Lucky Boy is a timely and heartbreaking immigration story, and a masterful debut. There are two immigrant families at the heart of this accomplished novel. Young marrieds, Kavya and Rishi Reddy, are second generation Indian Americans who live in Berkeley and want to become parents. Their attempts to get pregnant have not been successful and they find themselves on the road to adoption.
Solimar (Soli) Castro-Valdez's story is one with which we are all too familiar. She traveled from central Mexico to Berkeley where her cousin helped her find a job and provides her with a way to begin her life as an illegal immigrant. When she finds herself pregnant, she incorporates her son into her new life as a nanny for a young family. When her life unravels, the interests of these two families intersect after Soli is detained and her son (Iggy) goes into foster care with the Reddys.
The collision course these two families are traveling toward is almost too terrifying to read. All three parents love Iggy unconditionally. There is no singular winner in this race to claim a beloved son. This is a current and important story of our time.
“Soli is an 18-year-old Mexican girl who enters the U.S. illegally and gives birth to a baby boy. Rashi and Kavya Reddy are an Indian-American couple in Berkeley who have unsuccessfully tried to have children. Their stories intersect when Soli is arrested and her baby is taken from her by Child Protective Services and given into foster care with the Reddys, who become attached to baby Ignacio and want to adopt him. Sekaran does a good job describing the trials and tribulations of illegal immigrants, and Soli's hope of regaining custody rings true. A compelling read that examines very topical parental rights and immigration issues.”
— Valerie Koehler (M), Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX
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 Henriquez, 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.
About the Author
Shanthi Sekaran teaches creative writing at California College of the Arts, and is a member of the San Francisco Writers' Grotto. She is the author of The Prayer Room and her work has appeared in the New York Times, Best New American Voices, and Canteen, as well as online at Zyzzyva and Mutha Magazine. A California native, she lives in Berkeley with her husband and two children. Lucky Boy is her second novel.