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Blue Boy

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,233 ratings  ·  182 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 st
Paperback, 276 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by Kensington Publishing Corporation (first published January 1st 2009)
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3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,233 ratings  ·  182 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, queer) 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 simpl ...more
Larry H
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 22, 2014 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
So I really hated this one. I felt embarrassed reading it--it was like watching a really poor one-man show... the author did everything but write out "rimshot!" after all of his corny, self-aware jokes. And the main character was so unlikeable! I feel like in most fiction where the protagonist is beset by a cruel society he is at least noble, despite it all. It engenders sympathy. This character is certainly beset by some headwinds, but for all of his ostracism he makes fun of people with disabi ...more
Jul 02, 2014 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.
Mar 14, 2012 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.
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Just no.
I wanted so much more from this book than what I got. Kiran, just came off as a little snot... I have Satyal's latest work but eh, I'm in no rush to get to it now.
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
Oct 27, 2015 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
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read a physical copy of this book many years ago, and loved it so much that I kept lending it to people so they could read it. I never did get my copy back, and when I heard the author had a new book coming out, I decided to purchase the e-book version of this (since I've graduated to e-reading) so I could re-read it.

Boy, what a read. I laughed. I cried. I laughed some more. I highlighted so many lines in this book, so many quotes that I related to, and I had forgotten some of the more sad mom
Jon Forsyth
Dec 31, 2014 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
Dec 17, 2010 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
Samantha Davenport
Nov 13, 2012 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 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
Nick Daiker
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
I found it hard to read and relatively unenjoyable, as there is much description in this book that is completely unnecessary. I picked up the book as the back of it described an interesting character. Kiran absolutely was interesting, but it would have been great to have had some adult insight on his exotic nature... I don't think Kiran is gay, i think he is quite confused with his cultural norms conflicting with what he sees around him every day and does not feel comfortable talking to his pare ...more
Spider the Doof Warrior
Jul 14, 2010 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.
Dec 31, 2012 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
Brian Cowlishaw
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book made me laugh more than anything I've read this year. It's immensely appealing as a portrait of young adulthood, as an NRI story, and as a Bildungsroman. Highly recommended for all readers. Now I need to read this author's other novel immediately!
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
Thomas Marzella
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
wonderful fun read, sad and funny.
Feb 13, 2010 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
Aug 08, 2017 rated it liked it
I'd honestly give this 3.5 if I could. There are heartbreaking parts and funny parts and frustrating parts. Sometimes the author gets a little pompous with the verbiage but I could look past it. Great book for a book club because it makes you think and invites discussion.
Eric Klee
Feb 27, 2012 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 13, 2016 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
Apr 11, 2016 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
Mar 24, 2011 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
Jul 29, 2017 rated it liked it
The story of a gay Indian boy growing up in Ohio in the early 1990s strives for an comic absurdist tone akin to David Sedaris. And while there are many funny passages, the shtick gets tiresome quickly.
Mar 01, 2009 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
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Park ranger!?! 2 15 Feb 14, 2012 08:37AM  
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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
“Books are much better companions to me than people.” 7 likes
“I have discovered that we do not hold our sexuality but our sexuality holds us.” 5 likes
More quotes…