20190508_121637.jpgToday I have a review of Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small. Thank you to Algonquin Books for the invitation to the blog tour!

About the Book:

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.

My Thoughts:

Marine and Kate have attended the Paris Opera Ballet School since they were tiny. The two are the best of friends and have bonded over tragedy and dance. 

Just before their final year of school, a student is found murdered. This makes the girls question how far they would go to win. Winning means being selected to join the corps de ballet. There are many desperate options.

Each girl gets closer to the top placed male dancer…this happens at the same time.

Selection day approaches, and the girls are now competing for both this guy and the corps. Their friendship lies in the balance. 

Bright Burning Stars captures the drama and cattiness that can occur behind the scenes in dance troupes. I took dance several years ago, and I remember the competition amongst dancers. It was fierce! The author was a dancer, and she has plenty of insight and real-life experience adding to this novel and making it feel even more authentic. 

Bright Burning Stars is a book about competition versus friendship, and how to win and have it all, we may have to lose those closest to us. Is it ever worth the sacrifice?

I loved how the tension mounted as the corps selection approached. I felt an anxiety along with the characters. I intuited the pressure that each dancer feels, through their painful feet, all the way to their shaking hands. Overall, I found Bright Burning Stars to be an exciting and dramatic read. 

I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.  

About the Author:

A.K. Small is thrilled for her debut novel, BRIGHT BURNING STARS, to come out May 21, 2019 through publisher Algonquin Young Readers. Her talent for writing and passion for classical ballet fuse together in this novel and earned A.K. Small the honor of an Entertainment Weekly review.

In addition to BRIGHT BURNING STARS, A.K. Small spends time on short stories. Her short story, Anthrocon, 2017 was just nominated for a Pushcart prize by the Bellevue Literary Review. Other stories such as the Flour Baby and The Interior Designer were also nominated or runner-up to prizes.

She also ran a column titled, “A French Girl’s View Du Monde” at Barrelhouse Magazine.

A.K. Small graduated from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2009 with an MFA in fiction. When she’s not reading her favorite authors (Rainbow Rowell, Angie Thomas, Anna Gavalda, Jandy Nelson, Ann Hood, Sue Miller, Anais Nin, Tayari Jones, Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Wright, and J.R.R. Tolkien, to name a few!), she’s studying her favorite dancers: Sylvie Guillem, Noella Pontois, Marie-Agnes Gillot, and Aurelie Dupont.

A.K. Small grew up near the Sacré Coeur in Paris and married her Tobagonian soul mate. She has three gorgeous daughters and owns a min-chi named Dallas.

Have you read Bright Burning Stars, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR