lucky boy book coverReviewed by Jessa Larsen

Solimar Castro-Valdez is eighteen years old and has the red, white, and blue stars in her eyes of the hope life in American has to offer her. Her father pays dearly to allow her passage on the potentially perilous journey across the Mexican border and into Berkeley, California. Soli finds both love and hardship along the way and eventually arrives at her cousin’s home. Unbeknownst at the time, and completely off the charted path, Soli discovers that she is pregnant and realizes that her son, Ignacio, can anchor her in this new land, giving her an identity and purpose in an otherwise invisible and aimless life.

Kavya Reddy has created a beautiful life and career for herself in Berkeley, but as her friends continue along their own paths of success, she begins to feel lost and hopeless. Her life quickly becomes a dark hopeless void when Rishi and Kavya continuously fail to become pregnant and start a family. But fate seems to have its own ideas about success when, shortly after the decision is made to foster and adopt, Soli is placed in immigrant detention and Ignacio becomes a part of the Reddy family. Kavya quickly adapts to the love of motherhood, and all seems well with the world again.

Known as “Nacho” to Soli and “Iggy” to Kavya, Ignacio experiences boundless love and devotion. Unfortunately, only time will tell as two mothers fight to keep their son and give him the best life possible. This is not your typical happy ending story. Shanthi truly tugs at your heart strings and creates empathy for each character. I felt for Soli, Kavya, Rishi and in some ways, even for Patel, Vikram, and Silvia. Soli’s story really makes you stop and think about the plight of immigrants and why they try so hard to come to America and make a new life here for themselves as well as for their families back home. Kavya and Rishi tell the tale of so many parents who want families and deal with the social service systems in order to give an otherwise lost child the love and care they deserve.

Lucky Boy is the first book in a long time that had me on the edge of my seat. I knew from the description on the back cover there had to be a baby involved which got me hooked for the first half. I thought the story would climax quickly and wind down into a comfortable solution. Boy was I wrong. I could not put this book down and spent many hours I could have been sleeping awake, turning pages to see where Soli, Kavya, and their Lucky Boy ended up in life.

Jessa lives in Utah with her husband, two kids, two small chihuahuas, and a cat called Number One Boots Kitten. She balances her work as a website admin with her hobbies of watching anime and playing video games.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by G.P. Putnam’s Sons. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.