cover image Harley in the Sky

Harley in the Sky

Akemi Dawn Bowman. Simon Pulse, $19.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-5344-3712-8

Harley Yoshi Milano, 18, has never felt like she belongs. The Chinese, Japanese, Italian, and Irish mixed-race teen questions her cultural identity and role as daughter of parents who run Teatro della Notte, a Las Vegas circus. When her parents tell her she must attend college instead of training as a trapeze artist, Harley lands an internship with a well-known aerialist at a competing circus, but only in exchange for betraying those she loves. While most of the performers refuse to help the new addition, hard work and determination secure her admirers, friends, and a love interest as her dreams start to become reality. Dark clouds loom as Harley struggles to maintain healthy relationships and keep her depression at bay, and she struggles with suicidal ideation. Bowman (Starfish) creates an emotionally driven novel brimming with exuberant details of circus life and aerial routines. Quick chapters culminate with riveting cliffhangers that keep readers hooked to the story. Elongated interior monologues occur throughout, but touching scenes between Harley and her parents are sensitively written alongside a thoughtful, unresolved exploration of mental health. Ages 12–up. [em]Agent: Penny Moore, FinePrint Literary. (Mar.) [/em]