Star Daughter
by Thakrar, Shveta

Sheetal Mistry, a rising high school junior who is half-star, half-human, must win a competition in the starry court to save her human father.

Thakrar's mesmerizing nod to Neil Gaiman's Stardust tells a different star story, that of 16-year-old half-star Sheetal as she follows the silver starsong of her estranged mother to Svargalok (a heavenly plane). But Sheetal's reason for ascending doesn't lie only in wanting to confront her mother; she needs the help of a full star to heal her mortal father, whom she put in the hospital with her undisciplined starfire. Sheetal's family will help, of course, there's just one caveat: she must win a celestial competition so her star family's Pushya nakshatra (lunar mansion) is secured as the ruling house of the heavens. No biggie. Thakrar's world building is nothing short of dazzling, alight with evocations so vivid the mind can't help but see a kaleidoscope of twinkling shapes and colors. Sheetal's unearthing of the star world slows down the pacing of the story, though her search for meaning and identity are universally admirable. The story reads much like a family saga, enlivened by rich Hindu mythology and cosmology, and should appeal to fans of Laini Taylor's lyrical writing. Grades 8-12. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

When half-star/half-human Sheetal Mistry accidently injures her father, she needs to ascend to Svargalok, the abode of the stars, to find him a cure. Just shy of 17, Sheetal has brown skin like her human father, Gautam, and silver hair like her star mother, Charumati, but she has never truly known what it means to be a star. Her human, Gujarati family in New Jersey insists she hide her star heredity, as stars were once hunted by mortals for their silver blood, which has healing properties. As a result, Sheetal knows very little of her ancestry or what she is truly capable of. Following the accident that puts her father in the hospital, Sheetal and her best friend, Minal, go in search of Charumati for a drop of star's blood to cure her father. Unfortunately for her, Nana and Nani—the Esteemed Patriarch and Matriarch of their constellation, Pushya, and Sheetal's maternal grandparents—agree to save her father only if she wins a competition that will allow their family to rule over the other constellations. Loosely inspired by Neil Gaiman's Stardust (1997) and Hindu mythology, Thakrar's debut covers the lives of st ars, an unnecessarily complicated romance, and a half-star's journey toward self-discovery. Refreshingly, all the characters are Indian or of Indian origin. Despite the fascinating premise, however, several characters lack the luster and conviction which would have otherwise added much-needed depth and heart to the novel. Great worldbuilding but not entirely satisfying. (Fantasy. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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