Cover Image: The Crossing

The Crossing

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Member Reviews

A powerful story exceptionally told. It would make a great class read for year 9 and above or a book club choice for a similar age group - the different story lines provide many opportunities for discussion. It encourages the reader to empathise and examine their own views,. 'The Crossing' is a great addition to the secondary school library. Thanks to Netgalley for my ARC copy, however this  did not influence my opinion.
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I want to put this into the hands of everyone I know but also warn them not to read it on a train. You will cry and people will look at you funny. 

It is clear to see why it is appearing on every award shortlist going and has won the Costa. It was honestly breath taking. I am from Folkestone which is the coastal town next to Dover and I really resonated with being able to see the tensions rise there as more people cross the border seeking refuge. The Crossing portrayed that in such a clear way and I think that maybe if more of those people read this book it would be a better place.
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It's about two teenagers on different sides of the refugee crisis, one who is fighting for a free life and the other fueled by grief undertaking a physical challenge to help refugees. It's a powerful, emotional story, especially with what's going on in the world right now.

It's beautifully written, floating between the two characters joining their voices with identical thoughts and phrases at the end of each verse.

Everyone should read this book.
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Wow. This books moved me beyond belief. Not an easy read but Manjeet has produced another book relating to a hard hitting topic but interweaves the beautiful story. This book will teach my pupils empathy and shows how different other peoples lives can be. I couldn’t recommend this more, and have done to my pupils. I have already shared this review on Goodreads and Amazon and to most people I know!
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The intersecting voices of Nat, an English girl, and Sammy, a boy from Eritrea, whose lives are both pulled apart by family tragedy and political and social forces way outside of their control, tell the story of two teens who find courage when it feels like they have nothing else left. Circumstance and desperation allow the two narrators to forge an almost mystical connection as Sammy faces relentless violence and deprivation as a refugee, and Nat deals with her mother's death and brother's explosive hatred and xenophobia. 

The structure of the narrative - told entirely in poem - does at first feel like a bit of a schtick, but ultimately it allows Manjeet Mann to tell the two stories at once, with the two alternating points of view flowing into each other instead of jarring the reader out of the story, as is so often the case with duel narratives. It also means that the actual 'plot' of the story is told deftly and almost simply, with more space to explore the complicated emotions of Nat and Sammy.

I would recommend this to anyone looking for a YA novel with heart, and can only hope that it ends up in the library of every British high school. 

An ARC was generously provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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Gosh, this was a tough read and it's taken me ages to write this review because I was a little shell-shocked and wanted to do justice to its brilliance. I struggled to get into it initially and then found it a little too harrowing to read in one go. The way that Manjeet Mann weaves the two narratives together is seamless, it's beautifully written, so moving and brave, An important, memorable book.
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This book definitely had a profound  effect on me that I'm sure I'll remember for a long time to come. 
This was my first book I'd read from Manjeet Mann but I will definitely be reading her debut after seeing how masterfully written this story was. 

What stood out to me so much throughout reading this book was the contrast and rhythm of the two sides of the story. 
It was certainly heart breaking to read from both POVs of this novel, it showed that people were not perfect but the characters were learning and growing constantly. 
Manjeet Mann has such a masterful sway over words and she manages to put so much emotion and context behind her verse. 

I think I cried for a good solid 20 minutes after finishing this book. Five stars no question.
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The Crossing is a powerful read that mixes poetry and prose. It's a read that lingers with you long after you have finished it, and one that compels you to pass along to friends so they can read it too,
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TW: Suicide, death, abuse, racism, violence, bullying.

Although I mostly loved this book I would possibly have enjoyed it more if I had seen trigger warnings for some of the content. The blurb mentions hate and anger leading me to assume there would be instances of abuse, racism, violence or bullying however I was not prepared for the suicide scene which although is not graphic, it is a visual scene.
The Crossing is a powerful new novel by Manjeet Mann which deserves a lot more recognition and hype, it’s a novel about a teen boy refugee attempting to make his way to the UK to escape the enforced military conscription in his home country and a young British teen girl who copes with the grief of losing her mother by training to swim the Channel. The Crossing is a beautiful take on the intersection of these two teens lives, their differences and similarities.
The Crossing fills you with both hope and heartbreak, and I hope more readers discover this important novel.
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After the resoundjng success of her previous book, Manjeet Mann has done it again with this heartbreaking novel in verse from dual perspectives that will have you hanging on every word!
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Wow. I was worried to read this as Run Rebel has been my favourite read of the last year and whilst it still holds number one place in my heart, Manjeet Mann has not disappointed with her second YA verse novel. It took a while to get into as the flow between the two narratives is not clearly marked and this takes some getting used to. After that the characters are so well drawn, show huge emotional depth, ability to change, show empathy and tell a really gripping story that is both heart-breaking and uplifting. Superb and unique writing.
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It’s been a while since I’ve read any YA in verse so I was excited to pick up the new book from Manjeet Mann, author of Run, Rebel. This powerful story is told from two perspectives. Nat’s only recently lost her Mum, her Dad is struggling to find somewhere they can afford to live and her brother Ryan has made new friends and is marching the streets of Dover full of hate. Sammy, on the other hand, has fled his home in Eritrea for the chance of a new life. He hopes to go to the UK where he has family. But it’s a dangerous journey, full of unknowns. The book tells the story of how Nat and Sammy’s paths cross and they come to know each other and support each other. The verse format works so well as their stories intersect. It’s about hope, grief and the refugee crisis. An upsetting read, but one that will encourage empathy and understanding about the realities and the tragedies of the crisis.
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This is an astonishing book. From the first words to the last, I was gripped. 

