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Waking Up the Sun

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  37 ratings  ·  31 reviews
When Lander accepts a dare to go into the forest at night he thinks it’ll be easy. He just needs to walk in and then come out, right? But that’s easier said than done. It’s like the trees have a mind of their own, and they are stopping him from finding his way back. There were always stories of people getting lost forever in the forest, but Lander had never considered they ...more
Published July 15th 2019 by Nine Star Press
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Average rating 3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  37 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Joyfully Jay
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: michelle
A Joyfully Jay review.

3.75 stars

Lander never seemed to fit in with the other boys in his village, was bullied for years, and even his own parents see him as a disappointment. He suffers from anxiety and has no support. He’s intrigued by Yban, first because Yban can keep him safe, but he’s also attracted to Yban and has genuine feelings for him. The men develop a bond being out in the forest and slowly grow their relationship to include intimacy.

Waking up the Sun is based on Basque myths and rea
M.A. Hinkle
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I worry that people won't appreciate this little gem of a book because it's so quiet and low conflict. But that's why I loved it. I too would love to disappear into a magic forest, meet the perfect person for me, and heal some suffering creatures before returning to the normal world as a better version of myself. (Really, you had me at the magic forest part, but the rest of it is great too.)

This book also has such GREAT anxiety rep. Lander does not magically get better. His medicine is a necessa
Wart Hill
Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-2019, queer, lgbtq
I received a free ARC in exchange for an honest review

This is such a beautiful and sweet little fairy tale!

I loved Lander, he's such a sweetheart. I also loved the depiction of anxiety in this, how Lander managed and lived with it. It was so different to finally have a fantasy novel that not only had an anxious character but one who was able to get treatment for it!

I loved Yban. I loved him slowly opening up as he got to know Lander and the development of their relationship as they get to know
Kelsie ♡
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.75 Stars

Sweet and low angst story. Kind of simple, but sometimes that’s refreshing. I enjoyed watching the blossoming slow-burn relationship between Lander and Yban and learning more about the mythical history of the forest. Also really enjoyed the representation of someone with anxiety and someone who (though not specifically stated) appears to be demi-sexual.

If you’re looking for an earnest and straightforward romance with a magical element definitely give this one a chance.

*ARC kindle pro
Dannica Zulestin
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: m-m, novella, quiltbag
This book has a lot of good aspects but for some reason just didn't work for me.

The basic plot is that an eighteen year old dude goes into an enchanted forest on a dare and then can't find his way out. He eventually meets another guy who appears to be about twenty-one but has actually been in the forest for twenty years without aging. Scary stuff. Neither of them can get out of the forest, which has a shifting landscape and is very spooky. Eventually they fall in love and try to work their way o
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, netgalley
Thanks to Netgalley for the complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

This story was super sweet and had the fairy tale feeling that I was looking for. The forest felt like another character without being cheesy. The details about Lander's anxiety and his healing magic as well as Yban's backstory made them fully fleshed out characters. I loved watching them slowly getting more comfortable with each other as they each revealed their pasts and quirks.

Since it was mostly just the two of
Oct 03, 2019 marked it as dnf
dnf @63%
Shee Reader
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Waking Up the Sun By Laura Bailo

Reviewed by Shee Reader for Boy Meets Boy Reviews

Find us on the web at

Rating 5 Hearts


When Lander accepts a dare to go into the forest at night, he thinks it’ll be easy. He just needs to walk in and then come out, right? But that’s easier said than done. It’s like the trees have a mind of their own, and they are stopping him from finding his way back. There were always stories of people getting lost forever in the forest, but Lander
I had a hard time figuring out if I liked this book or not. To be honest, I'm still not sure.

I liked the world and the premise, but it didn't live up to my expectations. The casual fantasy/magic, the magic forest, the creatures that inhabit it: everything was great. I actually wanted more of that strange forest and more creatures, but it wasn't the focus of the story (and that's okay).

I liked the rep, too. I loved how important Lander's anxiety was. Important might not be the word, but what I m
This honestly bored me a lot. Where the premise is interesting and I’m all for indulging in LGBT+ literature, everything about this was like trying to swallow a pack of saltines to me. I don’t know if it was because of the pacing or the fact that I couldn’t connect to the characters in any way, it just didn’t work for me.

TL;DR — eighteen-year-old Lander goes into a magical forest on a dare and can’t find his way out. Eventually, he meets Yban, who has also been stuck in the forest for twenty yea
Sara Codair
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Waking Up the Sun was a cute romance set in a dark yet enchanting forest where two people, the only two people in the forest, gradually fall in love with each other.

My favorite part about this was the mental illness representation. The main characters panic attacks, combine with his description of his cycles of anxiety and depression, felt true and relatable.

More importantly, both the main character and the narrative voice had a positive attitude towards medication. The main character had a po
Jul 02, 2019 rated it liked it
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Welp, that was a bummer... My first EARC provided by NetGalley that I DNF'd. Sadly, I couldn't continue this book primarily because of its writing style. I hated the continuous "he did this... then he did this...he picked up this...". I missed internal monologues and diverse sentence structures to create some sort of mystical feel to, not only the forest in which Lander is stuck but also his own character as he is, ap
Jul 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, sci-fi-fantasy
Waking Up The Sun reads like a fairy tale or a parable. It’s a fairly simplistic plot (it’s less than a hundred pages), but what it lacks in complexity it makes up for with sensitivity and diversity. Lander is a lovely young man who has been bullied in his home town. It’s bullying that leads him to accept a dare that sends him into the woods.

