The Crossing

Manjeet Maan

Winner of the Costa Children’s Book Award 2021, this is a powerful Young Adult verse novel that is both compassionate and hard hitting. Sammy is fleeing from Eritrea. The journey he undertakes to avoid conscription is one that is reported on widely today: people smugglers, hunger, thirst, the death of travel companions and above all the inescapable sense of fear. 

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world in South-East England, Nat is mourning the death of her mother, a keen swimmer who encouraged her daughter to do the same. The sense of loss which Nat feels is compounded by losing her home and seeing her brother, Ryan, join a militant anti-immigrant group. Events bring Sammy and Nat together and through the clever use of different verse forms, fonts and spaces a compelling tale is told. It is at times uncomfortable reading, evoking strong emotions but this is a book which should be read and talked about again and again.

Published by Penguin Books

Reviewed by Rachel Bolton