Bright Burning Stars

Bright Burning Stars

Featured
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
244   0
Write Review
Bright Burning Stars
Author(s)
Age Range
14+
Release Date
May 21, 2019
ISBN
978-1616208783
Buy This 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. In Bright Burning Stars, debut author A. K. Small pens a stunning, propulsive story about girls at their physical and emotional extremes, the gutting power of first love, and what it means to fight for your dreams.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
4.0  (1)
Characters 
 
4.0  (1)
Writing Style 
 
3.0  (1)
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0

darkly haunting

BRIGHT BURNING STARS is surprisingly dark and twisty, following two young ballet dancers in their final year at Nanterre in alternating points-of-view. Nanterre trains “rats,” e.g. the children of the ballet who may or may not become a part of the elite ballet company at the Paris Opera. The children are entrenched in the culture and highly competitive environment bred from the result of their years of education where only one girl and one boy from each year are chosen to join the company. As the result of failure is equated to death, and their rankings among their classmates are constantly updated, the students are naturally very competitive with each other. The environment reeks of destruction and corruption.

Kate and Marine have been best friends for years, moving up and down around the other in rankings but not yet truly competing with each other. In this final year, with the stakes so high, they must decide how far they will go to win as well as why they love ballet so much that they have sacrificed their childhood and adolescence to it. Each girl loses herself to the school and their own psychological struggles in the course of the plot.

Very dark and twisty, this book exposes the bleak underbelly of ballet in an, at times, horrifying way. Kate is sacrificing herself to boys and drugs to find purpose and meaning in her life. She is convinced that if she dances with the boy they call ‘The Demigod,’ Cyrille, that she will be able to make it. In the meantime, she gives her heart and body away very easily. Marine joined ballet because her twin brother who died when they were younger had dreamed of ballet- she is determined to succeed for him. She is ever-aware of the flaws of her body, made even more apparent by the weigh-ins they require of her to ensure she does not gain weight and the nutritionist they have her visit to lose the 1kg she gained over a few months.

Their friendship itself has been- or has at least become- destructive with Kate overpowering Marine frequently and resulting in Marine’s further problems. This is not really a book about friendship, even though it follows two girls who are supposed to be friends. The lessons that the book holds are more about the systematic oppression and heavy weight of expectations that can lead to psychological destruction, as they are evident in ballet. Reading of this book should be placed in context by educators/others for younger readers. Books which show such challenges are worth reading for understanding; however, the healing is not as apparent and resources for teens who may face similar challenges are needed.

Warnings (which may contain spoilers) for this book would include drug use, smoking/alcohol teen use, suicide and depression, sexual exploitation, anorexia/weight obsession, self-harm, teen pregnancy, and abortion. This is a very dark, but well-written, novel, and it carries some major issues for which resources would have been helpful to show (or to include in an afterward, which may happen upon publication).

I would recommend this book for older YA contemporary readers who are looking for a darker read with gravitas.

Was this review helpful to you? 

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Even Monsters Go To School
What’s a school day like for you? ...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Can Cat and Bird Be Friends
In a sweet and clever picture book from debut author-illustrator...
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Origami Bible Stories For Kids
Perfect for Sunday school lessons and youth group activities--paper figures...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Pig the Stinker
In this hilarious adventure, Pig the Pug STINKS! Pig likes...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Little Rabbit Lost
It is Little Rabbit’s birthday and his family surprises him...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Cece Loves Science and Adventure
Cece loves science and adventure! ...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Hannah Sparkles: Hooray For the First Day of School
Cheer along with Hannah Sparkles on her first day of...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Turtle and Tortoise Are Not Friends
This is Turtle. This is...
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Trace
In a debut novel that's perfect for fans of Jason...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
When Summer Ends
Three months Two changed fates One...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Mystery Club (Mr. Wolf's Class #2)
Mr. Wolf's students are settling into their new classroom, and...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Baby Astronaut (Baby Scientist)
Baby Scientist is an adorable board book series that brings...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Tree of Dreams
Dear Coco and Leo, I miss you! We...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Teeth in the Mist
A genre-bending epic horror-fantasy, inspired by the legend of...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A Bond of Venom and Magic
Magic awakens. Darkness stirs. The Wraith Lord hunts. The...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas
Everyone knows that piranhas don't eat bananas -- except for...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

When Summer Ends
 
5.0
"This book is everything. The Story: Olivia and Aiden have good lives. Olivia has a boyfriend she loves..."
Vow of Thieves (Dance of Thieves, #2)
 
5.0
"VOW OF THIEVES is a thrilling end to a wonderful spin-off YA fantasy. Although a spin-off series from the Remnant..."
The Beautiful Lost
 
3.3
"A first-person past-tense telling exclusively from the perspective of Maia, a depressed high school sophomore with some ambitious—if half-formed—plans for..."
Dance of Thieves (Dance of Thieves, #1)
 
5.0
"Absolutely fantastic! "Dance of Thieves" is a really wonderful YA fantasy that takes place in the world of 'The Remnant..."
10 Blind Dates
 
4.7
"10 BLIND DATES is the must-read romantic comedy of the fall! Sophie is staying with her grandparents and her very..."
Maybe This Time
 
4.7
"Sophie is bound and determined to make it out of her small Alabama town and attend design school in New..."
Brawler
 
4.7
"Eddie McGuire is a talented high school wrestler with a horribly short fuse. This is no doubt a result of..."
Skyjacked!
 
3.3
"Six students from an elite private school are returning home after a camping trip on the private plane belonging to..."
Wicked Fox (Gumiho, #1)
 
4.0
"WICKED FOX is a unique urban fantasy that uses Korean mythology to bring a mythological creature to life. Miyoung is..."
Wilder Girls
 
4.7
"Beware. Wilder Girls will draw you in, softy whispering tendrils creeping through your mind and thorny vines entangling your heart..."
Aurora Rising
 
5.0
"Now I am huge huge fan of both Jay and Amie as individuals and as co-authors. Their Illuminae series completely..."
Crown of Coral and Pearl
 
4.7
"CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL Is a story of sisters, adventure, and change. Nor and Zadie, whose names mean coral..."
The Grace Year
 
5.0
"THE HANDMAID'S TALE meets LORD OF THE FLIES in this dark, atmospheric, and sweeping YA dystopian. Tierney James is 16-years-old,..."
The Last True Poets of the Sea
 
5.0
"THE LAST TRUE POETS OF THE SEA is a beautiful coming-of-age story. After her brother attempts suicide, he is sent..."
No Place Like Here
 
4.7
"When Ashlyn’s father goes to prison and her mother goes to rehab for depression, her world falls apart. Ashlyn’s father..."
Trash
 
4.0
"The plot of the story for most of the book is great but towards the end of the book, it..."
Hatchet (Brian's Saga #1)
 
3.0
"this is a good book, but it doesn't have a good ending to it. it sounds a bit rushed, but..."
Not if I Save You First
 
4.3
"this book is amazing!!! I am still reading it but I am up to a good part. don't wanna spoil..."
Hatchet (Brian's Saga #1)
 
2.3
"it was very repetitive, and the beginning was very boring and it dragged on a bit "
Hatchet (Brian's Saga #1)
 
3.3
"The book takes a long time for the climax to come in and the start is very boring."