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The Crossing

Written by Manjeet Mann

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The Crossing Review

Family / Home Stories Featured Books for 13+ readers Featured Books for Young Adults Gritty Reads Personal Social Health Economic (PSHE) Poetry Sporting Stories

Powerful, often heart wrenching narrative poem

Winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2021 | Shortlisted for the Yoto Carnegie Medal 2022

The premise of this fascinating book is two teenagers from opposite sides of the world who form a connection through odd circumstances. Natalie has just lost her Mum to cancer and struggles to find a calm place in the world, whilst her brother reacts by rebelling and joining a hate filled far right anti-refugee protest and action group. Sammy has had to leave his home in Eritrea on the chance of a new life in Europe – running from conscription into the army - which is a form of slavery in his home country. 


Both characters have huge issues to face.  Sammy’s seem more obviously dangerous and overwhelming, though Natalie’s are equally as difficult - without the imminent danger.  Told through a narrative poem using both voices to alternately express their fears, dilemmas and friendships this is a book you really can’t put down.  You have to know if Sammy and Natalie do get to meet.


As the plot carries you along you also want to know more about the plight of refugees and the horrific characters that exploit them in many many ways. Natalie’s decision to swim the channel to raise funds for the refugee charities creates a counterpoint in the narrative. The detail of her struggles and training plan seem an unlikely text for poetry - but it works!


The author says “I wanted to make sense of what I was seeing, I wanted to do something that would help build empathy and understanding.”  She has most emphatically succeeded in this aim. This is such a profound story of hope, grief, and strength -  I do recommend it to all. Be aware you will weep, too.

Tricia Adams

Other Info

The Costa Judges said: ‘Powerful, intelligent and emotive - it demonstrates in its very fabric just how little truly separates us...we all agreed this brilliant book is a wonder and will enrich all who read it.’

Read more about the Costa Children's Book Award here.

Find out more about the Yoto Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal 2022

The Crossing Synopsis

A trailblazing new novel about two teenagers from opposite worlds; The Crossing is a profound story of hope, grief, and the very real tragedies of the refugee crisis. Natalie's world is falling apart. She's just lost her mum and her brother marches the streets of Dover full of hate and anger.

Swimming is her only refuge.

Sammy has fled his home and family in Eritrea for the chance of a new life in Europe. Every step he takes on his journey is a step into an unknown and unwelcoming future. A twist of fate brings them together and gives them both hope. But is hope enough to mend a broken world?

The Crossing Press Reviews

Praise for Run, Rebel;

A Guardian best book of 2020

A tightly crafted series of punchy, often heartbreaking narrative poems . . . Mann's brilliant, coruscating verse novel lays out the anatomy of Amber's revolution, and the tentative first flowerings of hope and change. Guardian

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780241411445
Publication date: 03/06/2021
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd an imprint of Penguin Random House Children's UK
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780241411445
Publication date: 3rd June 2021
Author: Manjeet Mann
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd an imprint of Penguin Random House Children's UK
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 320 pages
Suitable for: 13+ readers, YA readers
Genres: Family / Home Stories, Gritty Reads, Personal Social Health Economic , Poetry, Racism / Multi-Culturalism, Sporting Stories
Collections: Refugees - 40 books to raise awareness, 20 Verse Novels to Shout About this World Poetry Day,

About Manjeet Mann

Manjeet Mann came from a socio-economic disadvantaged background not too dissimilar to Run, Rebel’s protagonist Amber; growing up in an area of deprivation in The Black Country in the 1990s. She is an acclaimed writer and producer of several one women shows and episodic plays of personal monologues, exploring womanhood across the socio-economic spectrum. She was an associate artist with The Birmingham Repertory Theatre and the Soho Writers Lab, wrote a short comedy film for BBC writers room and her play Starting Out was adapted into a podcast in 2019.

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