Longing for independence, a young sheltered Kenyan woman flees the expectations of her mother for a life in New York City that challenges all her beliefs about race, love, and family.
“Readers will find a poignant, memorable voice they’ll feel lucky to have met.”—Harper’s Bazaar (Best Summer Beach Reads of 2023)
Soila is a lucky girl by anyone’s estimation. Raised by her stern, conservative mother and a chorus of aunts, she has lived a protected life in Nairobi. Soila is headstrong and outspoken, and she chafes against her mother’s strict rules. After a harrowing assault by a trusted family friend, she flees to New York for college, vowing never to return home.
New York in the 1990s is not what Soila imagined it would be. Instead of finding a golden land of opportunity, Soila is shocked by the entitlement of her wealthy American classmates and the poverty she sees in the streets. She befriends a Black American girl at school and witnesses the insidious racism her friend endures, forcing Soila to begin to acknowledge the legacy of slavery and the blind spots afforded by her Kenyan upbringing. When she falls in love with a free-spirited artist, a man her mother would never approve of, she must decide whether to honor her Kenyan identity and what she owes to her family, or to follow her heart and forge a life of her own design.
Lucky Girl is a fierce and tender debut about the lives and loves we choose—what it meant to be an African immigrant in America at the turn of the millennium, and how a young woman finds a place for herself in the world.