The Crossing

Publisher: Penguin Books

Natalie's mum has just died and her world is crumbling. Her father retreats into himself, and her older brother finds an outlet for his emotions in marching with a far-right gang in Dover. Swimming is Natalie's only refuge.

Sammy has fled his home in Eritrea to avoid being conscripted into an endless war. Soldiers have already killed his Baba for not joining up. He has no choice but to leave, to travel to Europe in the hope of a better life. It's an arduous, never-ending journey.

Two teenagers with very different backgrounds and experiences, but each facing tough challenges that have significant effects on their own and others' lives. Somehow, they connect, but will that be enough?

This is a demanding but important read. Yet as it's written in verse, it feel accessible, and the way that the two narratives intertwine is cleverly done. With some swearing in the dialogue, and many bleak events, it's suitable for older readers, of at least 13.

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