A Searing, Stunning Debut: And The Stars Were Burning Brightly

There are fantastic books being published this month, but none more so than And The Stars Were Burning Brightly. This is the outstanding, debut novel from a powerful new voice in the YA genre, Danielle Jawando.

If you recall I included this beautiful book in my Cracking Books to Read in 2020 that I posted at the beginning of the year. And since then, Watersones has pitched it as one of the most anticipated books to pre-order. Furthermore, both the Evening Standard and the i newspaper have listed it as one of the best new YA books for 2020.

You can read it now too as this stunning, new novel is published this week, Thursday 5th March.

It is a gripping read, emotionally intelligent and brimming with compassion. It tore at my heart with every page; I couldn’t put it down. I really believe And The Stars Were Burning Brightly is a book that everyone should read.

This heartbreaking novel is set in the aftermath of the suicide of Al, an artistic, talented 17-year-old with an aspiring future ahead of him. As it powerfully portrays the raw grief of Al’s younger brother, 15-year-old Nathan, it explores the horrific impact of bullying and social media.

As Nathan painfully searches for answers into Al’s death, he develops a connection with Megan who was Al’s friend in art class at school. However Megan is consumed with guilt that she did not acknowledge their friendship beyond the art room.

And The Stars Were Burning Brightly is powerfully narrated from the point of view of both Nathan and Megan. Through this dual perspective, the painful loss, confusion and vulnerability of the teenagers are vividly portrayed in a very authentic and raw manner.

Al’s voice is also evocatively portrayed throughout the narrative as it is Al that tenderly introduces each chapter. Succinctly written with such beauty, this narrative powerfully expresses Al’s intelligence, curiosity and loyalty.

I cried my heart out reading And The Stars Were Burning Brightly, from start to finish. But the hope and beauty within this novel is so compelling and powerful.

I said it above and I say it again, And The Stars Were Burning Brightly is a book that everyone should read.

My rating:


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