Author: A.K. Small
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: May 21st, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
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.
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Inside Nanterre School for Dance reside two best friends, Marine and Kate, who–among the other girls in their class–are competing for the one top spot dancing with the top male. Bright Burning Stars did an excellent job of capturing the cattiness and petty atmosphere that can reign in a competitive atmosphere like this. I don’t have experience with dance, but I went to school for opera where people are vying for lead roles in a show and believe me, when you have spent your life training for something and you know that you are prepared and that you have nailed your performance but then the next person goes on stage and has an advantage only because of a ‘favor’ she did or a judge? If it could mean the difference between performing on stage at sold out shows every night versus performing four times per month and teaching voice/dance lessons just to make ends meet….how far would you be willing to go to ensure you hit the top?
So that was all that was on my mind through most of the book. Everything hit close to home for me because I could really draw paralells to where I had been in the fine arts world, but really, it could work for any positions one is competing for. We all need drive (though, maybe not quite this much) to get to top. This book is told in dual perspectives so we do get to see both Marine’s and Kate’s thoughts as they go through all of this craziness. And I do mean crazy, but that’s what makes this book truly a page-turner I thought. I really feel this book was beautifully written. It has some beautiful descriptions of dancing, it can be brutal at times (trigger warnings: eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, abortion grief, self-harm, intentional drug use, body dysmorphia) but I was here for the big picture.
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.
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And last but not least, enter to win 1 of 2 copies of Bright Burning Stars! You can also visit other stops on the tour (see below) and visit there for more chances to win! Giveaway runs 5/13-5/27/2019.
–> To the Rafflecopter! <–
Full Tour Schedule
May 13 – The Unofficial Book Addiction Fan Club … Interview
May 14 – The Reading Corner for All … Playlist
Tara’s Book Addiction … Review
May 15 – Journal of the Lost One …
May 16 – Everywhere and Nowhere … Guest Post
Star is All Booked Up … Promo Post
May 17 – Utopia State of Mind … Guest Post
Writing With Wolves … Review
–> May 18 – Singer of Stories … Review
May 19 – Portrait of a Book … Review
Lisa-Queen of Random … Promo Post
And that’s all I have, folks. Thanks for stopping by today! Until next time!!
Book Soundtrack: Black Swan Soundtrack…Act I:(Scene 2) Danse de petits Cygnes