Published by HarperTeen on August 11, 2020
Genres: Diversity, Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, Own Voices, Young Adult
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If the night sky holds many secrets, it holds Sheetal Mistry's secret the closest. A secret that explains why her hair is the silver of starlight, or why some nights the stars call Sheetal by name.
Stars like her mother, who returned to her place in the constellation Pushya years ago. Since that day, Sheetal has been forced to hide.
But as her seventeenth birthday draws near, the pull from the sky is growing stronger. So strong that Sheetal loses control, and a flare of starfire burns her human father—an injury only a full star's blood can heal.
Sheetal has no choice but to answer the starsong and ascend to the sky. But her celestial family has summoned her for a reason: to act as their human champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of heavens.
Desperate to save her father, Sheetal agrees. But nothing could have prepared Sheetal to face the stars' dark history—or the forces that are working to shut the gate between the realms for good.
What an absolutely stunning cover! That’s what initially drew me in to Star Daughter, but when I heard it featured actual star beings based off Hindu mythology, I had to pick it up.
Things I Liked About Star Daughter
- The concept is so unique, unlike anything I’ve read before. Sheetal is half-star, half-human, with the power to inspire others like a muse.
- Own voices hindu-mythology and desi influences, from the food, to the mythology and the family traditions and bonds.
- The star realm that she visits to find her mother and to compete in a talent competition was so beautiful & ethereal – the Night market evoked such stunning imagery.
- The positive relationship between Sheetal and her father was so touching! It also touches on having an absent parent, and the guilt that they feel while being away – and also reconnecting as well, which was beautiful.
- Loved the supportive friendship with Meenal as well, who accompanies Sheetal into the star realm and supports her in everything that she does.
- I loved all the focus on music and the arts here – the power to touch humans through the beauty of words, song and artwork.
Things I Wasn’t a Fan of
- The pacing and prose of the book felt a bit disjointed, which affected my reading experience. The beginning and the middle is long and drawn out. The last part of the book also feels incredibly rushed, with key scenes told in only one sentence.
- You’ll find prose that is poetic and beautifully written, almost ethereal, while other parts of the book aren’t, which made the reading experience kind of jarring in some places.
- I couldn’t really connect with Sheetal at all as the main character, it seemed like she was almost a pawn in the book that kind of went along with what happened. She also fawns over the love interest, and I really couldn’t connect to the romance at all, which seemed to be quite forced.
- The plot felt really predictable. Sheetal is competing in the talent show so she can save her father, but you kind of already know what will happen.
- Much of the middle part of the book heavily relies on pettiness between the competitors and family drama which I didn’t really care for.
- I wanted more description and clarity around the stars and their powers and what they could exactly do – instead the plot left me asking a lot more questions than were actually answered.
Star Daughter is such an important entrant into the YA market, and offers something unique as an own voices Hindu mythology based on stars and their muse-like powers. While I’m certainly glad I picked it up, I found the reading experience to be kind of jarring with the plot (not to mention my interest) waxing and waning. Despite this experience, I definitely think a younger audience would enjoy it more (recommended to ages 14+), particularly for those who identify with the Indian main character.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Star Daughter is available from The Book Depository and other bookstores.
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