Book Review: Harley In The Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Book: Harley In The Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Published March 2020 by Simon Pulse|416 Pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

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 critically acclaimed author of Starfish.

Harley Milano has dreamed of becoming 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 heart and soul that she would 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. 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.

From award-winning author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes a luminous, unforgettable examination of love, loyalty, and the hard choices we must make to find where we truly belong.

I loved Harley In The Sky!  It’s such a beautiful book, and I loved it so much I ended up buying a copy to keep on my shelf.

I really loved Harley, who has to deal with a lot.  She left her family and friends behind, and hardly talks to them.  I loved the emails from her mom, though, and I really felt for her mom.  It seemed like her mom really loved her and wanted the best for her, even though Harley didn’t see it.  I also really felt like her mom regretted some of the things she did, in terms of how she dealt with Harley.

I understood why her mom acted the way she did.  It made a lot of sense, and once I read that part of the book, everything really fell into place for her mom.  Okay, this isn’t about Harley’s mom, but what Harley wants and what her parents want for her lead Harley to leave the family circus to join another one.  She betrays her family to follow her dream of being a trapeze artist, and while I love that she wants to follow her dream, I also hate how she does it.

Things aren’t easy for her at this new circus, but I also feel like Harley learns a lot.  Not just about being a trapeze artist but who she is.  She learns some very hard lessons along the way, and the guy running Maison is a horrible, horrible person.  I really hated that guy, and I felt really bad that Harley was taken advantage of.  He is not a good guy, and even though Harley made some friends at Maison, I was also glad when she realized she wanted to go home.

I was crying by the end, and I was glad Harley was able to work things out with her parents.  Things aren’t going to be easy for them- and for Harley especially- but it seems like they’re headed to a better place.  It seems like Harley may have some mental health stuff going on as well.  It wasn’t directly mentioned, but it was hinted at, and I hope that is something she works on and gets help for.

5 stars.  I LOVED Harley In The Sky, and it was worth reading.

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