Once Lander is alone in the forest he’s heard so much about, the reader is made aware that he lives with panic and anxiety. Bailo does a great job of descri
Belinda Zamora
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting story. Lander has grown up a victim of bullying because he's different and doesn't seem to posses much magic in a world where magic is essential. Tired of the bullies and lonliness, he takes them up on a dare to enter a forrest where people disappear. Once inside, he finds the old tales are true. At least for him. After wandering for an undetermined amount of time, he almost injures himself and stumbles upon Yban. He seems to know things about the forrest and sets out to ...more
Katja M
Absolutely loved this book! I don't want to spoil the story, but it is a very sweet short story, featuring magic, mystery and romance.

The main character suffers from anxiety, which I believe was tactfully and somehow beautifully described. He is relatable, and quite genuine. I enjoyed the fact that the main character was not all-powerful in the way that most characters tend to be.

The romance progresses gently, but I could not help cheering for the characters when they finally got together! I ma
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019, fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
H. Taylor
Jul 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
This is going to be a short review, because I don’t have a lot to say about this one.

I just...don’t think this was for me, which is disappointing because I thought I would be THE target audience. I mean the pitch was queer MCs, romance, with a fantasy element; what more could I possibly want?!

Unfortunately I didn’t find the beginning compelling. The characters were a bit ‘whatever’ and the writing itself wasn’t for me. It read a little too young for me. Overall, it was all just a little too ave
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of Waking Up the Sun by Laura Bailo via IndiGo Marketing & Design in exchange for an honest review. This story is a fun blend of traditional fairy tales and myths and the reality of noncis people. I especially liked how Yban’s sexuality was introduced in a very natural way, fitting for one who has lived in the woods for twenty years. I figured Lander would wind up using his talents to eventually free them but did not anticipate a few necessary steps for it to happen. Their life ...more
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I actually read this one a while ago and am catching up on reviews so I'm afraid I won't do it justice, but as soon as I finished I wanted to read again. Just one of those stories. Lander is such awesome anxiety rep to me, I related so much. No magic cure, no "love fixed me." I have read so many books like that lately and it hurts, but this one I would fully recommend to someone like me because it's safe. And the romance really blossomed in such a beautiful way between the MCs! I liked how non-a ...more
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
A sweet and simple short story.

I enjoyed how Lander and Yban took a little bit of time before starting a relationship, and that they listened and trusted one another no matter what was said. Yban was just so sweet and I felt bad for his situation, but I’m so glad Lander didn’t back down from the stupid dare and the two got to meet in a magical forest.

There’s not a lot of action in this story and very low angst, but I found myself engaged in Lander and Ybans story. I wanted to see if they wo
Isabelle Adler
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
This is a wonderfully sweet M/M romance novella, especially notable for the way it portrays anxiety and demisexuality. The setting, with all the elements of Basque mythology woven in, is absolutely enchanting, and I wish we could learn more about the forest and all its secrets as yet undiscovered.
I also loved the inclusion of a trans secondary character that is so important to the MC, Lander.
I'm more than ready for a series of stories set in the same world, exploring the myths and legends of thi
Aug 07, 2019 rated it liked it
The anxiety representation is good, but I do think that's probably the best part of the story for me. It's a fairly short read but I still feel like we could have gotten to know the characters a little more. The story seemed a little two dimensional at times and read more with the feel of a fairy tale but with too much realism to really work as a fairy tale. It's a bit hard to describe but I'll just say I guess the writing wasn't really for me.
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
A sweet simple story and refreshing read I really enjoyed this book and it stayed with me after i finished its. I do like a slow burn fantasy book and this ticked all the boxes. I loved Lander and Yban and there romance was so sweet I would really recommend this book.
I received this book from netgallery in exchange for a honest review
Hairann Hairann
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Although I thought the end was a bit anti-climatic, it was a sweet and interesting story. The anxiety rep was really thought out and well done. I loved learning about the history of the forest and I hope she writes more about the world she created in the future.
Joscelyn Smith
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a very enjoyable low-angst story. Lander and Yban were such interesting characters and I loved how the author dealt with Lander's anxiety. The storyline was well-written and had great character growth, it was a very enjoyable read.

*I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book*
Aug 26, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: arc-s, own-them
What a wonderful novella! As a person with high anxiety, it was actually nice to read about a character with the same problem and be able to work through it to have a happy life. I enjoyed reading about these two very wonderful men.
Kriz M
Aug 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Great anxiety rep for sure. Other than that i don't have a lot to say until i gather my thought's about this one.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review*
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book for when you want something quiet and honest and low on the angst scale. It’s soothing and real but full of mythology and fairy tale components. Thoroughly enjoyed.

A+ anxiety rep and demi or ace rep

I received this arc from Netgalley, etc etc
Jul 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
good.. some spots were a bit... odd.. hard to follow but overall i really enjoyed it.. the story was a lot of fun to read and interesting. it was different which is nice.
Kristīne Vītola
Demisexual SC (Yban)
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Laura Bailo is an asexual Spanish author of queer romance. She’s an anxiety-ridden writer who, when not writing or reading, loves exploring the narrow streets of Pamplona and thinking about all the stories she wants to write in the future. She has a penchant for writing sweet stories with a Spanish flavor, be it fantasy or contemporary, and she’s still dreaming about writing her first historical. ...more

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