Burning Bright

Michele Kwasniewski
Rand-Smith LLC (2021)
ISBN 978-1950544349
Reviewed by Jill Rey for Reader Views (1/2023)

Author Michele Kwasniewski does it again in “Burning Bright,” the second book in The Rise and Fall of Dani Truehart Series. Picking up where book one, “Rising Star,” leaves off, readers continue to follow Dani Truehart as we witness the changes her rise to fame is having on her. As she juggles this new world and leaves high school and other kids her age behind, readers will wonder whether stardom is truly all it is cracked up to be.

Dani Truehart is a sixteen-year-old, newly minted popstar. After years of rehearsals and training, she has inked her first record deal, recorded her EP and, as “Burning Bright” kicks off, is embarking on her first world tour. Dani’s life has changed essentially overnight. She’s being mobbed by fans and paparazzi, selling out thousand seat stadiums, and traveling for the first time in her life. Social media and the sharing of famous people’s lives has nothing on what Kwasniewski is able to show readers through her words and the life of Dani Truehart. From the guilt of letting down your friends, to the stress of no privacy or free time, to the barrage of cameras and fans in your face, readers feel like they are along for the ride with Dani as you can’t help but feel for her and understand her glimpses of lashing out. 

To say I flew through this read would be an understatement. I was actively sneaking away from responsibilities to get in just a few more pages, which goes to show just how amazing and engrossing this read is. Like many, I am not immune to the constant tabloid fodder and attention-grabbing headlines screaming in your face in checkout lines, as well as social media touting celebrity mishaps and relationships. I’ve always wondered how the rich and famous live, what their lives are like with people constantly demanding their attention, their autograph, or their picture. I’ve always wondered what a day in the life is actually like, including how they truly feel about their stardom and the curses and blessings that may come with it.

Well… imagine no further as author Michele Kwasniewski uses her professional career experience to create a realistic feeling, and all-encompassing character in Dani Truehart. Taking readers through all the highlights, including the rise, the fame, and the fans, Kwasniewski does a phenomenal job giving readers a seemingly firsthand account of showbiz life. Accounting for the structure of life on the road, living in closed quarters, the daunting fans, the hours, curtain calls, the making of friends, and the constant publicity, “Burning Bright” captures the fame and glory, whereas book one, “Rising Star” portrayed the work it took to get to the peak.

However, this series is called the rise AND FALL, and if the cliff hanger is anything to go off, the next book promises to be quite the ride. Readers will fall headfirst into Dani’s life throughout this book, feeling like both a best friend and a roadie. Kwasniewski has crafted such a relatable character, it’s easy to forget Dani Truehart is fictional. 

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