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The Weight of Our Sky Hardcover – February 5, 2019

4.8 out of 5 stars 63 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up-In this novel set during the Malaysian race riots of 1969, 16-year-old Melati struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder, believing that she is being tormented by a djinn whose threats against her mother can be appeased only with counting rituals. When violence breaks out among ethnic Malays, Chinese, and Indians in Kuala Lumpur, Melati worries that her fears will manifest. A powerful and raw exploration of mental illness, Malaysian history, and rising above prejudice and hate.α(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review

* "This stunning debut from Malaysian author Alkaf filters Melati’s sympathetic internal narrative through a mental illness barely understood and poorly treated for the era, and the setting and secondary characters convey a visceral, nerve-wracking moment in time. This isn’t an easy story by far; an author’s note warns of “graphic violence, death, racism, OCD, and anxiety triggers”—but their inclusion makes it no less essential, no less unforgettable." -- Publisher's Weekly - starred review, November 26, 2018

"Melati’s growing strength gives hope to readers: If she can fight her inner demon and save the day, then they can, too." -- Booklist, November 2018

* "This is a brutally honest, no-holds-barred reimagining of the time: The evocative voice transports readers to 1960s Malaysia, and the brisk pace is enthralling. Above all, the raw emotion splashed across the pages will resonate deeply, no matter one's race or religion. Unabashedly rooted in the author's homeland and confronting timely topics and challenging themes, this book has broad appeal for teen readers." -- Kirkus Reviews - starred review, December 2018

* "At the sentence level, Alkaf’s use of first-person narration expertly (and, in some cases, painfully) places readers inside Melati’s head as she experiences internal and external horrors....Echoing ­contemporary race relations, the subject feels especially relevant. VERDICT Alkaf’s immersive, powerful writing make this a must-purchase for all YA collections." -- School Library Journal - starred review

"Alkaf offers a gripping fictionalized account of the 1969 post-election riots in Malaysia, limning acts of bravery and tolerance that unreel alongside the slaughter perpetrated in the Kuala Lumpur streets." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February 2019

"With her debut young adult novel, The Weight of Our Sky, journalist Hanna Alkaf provides heart-pounding, graphic insight into the seismic life shifts experienced by residents of Kuala Lumpur in the days directly following the May 1969 Malaysian Riots.", Shelf Awareness *Starred Review*

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
63 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on February 15, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on February 24, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on April 19, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on February 7, 2019
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Top international reviews

Syaza Nazura
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a light read, but you won't regret it.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 19, 2019
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Katlin S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved the book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 7, 2020
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Zue Neisha Farhannah
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read book!
Reviewed in Germany on April 4, 2019
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Faiq Shahrom
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
Reviewed in India on March 1, 2020
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