A 2020 FAVORITE: Harley in the Sky Review

harley-in-the-sky-9781534437128_hrSummary (from the publisher): 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.


My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts: 

I never thought I would prep for writing a review by watching trapeze videos, but here we are!

Akemi Dawn Bowman’s Harley in the Sky follows Harley’s dream of becoming a trapeze artist. After watching aerialists perform all her life in her parents’ famous Las Vegas circus, Harley is ready for her turn to be up there in the big top. After her parents refuse to let Harley to train with the lead artist and insist on Harley going to college instead, she feels that she has no other choice but to join the rival circus, Maison du Mystère. While training and trying to prove her worth, Harley must also face how her decisions affect her family, friends, and the past that she cannot let herself repeat.


When I picked up Harley in the Sky in early February, I had read only one 5 star read so far in 2020. That quickly changed as soon as I started reading it, soon becoming one of my favorite books of the year! I devoured Harley in the Sky over the course of three sittings, instantly falling in love with Akemi Dawn Bowman’s writing style and atmosphere. Harley in the Sky originally had me intrigued for its circus setting and The Greatest Showman meets Sarah Dessen premise. I am here to confirm that the book absolutely delivered on both fronts, while delviving into such important storylines revolving around family, friendship, mental health, identity, and yes, romance.

Although Harley in the Sky is certainly more than a ‘circus book,’ I can’t help but talk about this setting first. This is the first book I’ve ever read that takes place in the circus realm, and Akemi Dawn Bowman does such a fantastic job of setting the reader in this world. From the performers to the circus tents themselves, she does such as great job describing life at both Teatro dell Notte and Maison du Mystère.

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Harley in the Sky Book Tag

If there’s one book that I have absolutely loved in 2020, it’s Akemi Dawn Bowman’s Harley in the Sky! This YA contemporary follows Harley’s dream of becoming a trapeze artist after growing up in her family’s Las Vegas circus. Within its circus setting, Harley in the Sky explores so much surrounding family, friendship, identity, belonging and mental health.

Since my review won’t be coming until closer to its March 10th release, I couldn’t help but share my love for this book by doing the Harley in the Sky Book Tag! I saw this tag completed by Lili of Utopia State of Mind, who is a member of Harley in the Sky’s Street Team. The Harley in the Sky Book Tag was created by Jemma of Fantastic Books.


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I started reading YA contemporary back in fifth or sixth grade, but I can’t remember a specific that got me into the genre. It was definitely a blend of Sarah Dessen, Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries, & Ann Brashares’ The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

Acrobatics: A fast-paced read

The last book I read that I would consider fast paced is Christina Lauren’s The Unhoneymooners. Olive and Ethan are thrown into a hate-to-love relationship when everyone at a wedding gets food poisoning and the two must claim the married couple’s paid honeymoon.

Clowns: A book that made you laugh

My favorite contemporary romances tend to make me laugh out loud, which includes Alexa Martin’s Fumbled. There is so much humor between Poppy and her nine year old son, her best girl friends, and of course her romantic interest, TK.Read More »