Review| Bright Burning Stars – A.K. Small

I was recently approached by Algonquin Young Readers if I wanted to read and review Bright Burning Stars. The release of the paperback was around the corner and I have to say the synopsis caught my attention. I sat down and read this book and wanted to tell you about them today. Keep on reading to find out more!

A big thank you to the publisher for providing me with an e-arc to read and review.

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.


Bright Burning Stars is an intense story and I really want to start off saying that this book is for the more mature/older side of the young adult readers. There are quite a few trigger warnings and I think they’re important to start off with, because in my eyes they’re not really resolved or its’ not made clear how wrong some of these things are. The trigger warnings are: eating disorders, mental illness, suicide, abortion, unclear sexual consent, and unhealthy romantic relationships and friendships.

This story follows Kate and Marine and we get both of their POVs. They’re both friends that are in a very elite dancing school in Paris. Kate and Marine make a pact to be friends forever and support each other. The friendship started out as something that seemed good for both, but in the end this friendship was pretty toxic. And to be honest, I didn’t feel like we really dived into either character, but were only given glimpses of their character. I couldn’t connect with either of these characters.

The setting is quite interesting and the author really captured the competitive and dramatic world of ballet dancing. At times it was really extreme! I have to say that this book did have me sucked in from the start. The way it’s written made it a fast read and I have to say I did want to know who would end up being number one in this very competitive world.

There were a few side characters that definitely caught my interest that I would’ve liked to have known more of. I think that would’ve made me enjoy Bright Burning Stars more. It really missed some depth and learning lessons part of all of the trigger warnings found in this book.

Unfortunately, books don’t always meet up to your expectations! I really wish I loved this one more, but it’s not something I can change. Have you read any books in the dancing world with more mystery? If you have, let me know in the comments! I’d love some recommendations.

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