Book Review

ARC Book Review: Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary
Length: 304 pages
Author: A.K. Small
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Expected Release Date: May 21st, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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.

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.

SURPRISINGLY DARK.

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 angry and upset at her and for her. Her mental health is so poor and turning to boys only made things worse and this broke my heart.

Marine is the softer of the two and is completely wrapped up in her own grief. I liked how she overcame her personal struggles and allowed love into her life. Luc was way too precious and I LOVE him. He was the real hero of this story if you ask me.

On the other hand I’m going to personally destroy the snake, Cyrille. While I think the nickname “The Demigod” is a bit lame it made sense from a teen perspective. He was seriously the worst though y’all. Don’t even get me started.

The real danger is when passions rule your life. This ballet school is a deadly mash-up that kept me on my toes. I legitimately was concerned that this book wouldn’t have a happy ending. I’m grateful that the story was wrapped up and everyone went the direction they needed to.

One of the few issues I had with it was the amount of unexplained dance phrases. Anyone without a full knowledge (like myself) would be a tad confused with the dance scenes. I gathered enough, but I did get confused on occasion. The transitions to flashbacks was also a touch perplexing. I often didn’t realize we had gone to the past when the book had already come back to the present.

Overall audience notes:

Second Note: The Trigger Warning section will contain mild spoilers. I generally try to keep it free of those, but I feel it’s important to know what you might stumble across because this book has some difficult themes that shocked me and I would want others to know before reading.

  • YA Contemporary: difficult themes, please see Trigger Warning section
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: lots of kisses/make-outs, a few very little detailed love scenes
  • Violence: personal (detailed in trigger section)
  • Trigger warnings: anorexia, general obsession with weight, smoking, drug-use, underage drinking, self-harm, abortion, sexual exploitation, and suicide

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1) by Kevin Kwan

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary Fiction
Length: 527 pages
Author: Kevin Kwan
Publisher: Anchor
Release Date: June 11th, 2013
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor. 

On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.

DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA.

Do you remember growing up when you were home sick from school and you got to watch The Price is Right? Then after that was over you occasionally would let Days of our Lives play after before realizing you were glued to the TV with the drama?

This. This is how I felt about CRA. The hilarity of the wealth and drama that unfolded kept me turning pages for reasons I can’t explain. It’s not a book to ponder deep thinking. This is purely entertainment.

It takes a little bit to get into because of how many family members are in the story. Once I had a handle on who was who things cleared up.

There were a lot moving parts and I was distracted away from the story between Rachel and Nick constantly. I didn’t care about half of the people the chapters would flip to and was frustrated that the focus really wasn’t on them. The only other character I could bother to care for was Astrid.

Surprisingly, there were footnotes in this book! I actually appreciated them [most of the time] because it defined the language and food better. I now want to travel to Singapore just to eat, because holy cow everything sounded delicious.

I don’t really have much to say for this review. I couldn’t put it down, but I also am not interested in books two and three. I felt this one ended in the RomCom way, I was fine with it, and don’t need a continuation of the story.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Fiction
  • Language: a lot of f* bombs, very derogatory words and inappropriate conversations
  • Violence: verbal
  • Romance: kisses, some glossed over love scenes
  • Trigger warnings: racism, cheating husband’s, dog fighting scene, verbal child abuse, depression