Book Reviews

Review: Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson

I loved Johnson’s debut, You Should See Me in a Crown, so I was so excited for this sophomore book! Music festivals, sapphic relationships, and dual POV? Count me in! Keep reading this book review to find out what I thought about this highly anticipated book!


Three days. Two girls. One life-changing music festival.

Toni is grieving the loss of her roadie father and needing to figure out where her life will go from here — and she’s desperate to get back to loving music. Olivia is a hopeless romantic whose heart has just taken a beating (again) and is beginning to feel like she’ll always be a square peg in a round hole — but the Farmland Music and Arts Festival is a chance to find a place where she fits.

The two collide and it feels like something like kismet when a bond begins to form. But when something goes wrong and the festival is sent into a panic, Olivia and Toni will find that they need each other (and music) more than they ever imagined.


(I received this ARC as a part of the Miss Print Arc Adoption Program!).

TW: panic attacks, parental death, shooting

The chemistry in Rise to the Sun works so well to not only convey a story about love, but also one about self-acceptance. While I loved reading the POVs of both Olivia and Toni – especially their interactions with each other – what I loved even more was watching both of their journeys unfolding. The way that Johnson sets up these pieces of the stories, and seemingly opposite forces, and allows them to be drawn together. Olivia’s feelings of being “too much” struck a chord within me.

How one wonders if they’re just too much for someone, just waiting for that one moment before someone leaves. And all the ways society can convince us it’s a flaw to be ourselves. Rise to the Sun was fast paced and engaging and the dual POV worked so well to bring the characters to life. To witness their dynamic. The tension brought from yearning, the teasing and hesitant banter, and the vulnerability we allow ourselves. It is universally relatable and ridiculously hard to let people see our vulnerabilities. To accept the potential for pain and to break out of our own self-absorption.


But Rise to the Sun delivers a story that is perfect for the summer. With descriptive and nuanced characters, swoonworthy scenes, and conversations about friendship, it’s just the contemporary I was looking for at the moment. If you found yourself drawn to the characters in You Should See Me in a Crown, Johnson maintains that attention to character development in this new story!

(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)

Find Rise to the Sun on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


Do you have a favorite music festival?

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