There is something very beautiful and powerful about an entire story told through verse. Manjeet Mann’s debut novel, Run Rebel, was one of my standout books of 2020 and I knew her follow up was bound to be something special. A tale of grief and hope it puts the spotlight on the plight of refugees and it is quite simply one of the most stunning things I have ever read.
The crossing is told from two different perspectives. Natalie is struggling to cope after the death of her mum. Her dad is feeling lost and her brother has found his outlet in a far-right gang. Swimming is her escape.
Sammy has fled from his life in Eritrea with the hope of making a new start in Europe but his journey as a refugee proves to be more terrifying and arduous than he ever could have imagined.
There stories become inextricably linked as they both battle to find hope in their lives and a better future.
The rhythm and the energy that beats between the two characters is absolutely magical. As the days count down there is a sense of foreboding of what is to come and a feeling of inevitability that is hard to shake off.
In The Crossing Manjeet has made sure that every single word counts and that every single line speaks to the soul. I have rarely read a book that I found so emotional, so thought-provoking and so powerful. I couldn’t put it down.
The Crossing skillfully explores themes of grief, hope, empathy and kindness in the most challenging of circumstances. It also forces the reader to challenge and reflect on their own beliefs and prejudices.
Overall, though, this is a story about humanity, courage and the future. The Crossing NEEDS to be in every high school library and every teenager and adult must read it. It is that important.