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Harley in the Sky

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  89 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Harley Milano has dreamed of being a trapeze artist for as long as she can remember. With parents who run a famous circus in Las Vegas, she spends almost every night in the big top watching their lead aerialist perform, wishing with all her soul that she could be up there herself one day.

After a huge fight with her parents, who continue to insist she go to school instead,
Paperback, 384 pages
Expected publication: March 10th 2020 by Ink Road
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Average rating 4.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  89 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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may ➹
Jun 06, 2019 marked it as to-read
Akemi constantly gets the most beautiful covers to complement her beautiful writing and this time is no different!!!!
Frank-Intergalactic Bookdragon
Update June 2019
The fact Akemi Dawn Bowman's books all have matching cover designs pleases me on a deep level.

Prereview September 2018
After finishing Starfish last night at one in the morning I desperately need more from this author.
Elora   Cook
Mar 03, 2018 marked it as to-read
I will read anything Akemi gives me. Shhh, no questions. Anything. Even a grocery list.
I got this book in my September, 2019 The Book Hookup Young Adult Subscription box, presented by The Strand Bookstore, and I was pretty thrilled to read this as the synopsis sounds absolutely intriguing. What I appreciated most about this story was the beautiful, diverse cultural backgrounds of the main characters, Harley (Japanese/American) and Vas (Russian/English), and the supportive roles such as Dexi and Vivien. It was delightful to read more about the culture shock as well as how these ...more
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, family, physical-arc
Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a free ARC in exchange for an honest review

This book is the best book I've read this year easily. Maybe the best book I read counting 2019 too.
The multiracial rep... it's what I've been looking for my whole life and I'm sobbing I've ever felt so represented, so heard, so loved before in a book.


Full review (and it's very full I wrote like a 10 page essay about how much I loved this book) to come closer to pub date!
Feb 02, 2018 marked it as to-read
i dont care what she writes im reading all of it
rebeccca elane (pistachiobooks)
Thank you to the author for organising the street-team and providing us with ARC’s!

Came for a contemporary about literally running away to join the circus and stayed for the mental health rep and discussions about identity and not wanting to follow a certain path. It’s no secret that Akemi Dawn Bowman is one of my favourite YA contemporary authors, not only because of her passionate, well-defined characters but also because of the way she explores themes in a way that’s accessible for multiple
Swetlana (The Caffeinated Bookworm Life)
Update: September 17th, 2019 - I finished this the other day and while I won't be sharing a review & rating for a few more months, just know that I loved this book a lot! I really like the way the author handles topics of mental health and identity here and kept finding myself in bits and pieces of Harley's character. This was a great read and if you like contemporaries that deal with more serious topics - this could definitely be the book for you!

I'm incredibly lucky and happy to be part of
Raquel Irvine
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
** I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review **

I strongly believe Akemi Dawn Bowman is the queen of emotional character development and Harley in the Sky is a perfect example of Bowman’s expertise in weaving a novel full of emotional highs and lows that are both incredibly touching and very raw.

Harley wants to join her family’s circus but her parents want Harley to think of her long term goals and go to university. When her parents push Harley to the breaking point, she runs away and
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, e-book
I absolutely loved this book, and I’m quite sad that I finished it already.
Harley is such an amazing, real character and I could relate to her feelings and that really meant something to me. I also adore books that involves a circus, and a cast of great characters! Can’t wait for the release of this amazing book on March 10, 2020

*I received an earc, but all opinions are my own!
Dec 25, 2019 added it
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC. I’ll post a review upon publication.
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The easiest route is sometimes the hardest. And its easier to understand if you explain it. But to fly, that requires trust in yourself and the support system under you.
Emma Ferrier
I kept putting off writing this review because I so desperately wanted to do it justice, but I just don't think I can find the right words because I am so in awe with this book. I finished this three weeks ago and I'm still suffering a book hangover. I've barely read anything because this was just SO GOOD and I want need more.

Harley in the Sky is a beautiful book set predominantly within a travelling circus... a circus that rivals our main characters parents own. The setting was so fun and it
julianna ➹
[whirls around like a tv cars salesman] do you have literally none of that cash money in your bank account? say no more!! look at this book

also the cover is literally gorgeous
Taylor (Frayed Books)
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was simply wonderful. All of Akemi’s books have such unique premises and this one is no different!

Harley explores and finds herself over the course of this book and I really felt so connected to her character. There is mental health rep in it as well.

Full review to come on Frayed Books closer to release! (March 2020)
Jessica Earl
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Delicious descriptions of scenery!
Harley's feelings and emotions drew me in. I found I could completely relate to her. For me, this story was an excellent depiction of anxiety and depression and the manic that can happen before a crash. And the way that affects those around you.
Additionally, the circus descriptions were stunning and made me want to attend!
caitlin ✶
Jun 14, 2019 marked it as to-read
Akemi Dawn Bowman’s covers, along with her writing, are to die for ...more
Diana (booksinarmor)
Oct 20, 2018 marked it as to-read
I'll read anything by Akemi after Starfish, shes so freaking underrated!
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
*Spoiler free*

I enjoyed Starfish a lot, and while I haven't read Summer Bird Blue yet, I was really, really looking forward to Harley In The Sky! I'm lucky enough to be apart of the street team for the book, and Akemi was kind enough to provide an e-ARC for us to read! And wow, this book is very wow. Trigger warnings: depression, mood swings, heart attack, references to suicidal ideation

I don't think I've ever been to the circus. It doesn't quite seem like my thing; I feel like I would get
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Harley in the Sky is a story about following your dreams, sticking to them when things get tough, but it is also a story about remembering who and what matters most.

