Title: Star Daughter
Author: Shveta Thakrar
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: Physical ARC (paperback)
Length: 448 pages
Release Date: August 11, 2020
Setting: New Jersey & Svarglok
Torture, Blood, Discrimination, Parental Abandonment
Indian, Desi, Lesbian
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Hear Our Voices Book Tours and HarperTeen for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication.
I don’t even know what took me so long to finally gather my thoughts for this novel, but I’m finally sitting down to write it all because I need to get it out of my head before I forget. I had the pleasure of being able to read a copy of this ARC due to the Hear Our Voices book tour that is starting on August 5th. While I’m not officially on the tour because I’m not an #ownvoices reviewer for this story, I want to be able to share my thoughts while the tour is going on so more people can get hyped about this book.
Because seriously, you really need to get hype about this book if you aren’t already because this was absolutely amazing!
For some reason, I was thinking that this book was going to take place totally in fantastical worlds, and so you could imagine my surprise when the first part of the book takes place in New Jersey. I was like “whoa, what?” but it was great! I don’t really remember what YA books take place in New Jersey, or if they do I haven’t read any, so I thought that was really cool. And then when we reach the second part of the story where Sheetal and Minal go up into the stars, we are in such a beautiful world that I just could not get over. The majority of the book takes place in the celestial world, so you get the fantasy setting that you’re asking for while you read Part 2.
The more I sit down and think about this book, since it has been a while and I don’t have a copy of the book in front of me anymore, the more I will slowly start to remember other feelings that I had while reading it.
For one: the relationship between Sheetal and her father was just beautiful. And the feeling of abandonment that Sheetal felt when her mother left one day without any warning was heartbreaking. I feel like I could understand both sides, just with opposite parents. And for me I could totally feel Sheetal’s apprehension about her mother but also that little girl wanting to know why she was left behind. As a child who had these feelings and honestly felt like it was my fault that my dad left, it can leave a dark mark on someone’s heart, their psyche, their future relationships with other people. It made me not want to have any deep relationship with anyone because I didn’t like that feeling of being abandoned. It made me not want to open up to anyone either, even if it seemed like I was a pretty open friend. I really wasn’t, and it was easy to fake because nobody really knew more about me than what I decided to tell them. It even hurt not having that one best friend that I could confide in with my deep, dark thoughts that I wouldn’t even tell my mom because I didn’t want to bare my soul to someone and they either use it against me or just leave because I got too real.
I felt so taken away by this story. I’ve been trying to figure out how to write this review was coherently and helpful as possible and it just seems like I honestly can’t! I think it’s because I really enjoyed this book so much and I just felt so enraptured by the plot and all of the characters that I forgot to think about it from a review standpoint. But if you have to take anything from me and this review, it would be that Shveta’s writing really takes you out of the real world, into the world that she created, and gives you a journey that you will never forget. It’s such a great feeling when books can take you out of the troubles of the world today and give you someone else to root for. I feel like it also reminds you that sometimes you just need someone to root for you too, to remind you that you are your own hero in your own story, even if you don’t think you are. We don’t have to be actively saving the world as superheroes to be considered heroes. Because the more that we make ourselves better people and do things to make the world a better place for us and those around us, then we are doing the right thing.