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Harley in the Sky

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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,243 ratings  ·  338 reviews
“Earnest, poetic.” —Booklist
“Raw, engaging.” —Kirkus Reviews

The Greatest Showman meets This Is Us by way of Sarah Dessen in this heart-wrenching, hopeful contemporary novel about a multiracial teen who risks it all to follow her dreams by joining the circus, from the award-winning author of Starfish.

Harley Milano has dreamed of becoming a trapeze artist for as long as sh
...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published March 10th 2020 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Logan There is no overt sexual content (aside from romantic interactions and intense kissing sometimes), but there is no violence (aside from a circus knife…moreThere is no overt sexual content (aside from romantic interactions and intense kissing sometimes), but there is no violence (aside from a circus knife throwing act which does not involve people). I would add a content warning for death mention/suicide idolization in one scene, but it’s treated gently. (less)

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Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,243 ratings  ·  338 reviews


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may ➹
I think the best part of this book was when I was reading it at 2am, saw the words “his adorably pointed ears,” and instantly thought, “CARDAN?????”
NReads
Mar 23, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
take my money now
Frank-Intergalactic Bookdragon
"Sometimes impulsive feels like magic."

My expectations were sky high yet they were still exceeded.

Akemi Dawn Bowman's books mean a lot to me. Starfish is my favorite book of all time and Summer Bird Blue was cathartic and helped me figure out I'm on the aro/ace spectrums. Her newest book is no exception. Harley in the Sky is both relatable and extremely entertaining, I wouldn't be surprised if it's the best thing I read all year.

The book follows a girl running away from her parents, who own a ci
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Akemi Dawn Bowman
Mar 14, 2020 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
HARLEY IN THE SKY is officially out in the world, so I guess it’s a good time to mention how grateful I am to each and every one of you for reading this book. It means the world, truly.

One of the things I get asked the most is why I chose to write this story. And recently, I was given the chance to write a guest piece about the inspiration behind HARLEY IN THE SKY, as well as my thoughts on mental health, labels, and why stories that discuss what it feels like to be living with an undiagnosed m
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Elora  Cook
I will read anything Akemi gives me. Shhh, no questions. Anything. Even a grocery list.
Brenda Waworga
There are books you wish to love.. and you feel bad cause you couldn't connect with the main character and you can't understand the mental health story inside the book and you feel like you are a bad person because of that? that is me with this book!

I hate (duh what a strong word) the main character Harley, she is literally one of the most selfish person i have ever read, being an ambitious one is okay but meaning to hurt your parents and bestfriends and people who genuinely love you for the amb
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BookNightOwl
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman is my first book I have read from this author. Thank you Netgalley and Simon and Shuster for a copy of this ARC for an honest review.

Harley Milano comes from a family of Circus Performers as well as her family owns the most famous circus in Las Vegas. She wants to be a Trapeze Artist but her parents want her to stay in school and go to college. Then one day Harley feels like her parents are just not listening to her dreams so she decides to join their revi
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The Nerd Daily
Feb 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Nathalie DeFelice

I was swept away by my emotions while I was reading Harley in the Sky. I don’t think I’ve ever related so much to a character, and I think it might portray the story of lots of young people that might also feel the same way. The topic of mental health was not one I was expecting to encounter in a story about trapeze artists and circus tents, yet it was exactly this story that made me weep uncontrollably. This story about identit
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Kay
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a free ARC in exchange for an honest review
all quotes taken from the ARC and may differ slightly in finished version!!

This. Book. This book. Was. Everything.

I had impossibly high expectations going into this book. I love Akemi Dawn Bowman’s other two books, especially Starfish, and I absolutely love the idea of the circus (The Greatest Showman is one of my favorite movies!!) so the moment I heard of this book, I knew that I had to read it. Most of
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Jasmine
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 peo ...more
RoshReviews
Would you like to read a book where the protagonist...
A. serves as a good role model for young readers in terms of her behaviour?
B. does her best to understand the points of view of her family and friends?
C. doesn't allow anything to faze her but keeps her courage in times of difficulty?
D. stands by her decisions and actions, even when times are tough?
E. serves as an inspiration for anyone striving to follow their dreams?

If your answer is YES to any of these, please STAY AWAY from this book. Wha
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Boston
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
jocelyn
Circus books are a niche I will continue to pursue, even though I know I often am setting myself up for failure. I'd heard good things about Akemi Dawn Boman from friends who read her previous books, so when I learned she'd be writing about an aerialist, I smashed the "want to read" button.

Here, we follow Harley, a teen so enraptured with the circus, she decides to pursue her dreams at all costs. While her parents do own a Vegas show and she's grown up around circus artists all her life, they w
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Haya
Feb 02, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
i dont care what she writes im reading all of it
Kate (GirlReading)
I will forever and ever be in complete awe of Akemi Dawn Bowman's talent for writing. The way she uses words is truly something else. She portrays everything with a clear, beautiful, simplicity that can only be achieved with pure talent and artistry.

So, what did I love about this book?