Harley’s parents run a circus, so she’s grown up watching the acts and falling in love with its magic. After a fight with her parents - who insist she goes to college and forget her dream to be an aerialist - she betrays them and runs off to a rival circus.
Here she learns that the circus isn’t just magic. It’s hard work. And
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book follows Harley, who has the big dream of becoming an aerialist but her parent's don't support her. She runs away from home and joins a circus with a pretty shady image: Maison du Mystère. Here she doesn't have the best of luck since their current aerialist Maggie sees Harley as a rival and doesn't not want to train her and spreads nasty rumors about Harley. She has to fight for her spot but luckily there are just a few people who support her and don't believe Maggie.

I really liked
Haley Renee The Caffeinated Reader
Full Review to be posted on the blog on March 10

Content/Trigger Warnings from the Author's Site: Depression, mood swings, references to suicidal ideation, heart attack

This was a truly beautiful book, it was a tribute from Akemi Dawn Bowman to mental health, dreams, and creativity. I loved the duality of Harley's mental health and her cultural identity, they each were part of her reasons she felt the Circus was the place for her, someplace to call home because it contains those who were
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another beautifully written, heart wrenching book from Akemi Dawn Bowman. (Is it even an Akemi Dawn Bowman book if it doesn't make you cry at least once?)

When Harley's parents--owners of the most famous circus in Las Vegas--refuse to listen to her dreams of becoming an aerialist, she runs away to the circus. Another circus, that is. But despite the deal she made with the ringmaster, the show's static trapeze artist refuses to train her, and Harley is left feeling like an outcast. Training every
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Series Info/Source: I got an eGalley of this book from to review. This is a stand alone book.

Story (4/5): This is, at heart, a coming of age story about Harley who is desperate to pursue a career as a trapeze artist while her parents would prefer her to go to school. I enjoyed the circus setting and Harley’s steadfast determination to follow her dreams. It was an engaging story that was a quick read for me.

Characters (4/5): The characters are complex and well done, even the side
Tristan Munoz
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Harley's dream is to fly across the Teatro della Notte’s big top on a trapeze. This shouldn't be a problem because her parents own the circus. But they want her to go to college, not perform in their circus. Harley betrays her parents and joins a competing circus, the Maison du Mystere.

This is the first book I have read by Akemi Dawn Bowman, but now I want to read more of them! I really liked that this book explores mental health and questions of identity. Harley and her mother both have
Amanda Shepard (Between-the-Shelves)
Read my full review at

One of the most alluring things about this book is Harley's drive to follow her dreams. While her path hurts a lot of people along the way, she's not afraid to go after what she wants. Harley is brave, even if she is a bit impulsive at times. You're rooting for her throughout the entire book, desperately wanting her to succeed at what she's always dreamed of: being able to fly in the circus. You're also rooting for the fully fleshed out side
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
“Relationships are like most living things-if you don’t nurture them, they’ll die.” -Harley in the Sky

Harley in the Sky is about chasing your dreams and sticking it out when things get tough. It’s a story about having the courage to go after what you want, but being conscious of how what you do impacts others.

I didn’t really feel it with this book. I didn’t like any of the characters, including Harley. And a lot of the interactions between people felt forced and unrealistic. By the halfway point
Jella Erhard
I loved this book so much, read it in two days. If you love stories about circus life that gets into details while still staying magical then you'll love this Harley's story.

Harley is not a flawless character although I don't think any good character should be and she does what everyone should; fight for her dreams. On the way, she learns to consider others and try and grow as a person and be more considerate and understanding. I loved getting to know her and found it relatable and agreed with
Tristan Munoz
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Harley's dream is to fly across the Teatro della Notte’s big top on a trapeze. This shouldn't be a problem because her parents own the circus. But they want her to go to college, not perform in their circus. Harley betrays her parents and joins a competing circus, the Maison du Mystere.

This is the first book I have read by Akemi Dawn Bowman, but now I want to read more of them! I really liked that this book explores mental health and questions of identity. Harley and her mother both have
Asiana Circus
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With atmospheric and beautiful writing style Akemi Dawn Bowman tells the story of Harley who runs away with a rival circus to become a successful trapeze artist. She does this against her parents' wishes who want her to go to university.

It's a magical modern-day YA story of growing up and growing as a person that teaches us that if you're ready to fight for your dreams then you should also be ready to work hard, get ready to fail and get up over and over again until you get what you want.

We get
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Akemi Dawn Bowman is the author of William C. Morris Award Finalist STARFISH, SUMMER BIRD BLUE, and HARLEY IN THE SKY. Her upcoming sci-fi series, THE INFINITY COURTS, is set to release in 2021, followed by her middle-grade debut, GENERATION MISFITS. A proud Ravenclaw and Star Wars enthusiast, she has a BA in social sciences from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She currently lives in Scotland ...more