THANK YOU TO NETGALLEY AND Algonquin Young Readers FOR THE ARC IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW.
Upon reading the first page of the book, I knew instantly I was in for a ride. For some reason, Bright Burning Stars felt darker and more intense compared to other ballet fictions I’ve read before (even more than TPT and SBP that I’ve claimed as the most dramatic and insane YA fictions).
If you’re looking for books that really dig deep into the darker side of the ballet world, Bright Burning Stars is a must-read. It has more focus on the ballet world itself. As someone who enjoys character development in a story, it was a bit of a disappointment. We did get to know more about each character, but there was nothing big in development.
The book focuses on the world itself – this high-stakes world where only the top ballerinas can succeed. Things like injury, pregnancy, and gaining weights will definitely end their career. All the things I mentioned happened in the book. Throw in eating disorder, mental health issues, and heartbreak – it created the perfect dramatic and intense settings.
Between the two characters, Marine and Kate, it was easy to root for Marine. She is essentially the good girl in the story. While I understand Kate’s motives, there are many moments where I couldn’t agree with her. I know that it’s because at the end of the day, I hold more similar values with Marine than Kate. She’s just everyone’s best friend and I found myself hoping that Marine could survive in the crazy world as she could be a little naive. Especially compared to Kate who’s good at the games.
All in all, Bright Burning Stars is a great ballet book. If you are looking for ballet fictions, this one is worth reading.
Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small
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.