A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers will learn a little about Hindu mythology and astrology, South Asian culture and folklore, and some words in Gujarati via context clues.
People need to be free to make their own choices, make mistakes, be imperfect so that they can learn and grow. What they choose to do, or not do, with what they learn is what gives life meaning. They also need to try to be better and do better, especially by being more compassionate. An important way of learning how to be better is through the arts: music, stories, performance, painting, etc. Shows importance of strong bonds of friendship and family.
Positive Role Models
Sheetal can be self-centered, is tired of being told what to do and how to be. But she and best friend Minal model strong bonds of friendship, and Sheetal and her family model strong ties of love, support, care, protection. No one is all good or all bad; everyone is nuanced. Some have done terrible things, most have made mistakes, but trying to get people to break a centuries-old cycle of revenge and put the past in the past becomes a prominent theme.
Violence & Scariness
Some self-harm from Sheetal: picking at a fingernail until it bleeds, reopening the wound. Fantasy violence includes a story with beating, scratching, slapping, scorching, and cutting a fantasy being for her blood. A stabbing with magical blood and pain briefly described. In the past, a child was abandoned and died violently, and another was murdered.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A few kisses. Teens home alone go up to a bedroom and kiss and cuddle under a blanket. Some flirting and showing romantic feelings with looks and small touches.
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"S--tty," "crap" one time each.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens of age in a fantasy world drink "frostberry wine" and nectar, but not to excess. A character drinks the blood of fantasy beings and becomes addicted. Teens furtively smoking weed is mentioned as an example of a type of secret.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Star Daughter is a fantasy based on Hindu mythology and astrology. There are some depictions of self-harm from a character picking at a fingernail until it bleeds and reopening the wound several times, including brief descriptions of the distraction or relief she finds in the pain. Other violence is in the fantasy realm or in the past and includes cutting a magical being to sell its blood, a stabbing, child abandonment and death, and a child murdered in the past. Pain from a magical transformation is described in detail. There are a few kisses, flirting, and affectionate behavior. Profanity is limited to "crap" and "s--tty," once each. A character becomes addicted to drinking the blood of magical beings. Teens of age in the fantasy world drink "frostberry" wine and nectar, but not to excess. Strong ties of friendship and family are stressed. Overall messages are positive about learning from mistakes, moving on from the past, finding ways to be your best self, and encouraging people to be and do better by learning compassion from the arts.
Is It Any Good?
Debut author Shveta Thakrar has created an intriguing fantasy that uniquely blends Hindu mythology and astronomy with a relatable teen protagonist on the cusp of adulthood. Thakrar's talent for descriptions evokes a vivid, sometimes dazzling array of sights and sounds in Star Daughter that draw the reader into a richly conceived and wildly imaginative world. Some of the writing is almost poetic, and the rest of the time it's solid but not exceptional. There's a large cast of colorful, relatable, and fully realized characters in both the real and fantasy worlds.
The pace of the story slows a bit here and there, but the plot is solid. A few twists are easy to see coming, but most of it will keep readers guessing until the very end. Main character Sheetal can be a bit frustrating at times, but she's especially admirable for her loyalty, empathy, and call for compassion. Teens will relate to her struggle into adulthood and her need to find a way to be her best, truest self without having to hide anything from anyone.
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Our Editors Recommend
Thrilling Books for Teens Who Love Fantasy
Books with Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander Characters
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