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Rise to the Sun

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Three days. Two girls. One life-changing music festival. Olivia is an expert at falling in love . . . and at being dumped. But after the fallout from her last breakup has left her an outcast at school and at home, she’s determined to turn over a new leaf. A crush-free weekend at Farmland Music and Arts Festival with her best friend is just what she needs to get her mind of Three days. Two girls. One life-changing music festival. Olivia is an expert at falling in love . . . and at being dumped. But after the fallout from her last breakup has left her an outcast at school and at home, she’s determined to turn over a new leaf. A crush-free weekend at Farmland Music and Arts Festival with her best friend is just what she needs to get her mind off the senior year that awaits her. Toni is one week away from starting college, and it’s the last place she wants to be. Unsure about who she wants to become and still reeling in the wake of the loss of her musician-turned-roadie father, she’s heading back to the music festival that changed his life in hopes that following in his footsteps will help her find her own way forward. When the two arrive at Farmland, the last thing they expect is to realize that they’ll need to join forces in order to get what they’re searching for out of the weekend. As they work together, the festival becomes so much more complicated than they bargained for, and Olivia and Toni will find that they need each other, and music, more than they ever could have imagined. Packed with irresistible romance and irrepressible heart, bestselling author Leah Johnson delivers a stunning and cinematic story about grief, love, and the remarkable power of music to heal and connect us all.


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Three days. Two girls. One life-changing music festival. Olivia is an expert at falling in love . . . and at being dumped. But after the fallout from her last breakup has left her an outcast at school and at home, she’s determined to turn over a new leaf. A crush-free weekend at Farmland Music and Arts Festival with her best friend is just what she needs to get her mind of Three days. Two girls. One life-changing music festival. Olivia is an expert at falling in love . . . and at being dumped. But after the fallout from her last breakup has left her an outcast at school and at home, she’s determined to turn over a new leaf. A crush-free weekend at Farmland Music and Arts Festival with her best friend is just what she needs to get her mind off the senior year that awaits her. Toni is one week away from starting college, and it’s the last place she wants to be. Unsure about who she wants to become and still reeling in the wake of the loss of her musician-turned-roadie father, she’s heading back to the music festival that changed his life in hopes that following in his footsteps will help her find her own way forward. When the two arrive at Farmland, the last thing they expect is to realize that they’ll need to join forces in order to get what they’re searching for out of the weekend. As they work together, the festival becomes so much more complicated than they bargained for, and Olivia and Toni will find that they need each other, and music, more than they ever could have imagined. Packed with irresistible romance and irrepressible heart, bestselling author Leah Johnson delivers a stunning and cinematic story about grief, love, and the remarkable power of music to heal and connect us all.

30 review for Rise to the Sun

  1. 4 out of 5

    chai ♡

    reading this sapphic book so I may directly receive Sappho's blessing reading this sapphic book so I may directly receive Sappho's blessing

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    ARC provided by the publisher - thank you so much! "That big love you give everyone else-you deserve to save some for yourself. You're worth that much. You're worth every good thing." This is a story told over the course of three days at a music festival, with alternating povs! Olivia is there with her best friend in the whole world, and the one person who always has her back in every situation. Olivia has had a lot of not so great romantic relationships, but this last one ended with a ARC provided by the publisher - thank you so much! "That big love you give everyone else-you deserve to save some for yourself. You're worth that much. You're worth every good thing." This is a story told over the course of three days at a music festival, with alternating povs! Olivia is there with her best friend in the whole world, and the one person who always has her back in every situation. Olivia has had a lot of not so great romantic relationships, but this last one ended with a massively evil invasion of privacy that has also caused her a lot of harassment before her junior year of high school ended. Toni has grown up with music and the Farmland Music Festival for her whole life. It brings on so many happy memories of nostalgia, but also a lot of uneasy feelings about her future before her freshman year of college begins. But she hopes she will find some answers this weekend at the festival with her best friend. And when a hidden apple(s) quest and a musical performance mission to win gets sprung on both of these girls and their friends the first day, we get to see everything playout the whole weekend. Sadly, I think this being told over three days was what didn't work for me. I loved so many parts of this story, and I really enjoyed the first day and seeing the story being set up, but days two and three weren't able to make me connect as much, even though my heart broke for all the characters very differently. I really think having a glimpse into the future past the three days would have really helped and really helped the insta-love too (and i'm not saying insta-love is bad or not real, it's just not my favorite type of romance)! You Should See Me in a Crown is one of my favorite YA contemporaries of all time (you still me holding it in my pfp, hehe) and I still am in complete awe of Leah Johnson and what they are doing for queer poc teens is truly life changing. Their stories are making so many people feel seen, making so many people cry real tears wishing they had books like this when they were younger (me), making publishing and the world such a more hopeful place. I will support and boost their voice always, and even though this book wasn't the perfect book for me, I know it's going to mean the whole world to so many! Content and Trigger Warnings: loss of a parent, panic attacks, gun violence, and nonconsensual image sharing (provided by the author at the start of the book <3)! I also would like to add talk of mass shootings, anxiety depiction, asthma attacks, online bullying and harassment, ptsd depiction, many feelings of abandonment. Blog | Instagram | Youtube | Ko-fi | Spotify | Twitch Buddy read with May! ❤

