Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Harley has dreamed of joining the circus as trapeze artist, but her parents, who own a circus, want her to go to college because they think she will be limiting herself if she commits to her dream. Tired of having them ignore her feelings, she runs away to join a rival circus. However, the price of her entry into this new troupe is betraying her family. When things don’t go as she excepts, she has to face her dreams and the people she hurt.

Contemporary, 384 pages, published in 2020

Harley has dreamed of joining the circus as trapeze artist, but her parents, who own a circus, want her to go to college because they think she will be limiting herself if she commits to her dream. Tired of having them ignore her feelings, she runs away to join a rival circus. However, the price of her entry into this new troupe is betraying her family. When things don’t go as she excepts, she has to face her dreams and the people she hurt.

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Akemi Dawn Bowman is absolutely one of my favorite authors, so I was super hyped for this book and it did not disappoint one bit! I think she tackles so much in her books, but she does that so well and so completely. One (of the many) reasons that I love her books is because while her books are YA and are accessible for a younger audience, anyone can relate to the themes and topics she covers.

Immediately, I felt a connection to Harley. She is multiracial, being a quarter each of Japanese, Chinese, Italian, and Irish. She struggles a lot with finding her place. She never feels like she’s enough of anything to belong to that group, culture, or even that side of her family. I related with this feeling of not belong a lot because I am half Jewish. I feel too Jewish for one side and not Jewish enough for the other, which is how Harley feels. It’s a complicated feeling, so it is always nice to see it represented so well in a book. Akemi’s first novel, Starfish, also dealt with this, but I think it was to a lesser extent.

We exist because we work hard, we don’t give up, and when we hear “that can’t be done”, we find a way to do it anyway.

-pg. 87

When Harley gets to the rival circus, things don’t go immediately how she planned. She has to do a lot of things that she doesn’t think is necessary, like selling popcorn instead of performing. She definitely had to work hard, but she also had to be flexible and take alternate routes in order to achieve her goal.

Harley also burned a lot of bridges when she left home. She stole something important to her parents and she also didn’t tell her best friend that she was leaving town. For a long time, Harley thinks that it is better to just completely cut them out of her life, because there is no way that they would want anything to do with her. Seeing her face her own bad actions and work on her relationships was so nice. The complexity and care needed to cultivate and keep relationships healthy was a big part of this book.

“I think telling someone to have a backup plan is just an attempt at shaming someone for their life choices while also trying to appear well-meaning.

-pg. 211

The discussion around mental health is very present in this book. Harley has times where she feels like she can do anything and feels intense motivation, but other times where everything is meaningless. This is never labeled, but Harley does have to come to terms with it.

There are also other characters that Harley meets at the circus, including a few friends and a love interest. I enjoyed the friendships and the romance, but Harley’s journey as a character was definitely my favorite part of this book.

There’s something about Akemi’s writing and stories that speaks to me on a soul-deep level, so I will continue reading and loving them! I absolutely can’t wait for her future releases, so in the meantime, I’m planning on rereading her other books!

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My Favorite Female Authors!

Happy International Women’s Day! To celebrate, I wanted to chat about some of my favorite female authors! To be honest, most of the books I read are by women, so most of my favorite authors are women, but they still deserve a shoutout.

There are definitely more that I could have added to this list, but I wanted to include only authors that I’ve read multiple books/series from.

Happy International Women’s Day! To celebrate, I wanted to chat about some of my favorite female authors! To be honest, most of the books I read are by women, so most of my favorite authors are women, but they still deserve a shoutout.

There are definitely more that I could have added to this list, but I wanted to include only authors that I’ve read multiple books/series from.

CHRISTINA LAUREN

I have read 10 of Christina Lauren’s books and honestly, they are hit or miss for me. Looking back, I have loved less of them than I’ve disliked, but still, the ones I’ve loved are absolute favorites of mine. Their books don’t feel formulaic to me, so each book stands out in my mind. I can’t wait for the release of The Honey Don’t List later this month!

