YA titles for July: horror and hope in this month’s picks

New titles from Manjeet Mann, Sera Milano, Emily Barr and Goldy Moldavsky

  Manjeet Mann’s The Crossing is a story about the refugee crisis and  the huge numbers fleeing injustice, poverty and violence in their home countries, but also about a girl and boy whose lives overlap. Photograph: Getty Images

Manjeet Mann’s The Crossing is a story about the refugee crisis and the huge numbers fleeing injustice, poverty and violence in their home countries, but also about a girl and boy whose lives overlap. Photograph: Getty Images

There are some things, like an eclipse, dangerous to look at directly. For horrific global crises, the risk is not so much a physical blindness as a protective, psychological one – to take in the full scope of an atrocity can leave one feeling utterly powerless to make any sort of a difference. One death is a tragedy, one million is a statistic; the epigram often (incorrectly) attributed to Stalin explains why it is the small, particular details of a disaster, rather than the totality of human life lost, that affect us so deeply.

Manjeet Mann’s The Crossing (Penguin, £7.99) is about the refugee crisis, about the huge numbers fleeing injustice, poverty and violence in their home countries. But it is also about a girl, Nat, and a boy, Sammy, whose lives overlap briefly just as their poems do (by a shared word or phrase) in the text, and who have experienced loss and hardship in different ways. The verse format is another way of looking at the experience at a slant, not quite taking in the whole thing at once but zooming in on specifics, snapshots that illustrate both the similarities and differences between these two characters. It makes for a moving and effective novel that achieves its intertwined artistic and moral ambitions.

The Irish Times
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