  3. 4 out of 5

    may ➹

    2.5 stars Rise to the Sun follows Olivia and Toni at the Farmland Music Festival, both of them excited to experience the magic of live music and friendship. What they don’t expect to find is each other, and a weekend of discovering themselves and a blooming romance between them. Though this book was sadly disappointing for me with its romance, it still has so much to offer. With her sophomore novel, Leah Johnson proves how adept she is at weaving stories full of both joy but also more serious iss 2.5 stars Rise to the Sun follows Olivia and Toni at the Farmland Music Festival, both of them excited to experience the magic of live music and friendship. What they don’t expect to find is each other, and a weekend of discovering themselves and a blooming romance between them. Though this book was sadly disappointing for me with its romance, it still has so much to offer. With her sophomore novel, Leah Johnson proves how adept she is at weaving stories full of both joy but also more serious issues and self-growth. Love is messy and awkward and ugly, but at least it’s honest. At its heart, Rise to the Sun is about two girls figuring out themselves and how to navigate the world in a way that is kind to both themselves and others, especially as queer Black girls. Olivia has been in many romantic relationships that ended in disaster for her, particularly her most recent one, and it has led her to believe that she is the problem who brings havoc to all the lives she touches. She is also selfish and not that good of a friend, and though it was hard to read at times, I appreciated the space that was given for her to be messy and make mistakes, and to learn and grow. Toni has known the Farmland Music Festival her whole life, and she holds both it and music very dearly in her heart. Music is especially meaningful for her because of how much her father loved it, who recently passed away. She is struggling with the direction she wants her life to go after graduating high school, and she also has a hard time letting people past her ice-cold barriers. The characters’ development is what really shines for me in this book. Olivia struggles with feeling like she is too much for the people around her, molding herself to fit what she thinks they will like until she accidentally lets a part of her true self slip out. I think a lot of people will find Olivia unlikeable, and though I understand why, I find it even more meaningful that she is not excused for what she does and is able to grow into a better person (and also that she still deserves better from people despite not being the best herself). And I really loved Toni’s arc—she is standoffish in order to protect her heart from people getting too close to it and possibly hurting it, compounded by the recent loss of her father. She learns she deserves love, and it was truly so beautiful to see her journey to the realization. I also found myself in her feelings of not knowing what she wants to do with her future, since that is a current worry for me too, and there is one conversation Toni has with her mom that really resonated with me. “That big love you give everyone else—you deserve to save some for yourself. You’re worth that much. You’re worth every good thing.” I love that this book is set at a music festival, and I think Johnson succeeded at bringing it to life in all its magical, sweaty glory, while also raising important discussions about mass shootings at such large gatherings. But sadly, I think the fact that this book is limited to only a three-day timeline is what made me dislike it. First of all, while there have been a few books with insta-love that managed to satisfy me, Rise to the Sun is not one of them. I think part of the insta-love is understandable, since Olivia is someone who crushes easily and Toni needed to learn how to let love in. But I really hate reading books with romances that become serious very quickly, like this one, so that really ruined a lot of the book for me, despite their relationship being sweet. (For example, Toni was ready to say “I love you” to Olivia the day after they met… not my thing.) A lot of things also felt awfully convenient, especially at the end, and the main premise that resulted in Olivia and Toni working together seemed so random to me that it was hard for me to suspend my disbelief in order to enjoy the book. I still somewhat enjoyed Rise to the Sun, and I do think it has a lot of good to offer, particularly with its characters. It also is truly a wild whirlwind adventure, and once you pick the book up, it’s difficult to put it back down! Unfortunately, the insta-love really brought down my opinion a lot, and the setting worked a little more against the book than for it. But I think I’m in the minority in not completely loving this, and if you’re searching for Black girl joy and self-discovery in an unputdownable book, Rise to the Sun is for you. —★— :: representation :: Black lesbian MC, Black bisexual MC, Black wlw character, biracial (Indian, white) character :: content warnings :: parental death, gun violence, shooting, panic attacks, PTSD, non-consensual sharing of private photos, depictions of grief, talk of mass shootings Thank you to the author for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinions in any way. All quotes are from an advance copy and may differ in final publication. // buddy read with melanie <3

  4. 4 out of 5

    theresa

    Rise to the Sun is a love letter to live music and its unique ability to unite us all. Starring two queer Black girls, Leah Johnson’s sophomore novel is full of the same joy and vibrancy of her debut, while also carefully dealing with complex emotions and situations. When I first heard about this book it was the music festival setting that caught my attention (as well as the sapphics, of course!) and I was not disappointed. Johnson has captured the atmosphere of a music festival so well, as well Rise to the Sun is a love letter to live music and its unique ability to unite us all. Starring two queer Black girls, Leah Johnson’s sophomore novel is full of the same joy and vibrancy of her debut, while also carefully dealing with complex emotions and situations. When I first heard about this book it was the music festival setting that caught my attention (as well as the sapphics, of course!) and I was not disappointed. Johnson has captured the atmosphere of a music festival so well, as well as the power of live music and the human connection events like these foster. Live music has a unique life and vibrancy to it and Johnson has managed to effortlessly pin down that feeling within the pages of this novel. However, as excited as I was by the setting, it was also cause for some concern: the festival takes place over only three days and I couldn’t help asking myself how on earth Johnson would manage to create meaningful connections in such a limited time frame. Thankfully, my worries were for nought. I am endlessly impressed with how well developed our main characters’ relationship was and the character development they went through individually. The intensity and disconnect from the outside world the festival brought really worked to spur on their relationship while still feeling like a natural development. In addition to this, the dual perspective created a connection with both our main characters and made the development of their relationship more believable as we could see both of their thoughts every step of the way. Our main characters, Toni and Olivia, each had distinct voices, personalities and issues to work through and I really enjoyed reading from both perspectives. I particularly related to Olivia, especially with the way she contorts herself to become what she thinks other people want her to be and what will make her feel the most loved. Her development was really special to read and Johnson pulled it off perfectly within such a limited space; it felt natural and wasn’t a magic “fix all” but instead showed her realising her worth and starting a journey towards being comfortable being her own person. I also adored the grumpy / sunshine dynamics between Toni and Olivia and the progression of their relationship, as well as their relationships with their friends. Our main characters were each working through complex situations and emotions throughout the novel. Toni is grieving her father following his abrupt death several months before the beginning of the novel and returning to the place where he found himself to try and find herself and her future. Olivia is dealing with the aftermath of having intimate photos leaked by an ex and her tendency to get her heart broken. Johnson has perfectly captured the uncertainty, loneliness and hurt these characters are dealing with and how they can cause the characters to act out or make poor decisions. These situations deeply affect both characters and the way their relationship develops in a way that feels unmistakably human and real. Rise to the Sun above all reminded me why I love music, especially live music and had me very nostalgic for attending concerts. The emphasis on human connection and the uniting force of music was so touching to read, especially more than a year into the pandemic where these connections are much harder to come by. With queer Black leads, a gorgeous sapphic romance and a perfectly captured festival experience, Rise to the Sun is the perfect book to get lost in while we wait to experience the real thing again. I also talk about books here: youtube | instagram | twitter *Thank you Scholastic and Pride Book Tours for an advanced copy. This has not affected my review.*

