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Bright Burning Stars

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  152 ratings  ·  88 reviews
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 ...more
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Expected publication: May 21st 2019 by Algonquin Young Readers
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3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  152 ratings  ·  88 reviews

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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Amy Imogene Reads
3 stars

Release date: May 21, 2019

Bright Burning Stars is compelling, feverish, and claustrophobically competitive—but its trigger warnings and character arcs left a bad taste in my mouth. This is the case of a story that was written well, described well, and covered a unique place setting in YA....but ultimately did not work for me to due its handling of dark themes.

Setting: ★★★★★
Pacing: ★★★ 1/2
Characters: ★★★ 1/2
Compelling factor: ★★★★
Discussion of problematic topics: Zero stars. Did not like
May 12, 2019 marked it as arcs-to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-physical

Many thanks to Algonquin Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Ashlee » Library In The Country
View blog tour post on my blog Library in the Country

Bright Burning Stars is a tumultuous, dramatic and frenzied read that shows the dark side of a competitive ballet school, in the vein of Black Swan.

Best friends Marine and Kate would do almost anything to win the coveted Prize … to become one of the students retained for the Paris Opera’s ballet company. The problem? There is only room for one male and female pair. Despite their friendship, Marine and Kate are rivals and their loyalties to eac
Vicky Who Reads
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I SPED through this book (started it this morning) and it was very compelling although I have mixed feelings about some of it!

Content Warnings (super huge + definitely recommend you look at these if you have any triggers): (view spoiler)
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, arc, bt-e-book, fiction
Read this review and others on my blog:

Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small is about an elite ballet school and the ballerinas who will stop at nothing to succeed.

Dancers at Nanterre are under immense pressure to perform perfectly and stay slender. They bend and break their bodies, push themselves to impossible limits, and batter their self-esteems. They’re all after one thing: to be offered a spot with a prestigious company of dancers. They refer to it as “the prize
Paula  Phillips
Mar 23, 2019 rated it liked it
In the world of Ballet, it's definitely a dog eat dog world as the only one can ever become the best, and in order to be the best, you have to strive for perfection and sacrifice everything around you from your weight , comforts of your life, free time and sometimes friendships can be broken and destroyed , all in the name of scoring that big part in the ballet shows. Best friends Marine and Kate have trained together since they were little at the Paris Opera Ballet School. For years, it has bee ...more
Jan 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, ya, arc
ok. ok. I love a dance movie/book, so when I skimmed the description on NetGalley, my brain understood "French ballet boarding school" and downloaded it immediately.

This was...fine. I liked the ballet stuff, though there's not much here that's groundbreaking if you've ever seen/read any other dance movie/book. Eating disorders? Sexually charged dance partners? Gross ouchy feet? You don't say. But that stuff is all done well, if you're into that kind of thing, which I am.

A linguistic pet peeve:
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Bright Burning Stars was a pretty good ballet book. It definitely reminded me of Dance of Shadows a bit. In it, you will meet two best friends Kate and Marine (sometimes referred to K or M). They are enrolled into an elite ballet school that resides in Paris, France. Now this little class is severely cutthroat but it was a bit boring to read about. I just feel like the pacing was a bit all over the place. Then the characters wou
You can also read this review on my blog illbefinealonereads.

A huge thanks to Algonquin Young Readers for the chance to be a part of this blog tour.

Bright Burning Stars pulled me in with the first sentence and it didn’t let go.
I found it to be very well-written, I liked Small’s writing style. The voices she gave the characters suited the story well and I have to note that the multiple POV was pulled off really well. The plot was intriguing and well paced, I really enjoyed it - it just felt fresh
I read to 50% and then skipped to the last two chapters.

I was 1000% here for the murder-y sounding synopsis. I expected a little more of a mystery type story than cutthroat ambition.

I didn’t really connect to either Kate or Marine. Both of their POVs sounded the same to me and a couple of times I had to go back to find out whose head I was in. All of the other characters are quite flat, no one felt fleshed out and if it’s on purpose, it did a great job of showing how the girls were alienated.
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 some ...more
Stacy Fetters
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Believe in the past and in destiny."

I have never been this obsessed with the cover of a book and the synopsis as I am with this one. I’m guilty of judging this by it’s beautiful and dazzling cover. It captures your eye and squeezes your heart. With such a strong feeling, I was afraid that the story inside wouldn’t match the outside. But everything about this was mesmerizing and my obsession has grown fonder.

