by A. K. Small
Release Date: May 21 2019
Genres: YA, Mystery
Format Read: ARC, Paperback
Best friends Marine Duval and Kate Sanders have trained at the Paris Opera Ballet School since childhood, where they’ve formed an inseparable bond forged by respective family tragedies and a fierce love for dance. When the body of a student is found in the dorms just before the start of their final year, Marine and Kate begin to ask themselves what they would do to win the ultimate prize: to be the one girl selected to join the Opera’s prestigious corps de ballet. Would they die? Cheat? Seduce the most talented boy in the school, dubbed the Demigod, hoping his magic would make them shine, too? Neither girl is sure.
But then Kate gets closer to the Demigod, even as Marine has begun to capture his heart. And as selection day draws near, the competition—for the prize, for the Demigod—becomes fiercer, and Marine and Kate realize they have everything to lose, including each other.
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The world of ballet is a dark world and something I knew going into this book. There’s been something about this world that fascinated me since I was a little girl even though I have never danced. I suggest a basic understanding of ballet and the formations (or just use a lot of google like me) in order to follow the flow of the story and know what is expected of the dancers. That being said, this novel took a darker turn than I was expecting from the description and was at times a hard read.
Bright Burning Stars is A.K. Smalls first novel that revolves around two ballet students in their final year. Marine and Kate are inseparable but find the stresses of their final year at school, competing for the ultimate prize makes them do things they never intended or imagined. Lots of things this book deals with are real life hardships. The girls go through teen pregnancy, depression, eating disorders, abusive relationships and more. That being said, the emotions of the girls and much of their thought processes did not seem to add up to the level of seriousness of the consequences their actions had caused. Although the equivalent of 16-18 year old girls, they seemed very juvenile and hard to relate to in many aspects of their decisions (mainly pointing at Kate and her ideals of LOVE).
One critique of the writing style that I do have is in respect to the flashback portions of the books. A lot of the time the author takes the reader back to when the girls are younger. The division between present and flashback is very muddy and not always clear. I would be reading a scene and then realize I’m in a flashback and get lost.
In all I did enjoy this book and liked reading it. I would recommend it easily, but do suggest caution due to some emotional triggers that are sure to come with the heavy subjects covered. I think it would have been wise to at least mention some of the topics covered in the book, since the description made it seem more or less simplistic in nature.
As an avid book reader, I am always finding time to catch a book whether it be on my iPhone or Kindle or a nice classic paper back! My little guy whose 3 keeps me busy and on my toes as well as my husband– so finding such time can be hard but also important to keep my sanity. My favorite reads are ones that let me escape and dive into a magical alternate reality or world as well as books full of mystery and twists and turns. Bonus points if it involves both!! Favorite authors at the moment: Anything Leigh Bardugo, loved the conclusion of the Caraval series by Stephanie Garber and I am always down for some Holly Black- she is the reason I love to read after finding Tithe in my B&N in the 7th grade.