Kate and Marine have trained since childhood at the Paris Opera Ballet School where they formed an intense bond after respective family tragedies. Their friendship seems unshakeable until their final year when only one girl can be selected for a place in the Opera’s company. The physically demanding competition takes an emotional toll, and their support for each other starts to crumble. Marine’s eating disorder begins to control her life as she consumes less and dances more, and Kate discovers the depths of depression and the highs of first love as she falls for the school heartthrob—who also happens to be Marine’s dance partner.
As rankings tighten and each day is one step closer to the final selection, neither girl is sure just how far she’ll go to win. With nuance and empathy, the intense emotions of teenage years are amplified in Small’s debut as the girls struggle with grief, mental health issues, and relationships, all set against the glamorous backdrop of Paris.
About the Author
A.K. SMALL was born in Paris. At five years old, she began studying classical dance with the legendary Max Bozzoni, then later with Daniel Franck and Monique Arabian at the famous Académie Chaptal. At thirteen, she moved to the United States where she danced with the Pacific Northwest Ballet for one summer in Seattle and with the Richmond Ballet Student Company for several years. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary and has an MFA in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts. When she’s not writing, she spends time with her husband, her puppy, and her three daughters, and practices yoga. Bright Burning Stars is her first novel.
Review of Bright Burning Stars
Review (4 Stars): Bright Burning Stars was an emotionally charged story about two dancers that find that doing what it takes to win takes a toll on the one relationship that they each hold dear. Marine and Kate have been best friends at the Paris Opera Ballet School and have formed this intense bond after each suffering trauma in their personal lives. When they each are trying to for the top spot at the Opera’s company, the reader watches their relationship slowly unravel. What are they willing to lose to achieve their dream?
This book made me sad in a lot of respects because each character went through a lot to achieve their goals and this affected them mentally and physically. In the beginning of the book, these characters had an unshakeable bond but you could see that slowly unravel as they both fought to go up in the ranks. Heart-breaking and emotional, Bright Burning Stars show behind the scenes of what it takes to become the beautiful dancer on the stage.