I won’t lie. I knew next to nothing about ballet but I wanted to learn. This gives an i
Cassie-Traveling Sister-
In the ballet world you need to be the best of the best. This book is broken into two POVs Kate and Marine who are training at an elite ballet company in Paris. They are put in division one which is best you can possibly be put in. To add pressure only one boy and one girl can win. Which can make some ballet dancers become unhealthy and mess with their mental health. Kate and Marine are friends but you can defiantly tell their is a toxic relationship there but I don’t want to give to much away. ...more
May 13, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Bright Burning Stars is a story of friendship and the dangers of overachievment. The characters are ballet dancers. As teenagers, they already have a multitude of issues to deal with due to hormones and the process of growing up mentally. Add to this the pressure placed upon ballet dancers. These girls must stay insanely thin, like starvation equals success. The dancing must be perfect always because it's essential to land a spot with a ballet company. I felt sympathetic toward the girls. It's a ...more
I really enjoyed this book; it was a heartbreaking read but one that I really fell for & felt desperate to return to every night. Kate & Marine’s friendship was real & their struggles tugged at my heart. The world of ballet often seems horrific in books, but it completely fascinates me & always engulfs me.

⚠ This book contains a character with anorexia & one with severe depression, discussions of suicide, drug taking & scenes of a sexual nature ⚠

I was sent this book to re
May 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs
hmMmmMmM thoughts to come next week as i'm part of the blog tour! once it's published and my post date rolls around my review will be up!
Apr 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Full review to come!
Yvonne (It's All About Books)

Finished reading: May 10th 2019

"Marine, notre monde, this world of ours - the stage and studios and barres - is intense and lonely. There is no space for friendship, love, or even an old and perhaps sacred bond between twins. Nothing shadows the art of dance. It's a union of body, mind, and music. Classical dance is known for being ruthless."

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Algonquin Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

(view spoil
Sarai Henderson
I am always a fan of ballet stories and they must be good to live up to my high expectations. This book kept me involved from the first page to the last... Even though the plot was flimsy... I feel like you really need to have a dancer's background to really understand a lot of the terminology of this book, but I'm sure someone who has never put on a pair of point shoes can understand just well.

What I loved about this book was the explanation of the dances and how deep it went into the dancer's
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

You can find the Blog Tour post for this review on the blog here:

For information on where to buy this book, check here:

First of all, thank you to the Publisher for the opportunity to read this book and join in on the blog tour! I am newer to the book community so every instance such as this are so appreciated. And thank you A.K. Small for this wonderful
May 15, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, arcs
ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Would you die for The Prize?"

That's a legitimate question for Marine and Kate, girls who have been training together for years at the Paris Opera Ballet Studio. If the competition doesn't get them, the pressure might. Since childhood, they've been training to win The Prize: the two slots - one boy, one girl - to join the corps de ballet. If they lose, they'll have wasted years and years of blood, sweat, and tears, not to mention
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
Bright Burning Stars is what if, Black Swan meets Percy Jackson and at stake is a competition that could change the course of humanity. I have never read a book like this. I enjoyed every page, every chapter, every event, and every theme brilliantly presented in the book. A lot of the YFiction is taking a new turn finding new ways to keep readers on the edge of your seats and never wanting to stop reading. I really hope that someone turns this into a teen movie someday, I think it will really do ...more
Stephanie Ward
3.5 Stars

'Bright Burning Stars' is a dark young adult contemporary novel that focuses on two best friends, their time at a prestigious ballet academy in Paris, and what they are willing to do to become the best and win the ultimate prize. I don't have any dance background, so I found the plot of this book to be very interesting for many reasons. I've read other books and I've seen movies about ballet and how intense and cutthroat it can be, especially when something like the Prize - a spot on th
Olivia & Lori (The Candid Cover)
Full Review on The Candid Cover

Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small is a book that tells the story of a fierce competition at a school for ballet, and it does not shy away from any details. The novel is pretty dark, but I was intrigued by the characters’ dilemmas and determination to win. This is a realistic story with developed characters and eloquent writing.

As a fan of both books set in boarding school and books about dance, I had a feeling I would enjoy this one when I first heard of it. The b
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
First off, I know nothing about ballet or being in ballet school. My first school did require us to take ballet and I had to have little ballet slippers and that's as close to ballet as I got. Which means, I am no expert. But to be immersed in A.K. Small's Bright Burning Stars, you don't have to be an expert. The intensity experienced by these students could belong to any specialized group of athletes like gymnasts, skaters, or tennis players, or likewise musicians.

Marine and Kate have been frie
Alyson Stone
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, teen-fic
Book: Burning Bright Stars
Author: AK Small
Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

I would like to thank the publisher, Algonquin Young Readers, for providing me with this ARC. It’s so good to be working with you again.

I was shocked with this one. I really don’t know that much about ballet and the world of dance, but I do like books that show how dedicated characters are to their craft, which is why I decided to check this one out. I must say what the characters put themselves through is pretty amazing. It rea
Cait -- GoodeyReads
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Netgalley, and the publisher, Algonquin Young Readers, for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.



I went into this book blindly reading because the synopsis was intriguing and I haven’t read any dance books before. I was really happy with how much I enjoyed it! I devoured it in hours.

This is one of those very rare instances where insta-love works. Dear independent Kate, really struggled in the boy department. And I was so a
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really great look at friendship, rivalry and the teenage years. Interesting, hooks you early on and you don’t want to put it down, you need to know what is going to happen next. All the signs of a great book and writer !

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
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