  5. 4 out of 5

    Emily (emilykatereads)

    “To the black girls in the back row at live shows, to the queer girls still figuring it out, to the Midwestern kids who have yet to find a home in their bodies—it’s time to press play on our happy endings. RISE TO THE SUN: Four days. Two girls. One life-changing music festival.” (From the author’s twitter) !!!! Queer girls at a music festival !!!!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Susana

    I mean... I know I didn't like You Should See Me in a Crown, but have you seen this COVER???? HOW COULD I RESIST NOT GIVING THIS AUTHOR ANOTHER CHANCE???? [image error] I mean... I know I didn't like You Should See Me in a Crown, but have you seen this COVER???? HOW COULD I RESIST NOT GIVING THIS AUTHOR ANOTHER CHANCE???? [image error]

  7. 5 out of 5

    charlotte,

    the serotonin u get from leah johnson's books......unmatched read my review on reads rainbow! Rep: Black bi mc, Black lesbian mc, Black sapphic side character, biracial Indian American side character CWs: shooting, revenge porn the serotonin u get from leah johnson's books......unmatched read my review on reads rainbow! Rep: Black bi mc, Black lesbian mc, Black sapphic side character, biracial Indian American side character CWs: shooting, revenge porn

  8. 5 out of 5

    eli ♡ [semi-hiatus]

    Letters For Literature - "Rise To The Sun" Review .·:·.☽✧ 4.3 stars ✧☾.·:·. Thank you Edelweiss for an ARC of this title. CW/TW (may contain potential spoilers) "Rise To The Sun" by Leah Johnson is a tale told in dual POV that is centered around music, family, friendship, and love. Even though "You Should See Me In A Crown" wasn't my favorite book, I was very much intrigued by this novel's cover and synopsis. And while I didn't expect to love this novel as much as I did, there were minor issues tha Letters For Literature - "Rise To The Sun" Review .·:·.☽✧ 4.3 stars ✧☾.·:·. Thank you Edelweiss for an ARC of this title. CW/TW (may contain potential spoilers) "Rise To The Sun" by Leah Johnson is a tale told in dual POV that is centered around music, family, friendship, and love. Even though "You Should See Me In A Crown" wasn't my favorite book, I was very much intrigued by this novel's cover and synopsis. And while I didn't expect to love this novel as much as I did, there were minor issues that I found within the novel. "What good is the music if you don't get to share it with the person who makes you want to sing in the first place?" Olivia Brooks is a sixteen-year-old rising senior that is aggressively asthmatic and allergic to shellfish. She attends Park Meade High School in Indianapolis, Indiana with her best friend, Imani Garrett. But Olivia hates her high school because everyone there, except for her best friend, judges and gossips about her because of a scandal related to her most recent breakup with star basketball player, Troy Murphy. So Olivia and Imani decide to visit the Farmland Music and Art Festival, and there they meet the pair of Toni and Peter. Antonia Jackson Foster, also known as Toni or TJ, is a seventeen-year-old musician that tries to follow the steps of her father and mother simultaneously. She's almost eighteen, and doesn't know if she should follow the unreliable path of music like her father, or take the respectable path of going to an IU and becoming a lawyer like her mother. So Toni and Peter, a close friend she met six years ago at the Farmland Music and Art Festival, are visiting said festival to discover who they want to be and what path in life they'll take. So after Toni, Olivia, Imani, and Peter meet each other, they decide to team up so they can win the scavenger hunt at the Farmland Music and Art Festival. But Toni and Olivia are partnering up separately to win the Golden Apple competition, where amateur musicians are given the opportunity to perform in front of a panel of judges, and whoever wins gets a chance to play on stage with one of the bands on the last day of the festival. Plot - 10/10 The plot of this novel was well executed and well-structured, and I couldn't find any issues with it. I loved the complexities that were added to the plot from family relations and past romantic relationships. I felt as if those additions to the story added more depth to all the characters, and further improved the plot. Pacing - 9.2 /10 The pacing was good overall, but there were parts of the novel that felt a little slow and uneventful. And the ending felt very fast-paced compared to the rest of the novel, so that kind of threw me off. But I'll expand on the ending later. Characters (main and secondary) - 9.5/10 When I think about the characters in "Rise To The Sun" and compare them to the characters in "You Should See Me In A Crown", I noticed a glaring difference - the characters in this novel were a lot more developed and had more depth than the characters in "You Should See Me In A Crown". I think the main reasons for this was their relationships, but also their backstories and their personalities themselves. Olivia had to be my favorite character out of them all. She was so open and welcoming to everyone that I couldn't stop myself from loving her. I love how Liv's character developed from a person that supposedly "ruins everything" "Loving me──or more often than not, having me love you──is a surefire blueprint for disaster." and doesn't know how to fix it, to someone that acknowledges their mistakes while also acknowledging that they deserve so much better than what they've been given. "Maybe I am a little over-the-top, but that doesn't mean I don't deserve to be treated with dignity." Liv would always get into romantic relationships because she wanted to feel loved, and I couldn't help but sympathize with her. But she'd always jump into romantic relationships, hoping to be seen and loved, without evaluating the risk or consequences. "I don't think ahead, I don't consider consequences. I just leap and hope that the fall is worth it." Antonia was a character that I didn't love immediately, but I loved her over the course of the novel. I'm not saying this to make Toni look like a bad person, it's just that she wasn't great at communicating or voicing her ideas like Olivia was, so Toni was like an acquired taste. But I loved her character nonetheless. I admired Antonia's determination to not only discover who she was, but also what she wanted in life, even after the hardships she faced. And even though she wasn't a great verbal communicator, she knew how to convey her true feelings through displays of affection. "I want so much more for her than what she's been given. But all I have right now are my words, and that's never been my strong suit." Imani had a lot going on, to say the least. It's difficult to dissect her character without spoiling, but I can say that she really needs to work on her communicative skills. I didn't appreciate how she spoke to Olivia for most of the novel because it felt like Imani was always talking over Olivia whenever she wanted to voice an idea. And if Imani wasn't doing that, she was being a Debbie Downer at the festival and just dampening the mood for everyone else. While I did understand her actions a lot more towards the ending, it still didn't excuse her behavior, even if she was hurt. Peter was such a sweet cinnamon roll. I'm sorry, but that's the best way I can describe him. If there was a "Cinnamon Roll Checklist", he'd meet all the requirements. ✅ Wants to revive crop tops in Men's fashion. ✅ Memorizes facts about dead presidents to highlight the fact that they were train wrecks like the rest of us. ✅ Has such a caring personality, is always bubbling with excitement, and tries his best to make sure everyone's having a good time. If Peter Menon isn't the definition of a sweet cinnamon roll, then I don't know what is. Now for the secondary characters, there isn't much to write about. Don't get it twisted, I do have a lot to say about them, but I would be spoiling. So to keep this plain and simple, just know that almost all of the secondary characters were unlikable (except for Toni's parents). Relationships (romantic and platonic) - 9.7/10 I loved Liv and Toni's relationship, and I loved how the relationships between family members was developed because it felt real and heartfelt. But when it comes to Olivia and Imani's relationship, things get a little tricky. As I mentioned before, Imani would often times talk over Olivia or keep her ideas from being heard. And when she did listen to what Olivia had to say, Imani would only look at the situation through glasses clouded with her bitterness, so she wouldn't understand Olivia at all. I didn't really like their dynamic, but overall, I am happy that conflict was somewhat resolved, and I'm glad they have each other. Dialogue/Writing - 10/10 The dialogue and writing was good, and I didn't find any issues with it. I did really like how Johnson's writing is very expressive, and conveys the characters' emotions very well. Ending - 7.8/10 I liked how there was a happy resolution at the end, but I was unsatisfied with the ending because I had a lot of questions relating to plot points planted in the story left unanswered. So I think this issue could've been solved with an epilogue because it would've given those plot points a closing. And while I could've stretched my imagination and thought of what most likely happened after the story, I would've appreciated Johnson providing a correct closing to the reader instead of placing that responsibility on us. Another reason I was slightly unsatisfied with the ending was because, as I mentioned before, it was more fast-paced than the rest of the novel. That's just a small gripe I had with the ending because that change in pace was jarring. In conclusion, I really enjoyed "Rise To The Sun". While there were issues with this novel that I couldn't ignore, I loved the characters, the writing, the plot, and more. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who adores stories centered around music, family, friendship, and love like I do.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    TW for a gun violence, revenge porn, and death of a parent I absolutely loved You Should See Me in a Crown, so I was really excited to read Leah Johnson's sophomore novel. I was intrigued that this took place at a music festival, but I don't think I ended up loving the timeline of this novel. The book take place over a weekend and I didn't think that was enough time for me to believe these characters had fallen for each other. I was really enjoying the beginning of this book and how Olivia was so TW for a gun violence, revenge porn, and death of a parent I absolutely loved You Should See Me in a Crown, so I was really excited to read Leah Johnson's sophomore novel. I was intrigued that this took place at a music festival, but I don't think I ended up loving the timeline of this novel. The book take place over a weekend and I didn't think that was enough time for me to believe these characters had fallen for each other. I was really enjoying the beginning of this book and how Olivia was someone who loved being in love and was constantly in a relationship. I don't see a lot of main characters like that, so it was interesting seeing her perspective of always wanting to be with someone and molding herself to be with that person. Toni, on the other hand, had never been in a relationship and was still trying to deal with her father's death. They meet and click right away and enter a singing competition at the festival together. Their initial connection was great, but I really didn't like the direction the story took with something that happens at the festival and then Olivia's conflict with her friend. I didn't think Olivia's past was fleshed out that well and then she had a huge blow up with her friend and I felt like she was really selfish and kind of brushed that away (sorry, trying not to spoil anything!). I get that Olivia is supposed to be a selfish character and grow by the end of the book, but it made it hard to feel sympathetic for her and believe she just got over that part of her personality. In the end, it felt like there was just too much going on and not enough time dealing with each thing for both of our main characters. So while this book sounded great and started off strong, the execution missed the mark for me.