We're given, in verse, the story of Natalie, a British teenager reeling from the death of her mother, and Sammy, an Eritrean refugee. Though physically distant, their stories overlap right from the outset, as Sammy too has lost a parent, and Nat's family is bound-up in the world of asylum seekers - her mother was an activist working to support refugees, and her brother, Ryan, blames immigrants for the very real problems the family faces. As Nat prepares for a fundraising swim to raise money to support refugees, and Sammy's perilous journey towards the UK continues, their paths begin to cross and a fierce bond is formed. 

The novel-in-verse form is enjoying a revival of late, particularly in books for young adults. It makes for an intensely personal experience, stripping the story of all excess and putting the reader inside mind of the narrators. And it frees the author from the strictures of sentence structure, allowing more direct expression of emotions. This book takes full advantage of this freedom, to great effect.

The novel adds an extra element, in swapping between voices of two (mostly distant) characters, and in the repetition of words and phrases each time the perspective switches. The result is to highlight the commonalities in their stories, shrinking the physical and cultural distance between them. 

The story encompasses friendship, sexuality, family and grief. It brings to life the desperate situations that drive people to leave home and undertake difficult journeys, and the dangers they face in doing so. And it even provides an understanding - even sympathetic - perspective on anti-immigrant sentiment. It all rings true, and it packs a weighty emotional punch. 

Read this. Share this. Tell your friends. It deserves to be read very widely. 

- - - - 
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for an advance review copy in return for an honest review.
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Having read and enjoyed Mann's debut, Run Rebel, I was expecting good things from The Crossing.  And I was not disappointed!  

The story of two teenagers - Sammy and Natalie - both grieving for a lost parent, both living in communities full of upheaval and hate.  We follow Sammy as he makes the wrenching decision to leave his home and family in Eritrea to make the dangerous journey across the desert, the sea and Europe in the hopes of reaching safety in the UK, while at the same time we follow Natalie as she struggles with loss of her mum, a dad who is floundering and a brother who is being radicalised and filled with hate by right-wing nationalists.  All while, by the way, deciding to swim the Channel for charity in memory of her mum!  

The two character voices are so distinct, and their pain and rage, hope and joy, come across on every page.  The clever way that Mann interconnects the two voices through the repeated words at the start and end of every piece of verse, emphasises the characters' similarities as well as highlighting their differences in situation and place.  The topics tackled in this novel are not small: racism; radicalisation; migration; refugees; poverty and death.  Through Sammy and Natalie's lives  we see: how young disaffected people are radicalised and how anti-migrant rhetoric from people in power filters its way down into schools and society; the effects of the loss of a parent on two young people - how grief is universal; what it is like to live in a country with little to no human rights; the slow creep of gentrification pricing out locals and lack of opportunities within communities that lead to disaffection; and the red tape/tick box systems developed by governments, ostensibly to ensure that those who need help get it, whether at the local housing office or during the asylum process, but which at the same time cause endless heartache and despair.  

If this novel were written as prose, I honestly think I would not have been able to read it.  It would have been too full-on and depressing.  However, the verse format allowed for a reading experience that was manageable and which got right to the heart of the issues facing the two young main characters.  I loved every second of reading this, while also either wanting to laugh, cry or scream in frustration at what was happening to either Natalie, Sammy or both.  Highly recommended, not just for individual reading, but as a class set for study in English with 14+ pupils, as it has so much to explore, discuss and analyse.
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A beautifully emotional, heart wrenching story. One which I raced through in less than 24 hours! It’s extremely powerful and one which I think will stick with me for a long time. The book is told from two perspectives but is overlapped and interlaced seamlessly. Two very different perspectives on the very important refugee crisis. I found it educational and eye opening, I think it’s very easy for us to turn a blind eye and overlook what’s happening in other parts of the world whilst we live so freely and comfortably here. 

