cover image Rise to the Sun

Rise to the Sun

Leah Johnson. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-338-66223-8

Johnson’s (You Should See Me in a Crown) sophomore work sees chronically heartbroken 16-year-old Olivia Brooks fleeing Indiana to Georgia’s Farmland Music and Arts Festival to outrun the painful betrayal of her latest ex-boyfriend. Prone to falling in love at the drop of a hat, Olivia promises her ride-or-die bestie that this festival weekend will be crush-free—but then she meets 17-year-old Toni Foster. Toni, a Farmland regular since childhood, is returning for the first time since the untimely death of her tour manager father eight months prior. A week from reluctantly starting her freshman year at Indiana University, Toni has come to Farmland to find her real purpose and rediscover the music she lost when her dad died, but what she finds is Olivia. Johnson’s strengths are on full display in snappy dialogue that sings, heart-stopping romance, and realistically flawed Black teen characters learning from their mistakes, one by one. Underlying these strengths are the looming specters of revenge porn and fatal gun violence. Here, Johnson pens a love letter to the healing power of music, enduring friendship, summertime love stories, and hard-won resilience. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Sarah Landis, Sterling Lord Literistic. (July) [/em]