  10. 4 out of 5

    ♥Milica♥

    This was super cute, as expected from Leah Johnson. The book is told in a dual PoV, Olivia's and Toni's and spans three days. We get to see how they change from who they were before as the festival goes on, and how they find love in each other. Rise to the Sun reads a lot smoother than You Should See Me in a Crown (at least from what I can recall). I devoured page after page in no time. The only thing that stopped me from finishing it last night, is that I didn't have enough mobile data to post a This was super cute, as expected from Leah Johnson. The book is told in a dual PoV, Olivia's and Toni's and spans three days. We get to see how they change from who they were before as the festival goes on, and how they find love in each other. Rise to the Sun reads a lot smoother than You Should See Me in a Crown (at least from what I can recall). I devoured page after page in no time. The only thing that stopped me from finishing it last night, is that I didn't have enough mobile data to post a review. This book is insta-lovey, but that didn't bug me at all because all the emotions were described so well. I love all four main characters, Olivia, Toni, Peter and Imani. Peter and Olivia are a lot alike, just like Imani and Toni are so I hope they all stay friends forever (and that they appear in future books much like a certain character did in this one). I almost screamed when Mack showed up. I had a feeling she would and then there she was. That was so cool. I adore crossovers. This was more of a cameo, but close enough. The ending was happy, but not that satisfying. There's a major plot point tied to Olivia that wasn't fully resolved. I wish we got an epilogue to cover that. I'm giving it 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Starlah

