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Publisher's Summary

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 18 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, California, dazed by first love found then lost - and pregnant. This was not the plan. But amid the uncertainty of new motherhood and her American identity, Soli learns that when you have just one precious possession, you guard it with your life. For Soli, motherhood becomes her dwelling and the boy at her breast her hearth.

Kavya Reddy has always followed her heart, much to her parents' chagrin. A mostly contented chef at a UC Berkeley sorority house, the unexpected desire to have a child descends like a cyclone in Kavya's mid-30s. When she can't get pregnant, this desire will test her marriage, it will test her sanity, and it will set Kavya and her husband, Rishi, on a collision course with Soli when she is detained and her infant son comes under Kavya's care. As Kavya learns to be a mother - the singing, storytelling, inventor-of-the-universe kind of mother she fantasized about being - she builds her love on a fault line, her heart wrapped around someone else's child.

Lucky Boy is an emotional journey that will leave you certain of the redemptive beauty of this world. There are no bad guys in this story, no obvious hero. From rural Oaxaca to Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto to the dreamscapes of Silicon Valley, author Shanthi Sekaran has taken real life and applied it to fiction; the results are moving and revelatory.

©2017 Shanthi Sekaran (P)2017 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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Timely plot, but just average writing

Like other reviewers, I felt that the plot of Lucky Boy was timely, but for me the telling of it was just average in the hands of this author. Solimar Valdez embarks on a dangerous and violent journey from Mexico to the United States in hopes of a better life, even though she will be undocumented. She arrives at her cousin's house in California, unexpectedly pregnant, finds a job as a nanny, and gives birth to her son, Ignacio. Kavya and Rishi, a young Indian couple, want to be parents but are unable to conceive. When Soli is arrested as an illegal immigrant, Kavya and Rishi become foster parents to her son Ignacio, and the story unfolds.

This book was interesting because it presented the protagonists' stories, with no easily identifiable good guys or bad guys among the main characters. Some of the descriptions of Soli's incarceration in the detention center are truly harrowing, and it's easy to understand her need and intense desire to be reunited with her son. I had a tougher time accepting the depth of Kavya and Rishi's desires to truly become parents as they were not characterized as well. They seemed too frivolous too often. At times the writing was overwrought and melodramatic, which was unnecessary in a story with plenty of its own innate drama. I kept reading to learn Ignacio's fate, but that was the only reason I finished the book.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Vaidehi
  • Winnetka, IL, United States
  • 04-15-17

Lucky Boy - An Epic immigrant struggle in America.

Beautifully written! Wonderfully narrated, both the Mexican voices and the Indian voices. It was hard to put it down. Shanti Sekaran is a very talented writer.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Heartbreaking and heartwarming

Loved every second of the audiobook even though at times it broke my heart. The characters were unforgettable and the issues brought up with this story give it even more depth.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Magnificent

As a voracious reader for over 60 years, and a former foster child, I was interested in the premise of the story so I decided to listen. Turns out this was one of the best books I have ever read/listened to, and I'm sure I will listen/read it again and again though I never do that. I will also read/listen everything Sekaran has written and everything that Nankani and Ortega have narrated. This audiobook and its written version are a tribute to love and a gift to the listener/reader just when we need it most.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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fantastic performance

the two women narrators are extremely talented and really bring the characters to life. highly recommend this book!

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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heartbreaking & beautiful

You don't know who to root for. That's for sure. It's beautifully written! it's exciting, sad, wonderful... full of feels!

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  • Diver
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 09-20-17

Loved it

Very moving book, you can really feel the emotion of the characters and their need for love ultimately.

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Thought-provoking

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, this book is not only entertaining, but is very topical...really makes you think.

What does Soneela Nankani and Roxana Ortega bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Fabulous narration by both of them. They bring the story to life.

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  • Tim
  • United States
  • 06-29-17

Listened to My Friends

I was asking my friends on what they were reading because I tend not to read novels that are popular and they suggested that I should give "Lucky Boy" a try. I never take my friends' recommendations too seriously because their genre is not really my cup of milk. They tend to sip on their glass, while I force liquids down in my throat until it burns. If that analogy doesn't make sense for any of you that is reading this review than I have poor choice of words. Basically, I don't read what my friends' reads and vise versa, but yet we are still friends in our book club.

Back to of what I thought about Shanthi Sekaran and her novel. At first glance at the cover, I was a bit hesitated to buy the audiobook because it wasn't so appealing to me. I just bite the bullet and bought the book without reading the plot or reading other reviews. I was hooked during the first minute that I pushed played and couldn't wait to get into the book more. I actually thought about calling out for a day and just charging through the book, but I have bills to pay and not sick.

Shanthi Sekaran is a good writer. I really enjoyed her narrative between the undocumented mother who got caught by the INS and fighting for her legally born U.S. child and the foster parents and their bond with the boy. The two prospective are very different from each other, but yet very similar because of the lucky boy. I'm not going to spoil the ending for you because I'm not the type who likes to rant on, but this story is very relevant to our time, especially right now.

Shanthi Sekaran is very natural at giving both sides of who should be the legal guardian for the boy. I liked her style because I was emotionally invested in this book, but the novel wasn't overwhelming with sappy and sob stories.

A good recommendation from my friends.

Thanks!

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Powerful story of motherhood

This was a powerful story about motherhood from multiple viewpoints. This book was a bit slow for me to latch on to but once I did, it was difficult to put down.

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  • R. Horrocks
  • 01-22-17

A beautiful, moving yet challenging tale

So many emotions in one story: motherhood, love, determination, fear, pain. Such a timely novel to enjoy and prompt thought.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jenni Reynolds
  • 05-02-17

A very moving book. Well written.

Well narrated. Explores the themes of immigration and motherhood with deep understanding. Couldn't stop listening.