AKEMI DAWN BOWMAN

I was drawn to Starfish initially for the cover, but the main character ended up being very relatable to me because of her social anxiety. I loved the book and all the other issues that were dealt with. Her second book, Summer Bird Blue, was quite different than her first, but was so emotional. I just adore both of these books and I can’t wait to read anything and everything she writes in the future!

TAYLOR JENKINS REID

I’ve loved every book that I’ve read by Taylor Jenkins Reid, starting from when I read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. She comes up with such heart-wrenching ideas for her stories and they always impact me.

ALICE OSEMAN

I broke my rule with Alice Oseman, since I have only read Heartstopper from her, but I just love it so much. It is so pure and heartwarming and I love it so much. Eventually, I would love to read some of her proper novels.

MARGARET ROGERSON

Both of Margaret Rogerson’s books were just such enjoyable reads! She does standalone fantasy so well and I love the worlds and characters she creates. I don’t know what she has planned in the future, but I will read it for sure.

LAINI TAYLOR

Laini is the queen of beautiful writing! Thinking about Strange The Dreamer still does things to my heart. I’ve read both of her series, and while I didn’t love the end of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series, she is still an exceptional writer and her stories stay with me.

LEIGH BARDUGO

Leigh Bardugo is another author where I don’t necessarily love everything she’s written. The Shadow and Bone series wasn’t for me (though I have been feeling like rereading it lately…) and King of Scars was one of the most disappointing books I read in 2019, but I love Six of Crows. I think I will continue to read anything she comes out with.

SARAH J. MAAS

It feels controversial to have Sarah J. Maas be among my favorite authors, but truly, I love her books. They are fun and addicting and mean a lot to me. I’ve read and loved pretty much everything she’s written and now that I have House of Earth and Blood in my possession I can’t wait to dive in!


Who are some of your favorite female authors?

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Books I Plan to Reread This Year!

One of my goals this year was to reread a lot, so I’ve come up with a lot of books I want to try to get to this year. I was originally going to make a schedule of when I wanted to reread everything, but that’s really not who I am.

One of my goals this year was to reread a lot, so I’ve come up with some books I want to try to get to this year. I was originally going to make a schedule of when I wanted to reread everything, but that’s really not who I am. These are in no particular order!

A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES

I had lukewarm feelings about the first and third book of this series, and with the next book coming out soon-ish, I want to give these a reread. ACOMAF was an all-time favorite of mine, so I want to see if my opinion has changed on that.

THE BOOKS OF BAYERN

I’ve read The Goose Girl probably close to 10 times, but I’ve only read the other books in this series once, maybe twice. I finally bought them all when they came out with these gorgeous new editions! They are gonna be super quick reads.

SIX OF CROWS

I really loved this series when I was reading it, though I do remember being confused by Crooked Kingdom. I would like to savor these a little bit more this time around because I was definitely rushing the first time.

MISTBORN

As I am writing this, I just started reading The Eleventh Metal, a short story to go with this series, and it gave me a HUGE rush of nostalgia for these books! The atmosphere, the characters, the magic, I loved it all! I can’t decide if I want to reread the second era as well. I think I would enjoy them more the second time around because I know what to expect.

THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO

I seriously adored this book the first time around! I want to feel that way again. This book is unlike anything else I’ve read before.

STRANGE THE DREAMER

Laini’s writing is absolutely stunning and I want to experience it again! Also, these books just speak to my soul, okay I need to reread them.

AKEMI DAWN BOWMAN BOOKS

I related to Starfish when I read it more than any other book I had read before. Both of her books are beautifully written and are so powerful. I can’t wait for her next book!

THE LUNAR CHRONICLES

I read this series right when I started getting back into reading and I loved it! I know I got a little burnt out on them by the last book, so I may try and space them out a little more this time.

THE LANGUAGE OF THORNS

This book is absolutely gorgeous! I don’t normally love books of short stories, but the artwork combined with the creative and memorable stories makes this one of my favorites.

Do you have any goals to reread this year?

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