Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
The cover of this book about ballerinas is absolutely stunning. Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small follows two aspiring dancers, Marine and Kate, at a ballet academy in Paris. Best friends and equal competition, each girl has her eye set on The Prize, the one female slot in the corps de ballet. But what exactly are Marine and Kate willing to do to win it?

This is told in alternating perspectives of each of the two dancers. Marine dances for her deceased brother, while Kate dances to escape her life back home in the US. As they near the end of their schooling, the competition heats up, sparks fly, and friendships are tested.

This book was just okay. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. It wasn't a struggle to finish it, but I definitely wouldn't pick it up again. I didn't really like either of the characters, and didn't have reason to root for either one of them. I was happy with one part of the ending, but not the other, and almost all the guys in this book were complete jerks. 

I am a former dancer myself, so I really identified with some of the struggles these girls were going through. From your place at the barre to your body image, dancers have so many things to think about in addition to the steps, and ballet is a mental sport just as much as a physical one. To me, this book was Black Swan mixed with Center Stage.

Definite trigger warnings are needed as well for a forced miscarriage, anorexia, drug use, and suicide references. This book got very dark and intense at points, which did a good job highlighting how far these girls were willing to go to achieve their goals, as detrimental as they may be.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

I received an ARC of this read at ALA. Bright Burning Stars is out now!


  1. Thanks for putting those trigger warnings in there! I love the cover but I don’t think it is the right book for me.

  2. Great review. I don't think I've ever read a book featuring ballet dancers. Looks interesting and I like intense.

  3. Yikes - I remember wanting to be a ballerina as a child - but from the looks of this, I'm glad my mother was too cheap to pay for lessons ;)

  4. Doesn’t sound like my kind of book. I hope your next read is better!

  5. Great review. Don’t think I’d be able to read it.

  6. I agree. This cover is gorgeous. Hopefully your next read is better.

  7. Great post I absolutely love the book cover as well, I am sorry you didn't love this book I hope your next read is a much better one. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome post.