    CW: gun violence, revenge porn, death of a parent, panic attacks, PTSD, bullying, grief I absolutely LOVED You Should See Me in a Crown, and unfortunately, that just makes this book that much more disappointing for me because I was really looking forward to it. I liked the setting off this taking place at a music festival - despite how little music festival we got in this story - but that meant this entire story took place over a weekend, and I just don't think that was enough time for me to real CW: gun violence, revenge porn, death of a parent, panic attacks, PTSD, bullying, grief I absolutely LOVED You Should See Me in a Crown, and unfortunately, that just makes this book that much more disappointing for me because I was really looking forward to it. I liked the setting off this taking place at a music festival - despite how little music festival we got in this story - but that meant this entire story took place over a weekend, and I just don't think that was enough time for me to really get to know these characters and believe that they had fallen deeply in love with one another. Worst case of insta-love. While I like when a book takes on social commentary, I did feel like what this book touched on regarding mass shootings was a bit distasteful. It was just kind of thrown into the middle of this contemporary romance in a sort of "OH, BY THE WAY, MASS SHOOTINGS HAPPEN AND THEY ARE BAD" kind of way, and I didn't really like that. It almost felt like this book had to have at least one difficult topic to touch on and it was just checking off that box. If you're going to talk about something as serious and prevalent as mass shootings, I just kind of think it deserved more than just surface-level. I really didn't like Olivia's characters. I understand her trauma and thought it was handled better than the topic of mass shootings, but this book felt like it was giving Olivia a free pass to be selfish, impulsive, and just lowkey awful, just because she's experienced some terrible things. It was really hard reading her treat her best friend like total garbage throughout the book, and it was so satisfying when Imani finally called her out for all her bullshit, but when right back to annoying when Olivia was so easily forgiven. No consequences. I wanted to like Olivia because her character set-up is very different from other YA heroines in the contemporary romance genre (being someone who loves being in love and has dated many people).

  12. 5 out of 5

    luce

    | | blog | tumblr | ko-fi | | I lived for that Mack cameo! Sadly, Olivia & Toni didn't steal my heart away like Liz & Mack did... “Loving someone is being big enough to admit when you mess up, and then doing everything in your power not to do it again.” Rise to the Sun is a summery sapphic romance that reads a lot like a love letter to music. Once again Leah Johnson has written a YA novel that succeeds in combining escapism with relevant and important issues (grief, trauma, non-consensual image | | blog | tumblr | ko-fi | | I lived for that Mack cameo! Sadly, Olivia & Toni didn't steal my heart away like Liz & Mack did... “Loving someone is being big enough to admit when you mess up, and then doing everything in your power not to do it again.” Rise to the Sun is a summery sapphic romance that reads a lot like a love letter to music. Once again Leah Johnson has written a YA novel that succeeds in combining escapism with relevant and important issues (grief, trauma, non-consensual image sharing). Rise to the Sun spans the arc of three days—Friday, Saturday, and Sunday—and takes place at Farmland Music and Arts Festival. Our two narrators and main characters are Olivia and Toni. Toni, still reeling from her father's death, is seventeen and about to go to college, not so much because she wants to but she feels pressured by her mother. Her passion is music, something she shared with her roadie father. Olivia is about to enter her final year of high school and, quite understandably given her situation, she’s not keen to return. The fate of her ex, a jock with a promising future ahead of him, rests in her hand. But will telling the truth solve anything? Her mother and sister disapprove of her, and many of her romances have ended on a ‘you’re too much for me’ note. Both girls are going to the festival to take their minds off their worries and anxieties. Tagging along with them are their respective BFFs. The two girls meet by chance and decide to compete together in a music competition….and sparks inevitably fly. Having genuinely loved Johnson’s debut novel, I was prepared to have my heart stolen away once again...but things didn’t quite pan out that way. While I liked Johnson’s light yet engaging prose and the themes that she touches upon during the course of the novel, there were a few things that didn’t work for me. Olivia and Toni’s voices are too similar and I kept mixing up their chapters. Their personalities are supposedly meant to be quite different, with Oliva as this extroverted and zingy kind of person, and Toni being more of an ‘Ice Queen/conceal don’t feel’ type of gal...so why did they sound like the same person? The story’s 3 days setting made it so that their romance seemed of the insta variety. And, the thing that ultimately made me not enjoy this novel all that much, Olivia is a terrible friend. She promises her BFF that this weekend is all about them and that she won’t pull off her usual ‘ditching you friend for the person I currently have the hots for’ move but she does! She doesn’t even try to keep her promise and be there for her friend. She simply convinces herself that Toni’s BFF and her BFF make a great match so pushes them together so that she can then spend time with Toni. She keeps justifying herself by saying that this time is different and that what she feels for this girl she’s known for a second is REAL and no one should stand in the way of TRUE LOVE. She then pulls an incredibly crappy stunt towards the end after the typical 70% romcom misunderstanding and convinces herself that it’s okay, and when she’s called out she whines that her BFF is being ‘harsh’ (of course she's going to snap at you! what were you expecting after making a move that makes it clear you don't give a shit about her?). And I also didn’t care for Toni going on and on about ‘my Truth’, it made her sounds like someone who is into Goop or whatever. Anyway, just because I wasn’t particularly enamoured by this does not mean you should skip on it and if you are in a mood for a queer YA romance, well, you should consider giving this a shot.

  13. 4 out of 5

    atlas ♡

    In this novel we follow Toni and Olivia with dual POVs throughout the span of 3 days at a music festival. This was quite disappointing for me. There were many parts of this book that I enjoyed of course but there was also definitely a lot of room to expand. This being told within such a short amount of time definitely has a lot of impact on that. This also caused for insta love, one of my least favorite tropes, and it didn't really sell me on it. I really liked day one and seeing how how the sto In this novel we follow Toni and Olivia with dual POVs throughout the span of 3 days at a music festival. This was quite disappointing for me. There were many parts of this book that I enjoyed of course but there was also definitely a lot of room to expand. This being told within such a short amount of time definitely has a lot of impact on that. This also caused for insta love, one of my least favorite tropes, and it didn't really sell me on it. I really liked day one and seeing how how the story was being set up but the other two were hard to connect to, same goes for the relationship. Now onto the better aspects of this! This book is so important to queer poc, (more specifically black queers). These stories should be heard and boosted always. The character development in this novel was definitely a highlight and seeing the self growth was so much fun. Music is a huge part of my life so this being a "love letter to music" was a lovely aspect of the book. Overall, this wasn't my favorite book but if you're a fan of instalove and want a quick sapphic summer read, definitely check it out! Thank you to the Scholastic for sending me a copy in exchange for my honest review. 3 stars. — guess who just got their first physical arc in the mail?! this is so exciting omg.

