Friday, May 17, 2019

Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small | Book Review*

Would you die for the Prize?

Best friends Marine Duval and Kate Sanders have trained since childhood at the Paris Opera Ballet School, where they’ve forged an inseparable bond through shared stories of family tragedies and a powerful 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 how far they would go for the ultimate prize: to be named the one girl who will join the Opera’s prestigious corps de ballet. Would they cheat? Seduce the most talented boy in the school, dubbed the Demigod, hoping his magic will make them shine, too? Would they risk death for it? 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 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.
Release Day: May 21
This story follows two young women as they deal with the stress of attending a competitive Ballet School. It's their final year at the school and they're competing to join an elite group of ballet dancers, but the year is proving to be stressful on their friendship and their abilities, causing both girls to make bad decisions. This story covers eating disorders, dating complications, drug use, and strained friendships, and more.

I did not like Kate's character at all. I found her selfish and annoying. She was so hung up on boys that she believed they loved her even when they, and everyone else, openly told her that they weren't looking for relationships. She expected everyone to move out of her way and hated everyone who was better than her. She claims that her friendship with Marine is the most important thing, but does nothing to fix it when they start fighting. In the end, she is given something that I don't think she deserved to get. She was making harmful choices that she kept trying to rationalize, but I honestly don't think she was strong enough to fix by herself.

However, I understand the importance of Kate's character. When you go to school for years competing against your classmates it's hard to have friends because even if you want them to succeed, you want to succeed more. I can understand why she made the choices she made, but they were still dumb choices.

Marine, on the other hand, I felt bad for. She still made awful decisions, but hers mainly impacted herself. She was also bad at mending her friendship with Kate, but I think Marine was better off without her. It was one of those scenarios where two people are friends for a long time but then outgrow each other. Marine wasn't able to fully shine until she let go of the drama that came with being Kate's friend.

Both of these characters show the negative effects of stress and competition. I saw this book as somewhat of a warning. It made you ask whether or not your passion is really worth what you think you have to do to achieve it.
An interview with the author:
  1. How did you write BRIGHT BURNING STARS? All at once or did you outline the story?
    I wrote it all at once but multiple times! I’m trying to learn how to outline. Man, is it hard. My brain goes to the creative before the analytical.
  1. What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters? Which of your characters do you most identify with, and why?
    I think that the most surprising aspect of character building is that it took me years to understand and relate to Kate. I had to spend a long time with her before she finally clicked on the page. 
    I identify with Marine because M and I both believe that any artistic success comes not from talent but from sweat and grit.
  1. What gave you the idea for BRIGHT BURNING STARS?
    I wrote a short story titled The Art of Jealousy and then I knew I wanted to write a larger piece.
  1. Do you have a favourite scene, quote, or moment from BRIGHT BURNING STARS?
    I love the scene where Marine dances to Biggie Smalls and there is a Luc scene I adore but I don’t want to give it away.
  1. If you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be?
    I would tell her never to forget about the magic of process and to always trust her instincts.
  1. What is on your current TBR pile?
    The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo, The Meaning of Birds by Jaye Robbin Brown, Wilder Girls by Rory Power, How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox, Heroine by Mindy McGinnis. I'm a sucker for books. I LOVE to read.
  2. Do you write to music? If so, what artist were you listening to while writing BRIGHT BURNING STARS?I usually don’t, but as I was trying to figure Kate out I listened to Unsteady by X Ambassadors and I put on classical piano pieces, literal ballet music, while I worked on studio scenes for atmosphere and rhythm purposes.
*This review was requested, but the opinions are my own


No comments

Post a Comment

© Juliann Guerra
Blogger Templates by pipdig