- Harley. Harley might have one of the most honest, raw voices I've read this year and reading through her POV was such a fantastic experience. Her ambition, passion and drive were intoxicating and the thought proc
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Simant Verma
Full review on: Flipping Through the Pages

Akemi Dawn Bowman is one of my favourite authors and like her first book Starfish, I loved Harley too. Trust Akemi to write about identity and mental health issues, and she would do absolute justice to these themes.

Harley in the Sky follows Harley Yoshi Milano, a teen living in Las Vegas, whose parents run the Teatro della Notte circus. Harley dreams of joining her parents’ circus and becoming an aerialist. But her parents refuse that because they want h
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Jessica Haider
Aug 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Harley has just graduated from high school and lives with her family in Las Vegas. Her parents run a famous circus there. Harley dreams of being a trapeze artist and gets upset when her parents refuse to let her train on the trapeze and instead insist that she should go to college. Harley jumps at an opportunity to leave and join a competing circus as a trainee, even if it means burning quite a few bridges.

I find it hard to resist circus stories so this was a fun one for me. Harley is a like-ab
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laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
Harley has dreamed of being a trapeze artist for as long as she can remember. And with her parents owning a literal circus (in Las Vegas), she should be a natural, right? Nope. Her parents keep her grounded and want to her pursue college instead of her dreams. But Harley is not going to sleep on her dream—she's going to pursue it, even if it means running away to join a rival circus.

Welp, milder spoiler, but this book is not about flying motorcycles.

Granted, you probably should have guessed that
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Jess
Mar 31, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first book by this author and I intend to read her other two books she has out. The writing style is just so easy to read and her descriptions flow so well.

This gave me The Greatest Showman vibes so, of course, had to pick this up. I really loves the setting and atmosphere of it all and I really enjoyed the characters and each of their relationships. The exploration of mental health in this book was really incredible too I couldn’t relate to it more if I tried.

My only wishes are that
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Emily
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
“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
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Charvi
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: god-tier
"I only wish my parents could see what this means to me. What it would mean to hold a dream in my palm, press it tight against my heart, and never let it go"

The story took us on a ride with a lot of twists and bumps but it all ended on a heartwarming note. I love how grounded this book was, nothing was exaggerated to make the readers happy, Harley had to face tons of obstacles and in the end, every argument and struggle ended in realistic compromises or the characters having to give up somethin
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Lauren
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

Akemi Dawn Bowman does it again!! My heart and my head are so full right now! She is truly one of the best YA contemporary authors <3

More thoughts to come.
Jude (NovelReader13)
4.5🌟
If you enjoy a good YA/NA contemporary and "circus" is one of your buzz words, then Harley in the Sky might just be the book for you!

Akemi Dawn Bowman's writing is beautiful as always and Ali Ahn does a wonderful job of bringing the characters to life for the audiobook version.

Harley is trying to forge her own path in becoming an aerialist against her parents' wishes, all the while struggling with big mood swings brought on by her depression.
To me, the metal health rep felt really well done
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Viv
Apr 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-stars, young-adult
4.5

akemi dawn bowman surely knows how to write her contemporary ya doesn't she and this one is no exception (ugh her writing is always so heartfelt and the way she would bring up so many important topics/discussions within her works we love to see it)
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Kelsea
4.5 stars!

Once again, Akemi Dawn Bowman offers us a beautiful story full of passion, teens finding their place in the world, difficult family relationships, artist souls, a POC/biracial main character, neurodiverse characters, and so much heart. I'm in awe of the way she can incorporate such timely, vital discussions so smoothly and wonderfully into her books.

ADB's characters aren't always easy to love. They do frustrating or impulsive things. They hurt people when they themselves are hurting. T
...more
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 f
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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 the
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caitlin ✶
Jun 14, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Akemi Dawn Bowman’s covers, along with her writing, are to die for 😭👌🏼
Lance
“Stars shine their brightest in the dark. So take this opportunity, and supernova the shit out of it.”

“I love the circus. I love the mystery, and the wonder, and the way every act transports my soul into another dimension. I love the way it makes me feel as if the world is in reverse and upside down all at once--like there's starlight beneath my feet and the ocean above my head, and every impossible dream can come true with a single whisper.”

“I don't want to be perfect. I want to be vulnerabl
...more
gabbyisreadingnow
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I. Am. In. LOVE!😍
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1,105 followers
Akemi Dawn Bowman is a critically-acclaimed author who writes across genres. Her novels have received multiple accolades and award nominations, and her debut novel, STARFISH, was a William C. Morris Award Finalist. She has a BA in social sciences from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and currently lives in Scotland with her husband and two children. She overthinks everything, including this bi ...more

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73 likes · 21 comments
“Stars shine their brightest in the dark. So take this opportunity, and supernova the shit out of it.” 7 likes
“And the more I think about it, the more frustrated I get by the entire concept of a backup plan. Because it only ever seems to pertain to people who are interested in art, music, theater--and yes, the circus. Nobody would ever dream of going up to someone in medical school and telling them, 'Gee, I really think you should have a backup plan. You know, just in case this doesn't work out for you.” 4 likes
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