  14. 5 out of 5

    birdie

    update: lowering my rating to three stars because...that feels better now. well that got a little more relatable than i expected it to. with olivia thinking she's not worthy of love and toni being scared of love because it hurts...it was pretty much like two sides of me falling in love, and you know what? i was there for it okay. it could feel a bit insta-lovey at times looking back at it, but not as much as i expected. one thing i really appreciate about leah johnson is the ! character ! developm update: lowering my rating to three stars because...that feels better now. well that got a little more relatable than i expected it to. with olivia thinking she's not worthy of love and toni being scared of love because it hurts...it was pretty much like two sides of me falling in love, and you know what? i was there for it okay. it could feel a bit insta-lovey at times looking back at it, but not as much as i expected. one thing i really appreciate about leah johnson is the ! character ! development !! you really see how their perspectives change over the course of the book and i adore that stuff, okay? plus, the characters are so vivid for me. they are their own but they also have such great dynamics with each other and—yes. just yes. plus, this book deals with some important subjects (say thank you leah johnson!!) AND it's unashamedly sapphic!! i stan. i really, really enjoyed the time i spent with this book and thus would definitely recommend it! — full review here! thank you scholastic press for the early copy in exchange for an honest review! this does not affect my opinions in any way. blog | bookstagram | twitter | more

  15. 4 out of 5

    Toya (the reading chemist)

    4.5 stars rounded up! Leah Johnson never fails to write incredible characters. I’m just going to start with that. After absolutely loving You Should See Me in a Crown, I was a bit apprehensive about Rise to the Sun because of my own expectations. Completely unwarranted because Johnson absolutely delivered. So I will preface this by saying that I am not someone who appreciates music nor live music events, but the magic that Johnson created in this story had me yearning to be alongside Olivia and T 4.5 stars rounded up! Leah Johnson never fails to write incredible characters. I’m just going to start with that. After absolutely loving You Should See Me in a Crown, I was a bit apprehensive about Rise to the Sun because of my own expectations. Completely unwarranted because Johnson absolutely delivered. So I will preface this by saying that I am not someone who appreciates music nor live music events, but the magic that Johnson created in this story had me yearning to be alongside Olivia and Toni at the Farmland Music Festival in GA. As far as characters go, Olivia is our bisexual disaster. She lives life hard and fast and isn’t afraid to give her heart away. On the other hand, there’s Toni. She’s a musical prodigy thanks to her dad’s training, but she’s terrified to fall in love after losing the person she loved the most. Also, I love that both Olivia and Toni were from Indiana because there were so many references to places I knew such as the fun night life in Broad Ripple and all that is Indiana University in Bloomington (where I got my PhD). Don’t go into this story thinking that it’s a straightforward romance with a clear cut path. This story is mess. These girls are messy and so are their feelings. They feel deeply and learn the consequences of their feelings and actions, and that’s something that more people need to be given the grace to do…especially Black women. Thank you to Scholastic Press for providing a review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    3.5 stars Leah Johnson's newest YA novel, Rise to the Sun , is a poignant yet hopeful look at finding and healing yourself, as well as friendship, love, and music’s power. Olivia needs an escape. Junior year of high school ended disastrously with her involved in a scandal, and a major decision awaits her. So she convinces her best friend Imani to accompany her to a three-day music festival. Imani agrees but makes Olivia swear that the weekend will be just about them—that Olivia won’t fall in lo 3.5 stars Leah Johnson's newest YA novel, Rise to the Sun , is a poignant yet hopeful look at finding and healing yourself, as well as friendship, love, and music’s power. Olivia needs an escape. Junior year of high school ended disastrously with her involved in a scandal, and a major decision awaits her. So she convinces her best friend Imani to accompany her to a three-day music festival. Imani agrees but makes Olivia swear that the weekend will be just about them—that Olivia won’t fall in love and then fall apart, needing to be rescued as always. Toni has been coming to the festival since she was little, always accompanying her musician father. But since his death she’s been adrift, trying to figure out what’s next for her. Her mother wants her to pursue a more stable path, but is that what’s best for her? Or is music what will give her life, well, life?< When Olivia and Toni meet cute, Toni immediately throws up walls around her but Olivia immediately feels a connection. Can a relationship sustain given the flux in both of their lives—and if so, is it the right thing to do? “What if one person can only lose so much before they fall apart completely?” I ask. “I don’t know, man,” he says. “But I’ve gotta believe the people I have left will love me enough to try and put me back together again.” Insta-love doesn’t always work for me but these characters both needed someone to truly believe in them. All four of the main characters definitely have their quirks. Rise to the Sun is an emotional story and there are some heavy issues, but it’s ultimately hopeful. If you've not already read Johnson's first book, You Should See Me in a Crown , definitely pick that up! Check out my list of the best books I read in 2020 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2021/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2020.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  17. 4 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    ➸ Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[abusive relationship recounted, revenge pornography, panic attacks, asthma attacks (on-page, multiple), grief & loss depiction, death of a father recounted, cyberbullying & harassment (hide spoiler)] . Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram ➸ Trigger warnings for (view spoiler)[abusive relationship recounted, revenge pornography, panic attacks, asthma attacks (on-page, multiple), grief & loss depiction, death of a father recounted, cyberbullying & harassment (hide spoiler)] . Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jillian Heise

    Leah Johnson's sophomore novel does not disappoint! She writes beautiful heartfelt queer Black girl YA romances that deserve a place in every high school library. The dedication says it all, "To the Black girls who have been told they're too much and to the ones who don't believe they're enough: You are the world's most beautiful song." Leah Johnson's sophomore novel does not disappoint! She writes beautiful heartfelt queer Black girl YA romances that deserve a place in every high school library. The dedication says it all, "To the Black girls who have been told they're too much and to the ones who don't believe they're enough: You are the world's most beautiful song."

