanted to read something that is out of my comfort zone.

Thank you Penguin Random House International for giving me an opportunity to read and review Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran in exchange of an honest review.

Lucky Boy is one hell of a strikingly beautiful novel, wherein two main characters were introduced. Soli , am illegal immigrant from Mexico who got involved w
...more
Viv JM
4.5 stars

This feels like a very timely book, dealing as it does with issues of immigration in the United States. It tells the story of two different women, from very different socio-economic backgrounds. There is Soli, a young woman from Mexico, who risks all to cross the border into the United States. At the other end of the spectrum is American Kavya, the daughter of Indian parents, college-educated and comfortably well off. The first half of the book moves relatively slowly as we get to know
...more
Jody Sunderland
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An amazingly, well written novel, that will have you thinking about it long after you have read the last page. I couldn't put this book down and found myself thinking about it even when I wasn't reading it. Also as a mother, this book touched me on so many levels and found myself pulling for both mothers in the story. No matter what the outcome was , I think I would have questioned if this is really the best thing for the boy.

I loved this book and I definitely put it in my top 10 books read thi
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Tournament of Books: Lucky Boy 39 158 Feb 25, 2018 07:34PM  
182 followers
See www.shanthisekaran.com for more reviews, an audio reading, and more...
Shanthi Sekaran was born and raised in California, and now splits her time between Berkeley and London. A graduate of UC Berkeley and the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, she was first published in Best New American Voices 2004 (Harcourt). Her novel, The Prayer Room, will be released in February 2009. "
More about Shanthi Sekaran

Fiction Deals

  • Mercy Among the Children
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Darkness There: Selected Tales by Edgar Allan Poe [Kindle in Motion]
    $1.99 $0.99
  • An Empty Cup
    $3.99 $1.99
  • I Like You Just Fine When You're Not Around
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Abby's Journey
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Underground River
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Word Game
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Fraulein M.
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Sister of Mine
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Bury What We Cannot Take
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Chomp
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Searching for Grace Kelly
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Bricking It
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Fifth of March: A Story of the Boston Massacre (Great Episodes)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Starfish
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Thunder and Rain
    $9.99 $2.99
  • All Grown Up
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Light of Hidden Flowers
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Olive's Ocean
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Ecstasy
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Elephant Keeper's Daughter
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Virtues of Oxygen
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Home to Harmony (Harmony #1)
    $11.14 $1.99
  • Dog Crazy
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Towers of Tuscany
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Who We Were Before
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Reluctant Midwife (Hope River, #2)
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Sin No More (Reverend Curtis Black)
    $10.39 $1.99
  • The List
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Lost & Found
    $5.74 $1.99
  • A Watershed Year
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Savage
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Designer
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Novice: A Story of True Love
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Go Away Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Leaving of Things
    $4.49 $1.99
  • Train I Ride
    $6.99 $1.99
  • We'll Always Have Paris: Stories
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Hidden Flower
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Greyhound
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances
    $9.99 $1.99
  • This Burns My Heart
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Journeys of Socrates
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Annie on My Mind
    $9.99 $1.20
  • An Absent Mind
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Book of Ruth
    $18.99 $1.99
  • Smoke
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Sisterhood of Blackberry Corner
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Covenant
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Digging In
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Confessions of Catherine de Medici
    $11.99 $12.99
  • The Traveling Vampire Show
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Long Way Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Going Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Girl in the Glass
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Super Sad True Love Story
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Prayers and Lies
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Go the F**k to Sleep
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Fat Chance
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Just a Couple of Days
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Boleyn Inheritance (The Tudor Court, #3)
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Daughter of Union County
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Fighting Ground
    $6.49 $1.99
  • The Sugar Men
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Last Storyteller: A Novel Of Ireland
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Vengeance Road
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Every Note Played
    $11.99 $3.99
  • Asymmetry
    $13.99 $3.99
  • The Rules of Magic
    $11.99 $4.99
  • Mrs. Fletcher
    $12.99 $3.99
  • The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go
    $11.99 $3.99
  • Ungifted
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Julie of the Wolves
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Mrs. Saint and the Defectives
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Stiltsville: A Novel
    $10.99 $1.99
  • To the Bright Edge of the World
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Patriots
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Flicker of Old Dreams
    $9.99 $1.99
  • All the Good Parts
    $3.99 $1.99
  • At Risk
    $17.99 $1.99
  • A Scattered Life
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Every Ugly Word
    $3.99 $1.99
  • A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Desert God (Ancient Egypt, #5)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy (Bloody Jack, #1)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds (Malayan #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • An Amish Buggy Ride
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Old Yeller
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Secret Healer (The Secret Healer #1)
    $3.49 $0.99
  • Elizabeth Street
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Gates of Rome (Emperor, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Unkillable Kitty O'Kane
    $4.99 $1.99
  • It Is Well
    $4.99 $1.99
  • A Sinful Calling (Reverend Curtis Black #13)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • On a Cold Dark Sea
    $4.99 $1.99
  • My Lady Viper (Tales from the Tudor Court #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Kings of Broken Things
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Edward Adrift
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Restaurant Critic's Wife
    $3.99 $1.99
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“And good intentions? These scared him the most: people with good intentions tended not to question themselves. And people who didn't question themselves, in the scientific world and beyond, were the ones to watch out for.” 3 likes
“Sometimes the things that happen can be changed. Sometimes they cannot. Which time is this?” 3 likes
More quotes…