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Blue Boy Paperback – May 1, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Satyal's lovely coming-of-age debut charts an Indian-American boy's transformation from mere mortal to Krishnaji, the blue-skinned Hindu deity. Twelve-year-old Kiran Sharma's a bit of an outcast: he likes ballet and playing with his mother's makeup. He also reveres his Indian heritage and convinces himself that the reason he's having trouble fitting in is because he's actually the 10th reincarnation of Krishnaji. He plans to come out to the world at the 1992 Martin Van Buren Elementary School talent show, and much of the book revels in his comical preparations as he creates his costume, plays the flute and practices his dance moves to a Whitney Houston song. But as the performance approaches, something strange happens: Kiran's skin begins to turn blue. Satyal writes with a graceful ease, finding new humor in common awkward pre-teen moments and giving readers a delightful and lively young protagonist. (May)
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"The best fiction reminds us that humanity is much, much larger than our personal world, our own little reality. Blue Boy shows us a world too funny and sad and sweet to bebased on anything but the truth." ----Chuck Palahniuk New York Times Bestselling Author

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation; 1 Original edition (May 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0758231369
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758231369
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #573,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
By all appearances, Kiran Sharma is a good little boy. The 12 year old son of hardworking, religious immigrant parents who immigrated to the US from India, Kiran is an "A" student in most subjects, is quiet and respectful, attends religious services, and is a favorite among many of his teachers. He is also a loner, the only Indian student in his school, likes to play with dolls, has been known to experiment with his mother's makeup, and - when he stumbles on naked teenagers making out in a park - finds he is far more attracted to the young man than the girl. Not really sure what all that means, and nobody to confide in, Kiran feels isolated and different from his classmates and even the children of others of his faith. But a revelation about one of the Hindu gods, Krishna, who was also rather flamboyant, into music and acting out, and - with blue skin - obviously very different from everyone else, gives young Kiran hope, and he decides to emulate Krishna as much as possible, in his own life as well as portraying him in an upcoming class talent show.

"Blue Boy" is a sweet, captivating original story of a boy trying to make the best of a life his classmates tease him about, and to take strength from his beliefs and his parents' apprehensions about him. Alternately touching, sad and humorous, this is a coming-of-age novel of discovery and self-acceptance that anyone who has ever felt different can take to heart, and root for young Kiran as he strives to be the person he knows he can be. I give the book four finger-cymbal-clanging stars out of five.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First, in the interest of honesty, I must say straight out that Rakesh Satyal is my editor. If I hadn't liked Blue Boy I simply would not review it; but since I did like it, I don't see any harm in saying so, and why.

Blue Boy is what is often called a "coming of age" story, about a boy's recognition and acceptance of his homosexuality. But this book, like the best of these, is so much more than that. Everyone who knows Satyal or works with him uses the same word to describe him: "brilliant." And this characterization is what distinguishes Blue Boy from so many similar stories. Satyal's voice is witty, sharp, somewhat cruel--the marks of a, dare I say it?--very masculine style.

Satyal has achieved what he set out to do, as explained in his Q&A at the end of the book: write a "humorous" and "playful" account of growing up Indian (Punjabi)-American in Middle America (Cincinnati). The scenes in which Kiran, the protagonist, discovers the escalating pleasures of pornographic magazines, are hilarious, speaking to everyone, of any gender or sexual orientation, who has gone through this essential rite of passage. And the payoff, a puncturing of a lyrical, misty embrace of sensuality, with an honest, coarse and pithy sentence, is, well, brilliant.

The hardest thing for a humorist to bring off is depicting serious emotion without spoiling the mood or sinking into sentimentality. Satyal manages this in an episode that truly made this reader laugh through her tears: the story of Kiran's dolls, Strawberry Shortcake and her sidekick, Blueberry Muffin. Anyone who's ever played with dolls knows there is a hierarchy. It's the acolyte, Blueberry, who meets a terrible fate, the incident made achingly poignant as Kiran acknowledges the sacrifice of the less valued one.
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By mac on September 26, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Blue Boy is, in some ways, a typical story of a young boy struggling to figure out who he is. He fits nowhere. He is of Indian parentage- adrift in Ohio. He is Hindu- again, in Ohio. His public school classmates are white and no more and no less cruel than children of 12 or 13 can be (which is certainly cruel enough for someone who is- and who perceives himself as- different). He does not fit in at home, where he spends time dancing, playing with dolls and using his mother's makeup. He does not easily fit in with the other Hindu children whom he sees weekly, either; he is outspoken, and it only points up his isolation.
Kiran is bright, artistic, a bit smug, and very lonely. When the child begins to see himself as turning blue, he rationalizes a new identity for himself.
The novel is quick reading, and both funny and agonizing. Kiran observes teens engaging in impersonal sex in the park, and this only serves to compound his uncertainty about himself. The resolution is a bit pat, but the struggle is very real as the boy works to come to terms with who he is.
The novel provides an unusual perspective on the Hindu religion as a child sees it, and insight into the life of a boy who is alone in the midst of people.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I don't think I've ever been compelled to review a book on Amazon before, but this was such a good story I feel the need to share. I downloaded it free for Kindle a couple of weeks ago and I'm very glad that I did!

Blue Boy takes place over the span of a few months in the life of 12 year old Kiran Sharma, a 1st generation Indian boy living in Ohio who is growing up quickly and coming to terms with why he is so different from his classmates, who shun him. Kiran is a very bright, perceptive, funny character and once I was a few pages in I didn't want to stop reading. Kiran is stuck in that place between being a child and being a grown-up that I think everyone remembers as being complicated, and even painful at times. Kiran's desire for his parents' approval is sweet and sad. His only friend is his language teacher. He understands that he is different from his classmates, not only because of his skin but other, less tangible, reasons that he only starts to understand towards the middle/end of the book. This quote really struck me and sums up his loneliness perfectly: "There are so many unique qualities about me that I can't be put into one category. It reminds me of Venn diagrams, which Mrs. Nevins taught us about-those intersecting circles that represent different groups; when they overlap, the area that they both contain is something that they have in common. What happens when you are represented by so many circles that the area you take up is so minuscule no one else could possibly fit into it?"

At times the childish thought process was, for me, laugh out loud funny (or at least giggle), as when Kiran makes a list of qualities that define the Hindu god Krishna, whom he believes he is the 10th incarnation of (1.) Blue skin; 2.) Show-off; 3.) Flutist; 4.) Butter eater; 5.
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