Book Review

Book Review: Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult contemporary
Length: 384 pages
Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman
Publisher: Ink Road
Release Date: March 10th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


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, Harley leaves home, betrays her family and joins the rival traveling circus Maison du Mystère. There, she is thrust into a world that is both brutal and beautiful, where she learns the value of hard work, passion and collaboration. But at the same time, Harley must come to terms with the truth of her family and her past—and reckon with the sacrifices she made and the people she hurt in order to follow her dreams.


I liked this book. I did, just some main character issues that were hard to continue to look past as the book went on.

Harley was so intensely selfish, the entire book. Everything she did hurt someone around her and she would acknowledge this, but then do nothing to work on changing and growing from her choices. Maybe by the end were some new insights from Harley. By then though, I was over her attitude and her treatment of others.

I did love the circus theme. It’s a small sub-genre I also enjoy. I like the setting and all of the magical acts and characters that come with it. Harley’s coworkers were fun and helped find her footing after she had ran off.

The romance was cute! I enjoyed the slow movement and how it didn’t overtake the story since this wasn’t a romance at its heart. Harley had to learn a lot while she was on her own and did at least get something out of it.

Harley, biracial, often felt disconnected with her cultures and a large family pulling her different ways. I really liked this diversity aspect and conversations she had with herself and others. I loved that by the end she had started to find herself and where she fit in and how she could feel like she was apart of her family.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary fiction
  • Language: some mild
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content warnings: some suicide ideation, and discussion of mental health (anxiety and depression)

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