The Song that Moves the Sun, the latest from Anna Bright, is a stunning celestial fantasy that also powerfully tackles the subject of mental health.
Anxious with a capital A
Rora has struggled with anxiety for her entire life, but since she was mugged six weeks ago, it has completely spiraled out of control. She washes her hands constantly. She’s jumpy in public. She runs through her fears in her mind over and over again. And it’s not only in her head… for the past six weeks, something is definitely wrong.
Six weeks ago, Claudia’s twin brother screwed up one too many times, so their parents sent him away. Without Jack, Claudia doesn’t feel complete. She feels wrong. In his absence, she has clung more tightly to Rora, her best friend, who makes her feel needed.
Since her anxiety has gotten worse, the only thing that brings Rora peace is the music of her favorite band, Ad Astra. On the night that this story begins, she and Claudia plan to meet at Ad Astra’s concert. When they arrive, however, the world only gets more strange.
At the venue, they meet two boys, Major and Amir, who aren’t from Earth. They traveled from a celestial city, one of many, hoping to find Rora, hoping that she can help them fix the spheres, which are ruled by the magic of the astrological signs. It turns out that there is disharmony in the spheres, which has led to chaos in the spheres and on earth. They believe Rora is the key, begging her to come with them, even if it sounds crazy.
Perfect for astrology lovers… just not me
This world that Anna Bright built is incredible. Each planet is intricately designed, with its own people and landscape and unique song. Throughout it all, she seamlessly weaves in the lore of the astrological signs. While I love her creativity, it just didn’t connect with me. Maybe it’s because I know nothing about astrology and couldn’t care less. Shocking, I know. I’m a rebel. But I know that so many YA readers go deep into the lore of astrology, and readers, this story is for you! For me, it made the story drag a bit. I just wanted to race from romantic scene to romantic scene!
Another element that made the story drag for me was the interludes that told the love story of Dante and Beatrice. While Bright cleverly made some connections between the two stories, I still felt very uninterested in their story and mostly skimmed these chapters.
Finally, good female friendship representation!
What I loved about this book were the relationships. Of course both couples were completely adorable. Major particularly warmed my heart with his bright, sunny personality and the way he utterly adored Rora. But the standout was the friendship between Rora and Claudia. While they were extremely close, their friendship felt authentic, and I think that is because it wasn’t without flaws. They love each other fiercely, but they fight fiercely as well. Their fighting showcases how mental illness can strain your relationships with others, but also how love can help you work through those struggles. It was truly beautiful.
If you love astrology, gorgeous celestial worlds, and star-crossed love, go buy this book today. If you’re just two out of three, give it a try too. You never know—it might surprise you.
The Song that Moves the Sun by Anna Bright was released on June 28th, 2022.