A gripping tale of adventure and searing reality, Lucky Boy gives voice to two mothers bound together by their love for one lucky boy.
“Sekaran has written a page-turner that’s touching and all too real.”—People
“A fiercely compassionate story about the bonds and the bounds of motherhood and, ultimately, of love.”—Cristina Henríquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans
Eighteen years old and fizzing with optimism, Solimar Castro-Valdez embarks on a perilous journey across the Mexican border. Weeks later, she arrives in Berkeley, California, dazed by first love found then lost, and pregnant. This was not the plan. Undocumented and unmoored, Soli discovers that her son, Ignacio, can become her touchstone, and motherhood her identity in a world where she’s otherwise invisible.
Kavya Reddy has created a beautiful life in Berkeley, but then she can’t get pregnant and that beautiful life seems suddenly empty. When Soli is placed in immigrant detention and Ignacio comes under Kavya’s care, Kavya finally gets to be the singing, story-telling kind of mother she dreamed of being. But she builds her love on a fault line, her heart wrapped around someone else’s child.
“Nacho” to Soli, and “Iggy” to Kavya, the boy is steeped in love, but his destiny and that of his two mothers teeters between two worlds as Soli fights to get back to him. Lucky Boy is a moving and revelatory ode to the ever-changing borders of love.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
We can already tell that Lucky Boy will be one of our favorite novels of the year. Shanthi Sekaran’s debut has humongous heart—we were totally invested in the characters’ stories from page one. The tales of a poor Mexican teenager who risks it all to cross the border into California and a privileged but dissatisfied Indian-American woman who finds herself suddenly desperate to become a mother are wildly different, but Lucky Boy’s captivating plot brings them together. Sekaran has written a modern American classic about immigrants, mothers, daughters, and everyone who yearns for something bigger.
Sekaran's second novel (after The Prayer Room) humanizes the issue of illegal immigration. Born in a small, impoverished village in Mexico, teenage Soli makes the dangerous journey across the border to the U.S. and ends up in Berkeley, Calif., living with her cousin, Silvia, and working as housekeeper to the well-to-do Cassidy family. In a parallel story, Kavya Reddy and her techie husband, Rishi, frustrated at their inability to get pregnant, decide to adopt. Having become pregnant en route to the U.S., Soli gives birth to a little boy she nicknames Nacho. Arrested, she is sent to immigrant detention and Nacho is placed in foster care, where he eventually comes to the attention of Kavya and Rishi, who attempt to adopt the boy. But they find there is a steep learning curve in becoming instant parents. From her cell in Washington State, Soli fights the Reddys for custody of her son. With the odds stacked against her, she is left with no choice but to make a desperate bid for freedom for herself and her son. Sekaran has made sure to tell a story without obvious villains (except for government functionaries). Despite the unsurprising and drawn-out ending, Soli and Kavya are both given sympathetic treatment thanks to the textured rendering of their lives, and readers will be emotionally invested in Nacho's fate.
Ten stars out of five
There aren't adequate words to describe how powerful this story is. One I'll never forget.