cover image Star Daughter

Star Daughter

Shveta Thakrar. HarperTeen, $17.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-06-289462-5

Thakrar’s Hindu mythology–inspired fantasy debut centers on Sheetal Mistry, a brown-skinned, silver-haired 16-year-old from Edison, N.J. Sheetal’s mother—a star named Charumati—returned to the heavens nine years ago, leaving Sheetal with her Gujarati astrophysicist father, Gautam, and his overbearing sister, Radhikafoi. Both insist that Sheetal conceal her half-celestial heritage—an edict she doesn’t fully understand until she learns that humans once hunted stars for their healing blood and muse-like abilities. The older Sheetal gets, the harder it becomes for her to control her burgeoning inner fire. When an unchecked burst critically wounds her father, Sheetal and her best friend, Minal, ascend to request a drop of Charumati’s blood; however, Sheetal’s grandparents—Esteemed Matriarch and Patriarch of the constellation Pushya—will only allow Charumati to assist Gautam if Sheetal wins a musical competition that will crown her grandparents the sky’s new rulers. Inventive worldbuilding, ebullient prose, and kind, hopeful messaging buoy Thakrar’s somewhat simplistic plot. The entire cast is brown-skinned, and although some characters and relationships lack nuance, Sheetal and Minal’s steadfast friendship rings true, grounding the tale. Ages 13–up. [em]Agent: Beth Phelan, Gallt and Zacker Literary. (Aug.) [/em]