  19. 4 out of 5

    cossette

    4.5 rounded up to a 5, i think? thoughts to come. trigger warnings for: death of a parent, grief, slut shaming, cyberbullying, shooting, gun violence, robbery, revenge porn

  20. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    Dnf at 22%. I was simply too bored to keep reading.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alexia

    "If you are silent about your pain, they'll kill you and say you enjoyed it." - Zora Neale Hurston Leah Johnson has this way with words that makes you easily fall in love with her characters. You don't love them in spite of their flaws but because of them. They're fully fleshed out people that even if you don't relate to them, you could imagine them being in your life or running into them at a party. Leah also weaves resilience into her stories so flawlessly. While certain events in this story ar "If you are silent about your pain, they'll kill you and say you enjoyed it." - Zora Neale Hurston Leah Johnson has this way with words that makes you easily fall in love with her characters. You don't love them in spite of their flaws but because of them. They're fully fleshed out people that even if you don't relate to them, you could imagine them being in your life or running into them at a party. Leah also weaves resilience into her stories so flawlessly. While certain events in this story are important in themselves, the book puts its focus on the after effects. How people come together. How Black girls handle grief and betrayal. The ending really was the culmination of that and leaves you hopeful and content. Olivia was beautifully messy. While reading I was like 'wow is this what my friends think about me'. Like if you told me Leah took a trip inside my mind and then wrote this book, I wouldn't doubt you for a second. The first line of this book alone encompasses my entire personality. Also self-sabotaging because they're must be something wrong with you that makes you unworthy of love? HA HA HA *wipes brow* Olivia deserved way more than she thought she did. Either decision she made about the hearing I would have supported her in, but I loved how powerful the moment she decided was. I saw myself in Imani too though so this book was just big "Wow that's me. That's so me." I think this is a great read for anyone who feels they may be in an unbalanced friendship. And the love story was just *chef's kiss*. The kind that can only happen at a festival because where else do you find people you can trust so quickly. I like how Toni and Olivia's relationship didn't solve their problems, but their relationship led them to the realizations they'd had been looking for or needed. And there was a whole plot twist that shook me. Like maybe other people would catch on to it, but I sat there like the white guy blinking meme. And speaking of memes, the pop culture references in this were just perfect and well-timed. Rise to the Sun shows how universal music is through the lens of two Black girls. It's everything I wanted and didn't know I needed. I will probably think of more things to say about it as I sit with it longer, but just go ahead and add it to your TBR if you haven't already. *Thank you to the publisher for the ARC. All opinions are my own*

  22. 4 out of 5

    Books and More with Kristin G

    3.5 stars

  23. 4 out of 5

    elise (the petite punk)

    ☀️ spoiler-free booktube review ☀️ 🎵 spoiler-free reading vlog 🎵 Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I know this is a lot of pressure to put on one book, but Rise to the Sun has been my most anticipated release of 2021. Like, out of all the hundreds of books being released this year. When I first saw the book announcement on Leah Johnson’s Twitter, I immediately fell in love—this is basically the book I’ve been longing for. Queer girls of color ☀️ spoiler-free booktube review ☀️ 🎵 spoiler-free reading vlog 🎵 Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I know this is a lot of pressure to put on one book, but Rise to the Sun has been my most anticipated release of 2021. Like, out of all the hundreds of books being released this year. When I first saw the book announcement on Leah Johnson’s Twitter, I immediately fell in love—this is basically the book I’ve been longing for. Queer girls of color at a music festival? Who are messy, real, and figuring out their place in the world? Sign me up. I’ve been dreaming about this book finally being in my hands for so many months and I am so grateful I got the opportunity to read an advanced copy. Rise to the Sun follows our two main characters, Toni and Olivia, who stumble into each other at a music festival. Together, they decide to try to win a competition at the festival but as some dark and complex situations emerge, Toni and Olivia both have some difficult thoughts and emotions to sort out. I loved the complexity of emotions this book—the type of complexity that specifically comes from teenage girls who often feel like they don’t have a voice. If you know anything about my reading taste, I have a great appreciation for young adult main characters who are lost, lonely, confused, and misunderstood, especially those who may not always make the best decisions or hurt others because of their own hurt. This is something to me that feels so real, so relatable, but often so underestimated. Leah Johnson perfectly captures these feelings and the unsteadiness one might feel in their life. I also absolutely adored the setting of this book. I am going to boldly say one of my most missed things because of this pandemic has been live music. Concerts and festivals have consistently been the #1 thing I always look forward to, so it was so fun reading a book in such a familiar setting. I also really loved that pop punk was mentioned once in awhile because I grew up seeing bands of that genre. Shout out to Leah Johnson for reminding me that I bought Fall Out Boy tickets in 2019 (I think?) and STILL haven't been able to go because of the pandemic. The one thing I disliked was the alternate POVs. I did enjoy seeing both sides to these characters, but I typically find that dual POVs weakens the overall connection one feels to a book. I kept getting character details mixed up, as I often do when it comes to more than one point of view. However, this is just a personal preference and I'm sure it won't bother everyone! I just prefer a bit more closeness to a main character. The chapters were also quite short which I usually don't mind, but because there was two POVs, I felt like I only got a glimpse of events from one character before the book switched over to another character. TWs: panic attacks, death of a parent, guns/shooting, feelings of abandonment, revenge porn (non-consensual image sharing) ✧ ✧ ✧ ≪reading 31 books for 31 days of july≫ ╰┈➤ 1. the ones we're meant to find by joan he ╰┈➤ 2. rise to the sun by leah johnson