You will feel all the emotions whilst reading this, so be prepared with a box of tissues at your side. I loved all the characters, I thought they were well developed and as a reader you have such empathy for all of them. I connected deeply with Sammy, the young man trying to flee the danger he was born in to. I’d find it quite difficult to write a good enough review to really justify how beautiful it is. I find books in verse so magical and somehow more visual, I’m putting Run, Rebel by Manjeet to the top of my TBR.
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Told from the viewpoints of Natalie in Dover and Sammy trying to escape Eritrea and forced conscription into the army. Both have recently lost a parent, and are struggling to make sense of the world and find any hope in it.
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The Crossing is the type of book that burrows its way into your mind and refuses to leave. It is so profoundly impactful and feels like essential reading. I don’t think I can recommend it highly enough. 

In my review of Mann’s previous work Run, Rebel, I talked about how poetry has this innate emotional power. Mann completely captures this once more in The Crossing. Each word is so delicately chosen in order to wreck the maximum emotional devastation upon the reader. Mann takes on such relevant topics that hold political and social weight in dealing with these issues and weaves this tragically beautiful stories packed full of violence and suffering. This is all achieved in just a few delicately chosen words and that sort of talent just has to be applauded. Right from the opening page, that intense emotion immediately hits you and creates a vice that never really lets you go. This is an incredibly compelling form of narrative that means you can never tear yourself away from the page. 

I loved how Mann’s poetic choices reinforced the two distinctive voices in the book. The two narratives intersect in such clever and aesthetically intriguing ways, while also always pushing the plot forward. This is an introspective character study of the grief and trauma both characters suffer, but it also speaks to a wider narrative around immigration and global conflict. Mann really emphasises this by having the characters echo the same words and phrases but in vastly different contexts from one another. Often the same word that ends one narrative section begins the other character’s latest section. This stylistic choice works incredibly well and highlights their connection throughout. 

The Crossing is an emotional powerhouse of a book told through razor-sharp verse and packed full of heart and important exploration of social issues.
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The Crossing is a novel written in verse following Natalie and Sammy. Natalie has just lost her mother, who died of cancer. Her mother worked in refugee relief and always encouraged Natalie to be compassionate. Since her mother's death her family is falling apart, her brother is getting involved with anti-refugee people. Sammy is a boy from Eritrea, wanting to flee due to the forced conscription into the army where they abuse the soldiers. He wants to flee to the UK.

This novel is a fast read due to it being told in verse, so I always fear that I will not become attached to the characters due to this, even though I enjoy reading novels in verse. But I really became attached and invested in these characters, especially Sammy. This novel is so moving and gripping, with everything handled with care. How the characters are linked together and how this is written is really invented and beautiful. 

I am always wanting to read more diversely and more about the refugee crisis; this was a great compassionate read. I enjoyed this more than Mann's previous novel, so am looking forward to what she writes next.
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The Crossing explores the theme of migration from the dual perspectives of Natalie and Sammy using the overlapping verse narrative to link the two characters' worlds together. This concept of humanity being intertwined and intrinsically linked is adeptly handled by Mann as she lays bare the horrors faced by refugees from their initial beginnings, their journeys and ultimately the racism endured in their supposedly safe new homes. 
Mann explores the themes so often portrayed in the media with refugee camps in Calais, migrants drowning during failed sea crossings and Nationalistic pride in port cities with an accessibility in form and content to capture the imagination of YA readers. 

Mann creates a see saw of opposites throughout the book - female/male; gay/straight; rich/poor; motherless/fatherless; Liberal/Nationalist; UK/Europe all pivoting the physical barrier of the English Channel. In some ways all the characters in The Crossing are victims to a greater or lesser extent, whether in terms of birth, locality or ideology. The beauty in this book is the opportunity to empathise with the lives of others and share in the experience of simply being human. Read this book and think about where we have the fortune to be.
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What an incredibly powerful novel-in-verse from Manjeet Mann - 'The Crossing' is a dual narrative, following Nat in the UK and Sammy on his journey escaping Eritrea for the 'promised land' of Europe. Both teenagers have been broken by their experiences, Nat by the recent death of her mother and her family falling deeper into poverty and Sammy by the corruption and forced military service in his home country of Eritrea. 

Fearing forced labour and death, Sammy and his friend Tesfay start the perilous journey across dangerous territory, two seas and the Sahara desert to reach the UK. Their horrific experiences, characterised by extreme violence, racism and loss, are portrayed in parallel to Nat's journey of discovery of the reality of life for refugees in the UK. As her brother falls in with right wing extremists, acting violently on their ideology, Mann shines a light on the broken system and deeply concerning views held by some which render life unliveable by those seeking to escape from war and poverty.

Mann writes skilfully, connecting the narratives and keeping the pace of the characters' journeys rapid. There are several moments which chilled my core - this woven tapestry of images blending Nat and Sammy's stories is affecting and poignant. This will prove to be a vital read for teenagers and adults alike in search of a safer, more tolerant world. 5 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher who provided an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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