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Reviewed by Saifunnissa Hassam for Readers' Favorite
Isha Panesar's Astro Girls: Celestial Bond is a Young Adult fantasy epic of twelve girlfriends, all of whom attend St Bernard’s Private School in Surrey Heath. The story's narrator is 12-year-old Arianna. Her eleven friends are Malaya, Chloe, Narrisa, Zoe, Sophia, Charlotte, Ava, Amelia, Elle, Alicia, and Jasmine. The girls have a terrifying experience when a mysterious unpredictable asteroid, about to impact Earth, vanishes without a trace. In the nearby woods, the girls find a glowing orb, which opens up and embeds a Birthstone into each girl. They learn from an alien being, Ethereal, that the Birthstones are from another planet, Zodiac. Each girl has a unique Birthstone with unique superpowers. The girls now call themselves the Astro girls. When one of the Astro girls disappears, her friends must go to Zodiac to rescue her and protect the Birthstones. Whoever has the Birthstones can rule the Universe!
I very much enjoyed reading Isha Panesar's Astro Girls. I was pulled into the story right from the beginning as I read Arianna's "introduction" to her friends. I loved the way their characters and friendships come to life through their adventures and misadventures! They are terrified, but they take on the challenge of developing their superpowers, growing more confident and courageous. The story twists and turns on the planet Zodiac. The tension builds. I loved the very imaginative way in which the Astro girls use their superpowers in their perilous search and rescue of their missing friend. I thought the final confrontation with the Argonaut Metus was fantastic! I liked the richly imagined and detailed worldbuilding of the planet Zodiac. A very enjoyable fantasy indeed of the courageous Astro girls, their friendships, and their Zodiacal superpowers.