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Olivia and Imani head to Georgia for a three day Farmland music festival. It's an opportunity for Olivia to escape a situation back home in Indiana -- something that caused her deep pain -- but she lies to her mother to make it happen. Imani is looking forward to a solid three days of friends-only time and Liv makes the promise this is what they'll be doing. Enter Toni and Peter. They're also at the festival and they're long-time attendees. Toni's father was a musician and despite how much he was Olivia and Imani head to Georgia for a three day Farmland music festival. It's an opportunity for Olivia to escape a situation back home in Indiana -- something that caused her deep pain -- but she lies to her mother to make it happen. Imani is looking forward to a solid three days of friends-only time and Liv makes the promise this is what they'll be doing. Enter Toni and Peter. They're also at the festival and they're long-time attendees. Toni's father was a musician and despite how much he was absent in her life (and the pain of unexpectedly losing him in a way that was traumatic), she's drawn to it. But she's torn between taking a safe choice going to college or taking a chance at making a crack at music. She sees things in black and white. When Toni and Olivia crash into one another, it's a quick crush. But over the course of three days, the two girls have their ups and downs, challenge themselves to work through their pasts, and rectify the relationships in their lives that matter to them most. I love Johnson's writing and her complex and compelling characters. There might, however, be a little too much going on in this book, as well as maybe a bit too little. That's a contradiction, of course; perhaps a better explanation is that the things that happened distracted a little bit from the things that could have been expanded. The first two days of the festival dragged, and when there's a Big Incident, it's a quick run through day three, which was the most compelling and engaging. A solid read about friendship, queer romances, tackling your personal challenges, as well as learning how to see and understand the world in shades of gray.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kate (GirlReading)

    3.5* A lovely f/f contemporary about love, friendship and the magic of live music. Although I didn't adore this quite as much as Leah Johnson's debut, I'm still so excited about her writing and story telling. She writes in a way that makes you instantly care about what she has to say and fly through her books with comfort and ease. TW: gun violence 3.5* A lovely f/f contemporary about love, friendship and the magic of live music. Although I didn't adore this quite as much as Leah Johnson's debut, I'm still so excited about her writing and story telling. She writes in a way that makes you instantly care about what she has to say and fly through her books with comfort and ease. TW: gun violence

  26. 4 out of 5

    Danika at The Lesbrary

    This is an absorbing read that left my heart aching for Toni and Olivia (and Imani). I love how much depth there is to both characters and everyone’s interactions. This could easily have been a much simpler summer love story, and I would have enjoyed that too, but instead it felt much more messy and realistic. I appreciated Olivia’s journey to recognizing both her faults (and the damage they’ve caused) as well as her self-worth. I know I’m the last one on the Leah Johnson train, but let me just This is an absorbing read that left my heart aching for Toni and Olivia (and Imani). I love how much depth there is to both characters and everyone’s interactions. This could easily have been a much simpler summer love story, and I would have enjoyed that too, but instead it felt much more messy and realistic. I appreciated Olivia’s journey to recognizing both her faults (and the damage they’ve caused) as well as her self-worth. I know I’m the last one on the Leah Johnson train, but let me just confirm what everyone’s been saying: she’s a star. Full review at the Lesbrary.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Simant Verma

    16 October, 2020: And we have a cover!! and by POC self is so happy to see two strong black girls on the cover 😍 22 September, 2020: I have a thing for stories set in "x" number of days 😁 I can't wait to see what kind of magic a music festival can create between two strangers in a span of 4 days! 16 October, 2020: And we have a cover!! and by POC self is so happy to see two strong black girls on the cover 😍 22 September, 2020: I have a thing for stories set in "x" number of days 😁 I can't wait to see what kind of magic a music festival can create between two strangers in a span of 4 days!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    After absolutely adoring You Should See Me In a Crown last year, I was so ready to fall in love with this new one from Leah Johnson. Overall, it was a fun ride! If you’re looking for a cute summer read about Black queer girls, this fits the bill for sure. This book also tackles some deeper issues like racism, grief, gun violence, anxiety, and sexual harassment. So while it has its lighter, fun moments, Leah Johnson never shys away from deeper issues, which is a reason why I love her books However After absolutely adoring You Should See Me In a Crown last year, I was so ready to fall in love with this new one from Leah Johnson. Overall, it was a fun ride! If you’re looking for a cute summer read about Black queer girls, this fits the bill for sure. This book also tackles some deeper issues like racism, grief, gun violence, anxiety, and sexual harassment. So while it has its lighter, fun moments, Leah Johnson never shys away from deeper issues, which is a reason why I love her books However, I did find this book to be lacking a lot in terms of development of the characters. I just wanted MORE. It just felt quite repetitive for me towards the middle of the book and like nothing was really happening. It felt like we were going around in circles. I also did not feel very connected with Olivia or Toni. Also there were certain sub-plots that I don’t think got enough time to shine. It felt quite rushed towards the end and dragging in the middle I suppose... if that makes sense xD Overall though, it was a good read and I’m glad I read it! I can’t wait to read what Leah Johnson comes out with next!!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Vee_Bookish

    this is gonna look so good with You Should See Me In A Crown

  30. 5 out of 5

    Janna

    I really loved Leah Johnson's novel "You Should See Me In A Crown" last year, but I've got a bit more mixed feelings about this one. I still enjoyed it though! First of all, I was very happy about the content warnings that were given before the first chapter. Just like it should be done in every book! We've got two different perspectives: Toni and Olivia who meet at a music festival. They're messy characters, they have to deal with their own individual struggles while getting to know each other: g I really loved Leah Johnson's novel "You Should See Me In A Crown" last year, but I've got a bit more mixed feelings about this one. I still enjoyed it though! First of all, I was very happy about the content warnings that were given before the first chapter. Just like it should be done in every book! We've got two different perspectives: Toni and Olivia who meet at a music festival. They're messy characters, they have to deal with their own individual struggles while getting to know each other: grief and heartbreak and their futures after graduating high school are part of those. I liked that the chapters were short, it was fast paced just like how I would expect and want a short contemporary read to be! There's bisexual representation and a few discussions about the biphobia and stereotypes bi people have to face, that was amazing. I didn't particularly fancy the insta love part of this book though. I'm always a bit hesitant about rushed romances like that. Sometimes it's just a bit too much if characters have such DEEP feelings for each other after two days of knowing each other.. Even though there's a content warning for gun violence, I wasn't prepared for how big of a role it was going to play. That is MY fault. For me it was really difficult to read because I am very scared of shootings during concerts/festivals and this definitely hit the spot for me, so I just wanted to share that with you, in case that's a trigger for you as well. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a sapphic contemporary romance story that doesn't shy away from heavy topics, but still highlights the joy of music, romance and friendship! content warnings: parental loss, panic attacks, gun violence, shooting, nonconsensual image sharing, asthma attacks, bullying

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