TW: Suicide, Depression, Eating Disorders (anorexia), Drug Use
This book has 3 Bs. Ballet, boarding school, and best friends. Marine and Kate are childhood best friends who attend the Paris Opera Ballet School. They are competing for one spot at the Opera’s corps de ballet and would risk it all for this opportunity, even if that means each other. If ballet and the Paris setting don’t grab your attention already, read this novel for Small’s beautiful writing.
I truly enjoyed the way the friendship between Marine and Kate was developed throughout the story. Bright Burning Stars has filled a gap in YA that I’ve been searching for: books centered on friendship. Yes, there was romance in the novel but quite frequently the focus of YA books is the romance which was not the case in this novel. Marine and Kate’s friendship is far from perfect but I enjoyed their journey.
As a non-dancer, I felt less invested in the dance parts of this story but still intrigued because it fit in with the plot well. The competition that involved dance is what kept my attention. I do feel like after reading this story I could hold a conversation about dance because of the dance terms I learned while reading.
I did find that the use of French was a bit unnecessary. I speak French so I understood the French text and the translation. While reading, I felt like it would be more useful for Small to just say what she wanted to in English as opposed to saying something in French and then English. However, I didn’t mind the untranslated parts in French.
One aspect of this story that readers should be aware of is that there’s a lot of tough content in this book. This story is heavy but the right audience will really enjoy it.
Overall, I think Bright Burning Stars was a compelling read but a tough one at that. I would suggest that the reader considers the content before decided to read.
3.5/5 Stars for Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small.