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The Weight of Our Sky

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  3,146 ratings  ·  852 reviews
A music-loving teen with OCD does everything she can to find her way back to her mother during the historic race riots in 1969 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in this heart-pounding literary debut.

Melati Ahmad looks like your typical moviegoing, Beatles-obsessed sixteen-year-old. Unlike most other sixteen-year-olds though, Mel also believes that she harbors a djinn inside her, one
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by Salaam Reads
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Hanna Alkaf The cover artist is Guy Shield, with art direction by Krista Vossen!
Laura Austria I'm sure there's more than one reason, but the main one is probably to help promote the book. The story will be shown to a new audience and they might…moreI'm sure there's more than one reason, but the main one is probably to help promote the book. The story will be shown to a new audience and they might be inclined to read the book. It's pretty effective. I reason I read "Not Even Bones" is because I found the webtoon, and the reason I want to read this book is because I love the webtoon. (less)

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Average rating 4.24  · 
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chai ♡
The Weight of Our Sky is a labor of great pain, but it's also a labor of tremendous love.

I went into this book knowing very little about the race riots of 1969 in Kuala Lumpur, but Hanna Alkaf has delivered a very informed, yet intimately personal account of one of the most tragic incidents that are folded into the history of Malaysia.

The Weight of Our Sky feels deeply resonant in its somber portrayal of humanity’s violence against itself. The weight of the riots’ reality falls upon Melati, a Mu
Emily May
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I know the signs; this is the Djinn, unfolding himself, stretching out, pricking me gently with his clawed fingers. See what I can do? he whispers, unfurling yet another death scene in all its technicolor glory.

4½ stars. This has to be one of the most original YA books I've read in a long time. It just checked all the boxes for me.

» It explores an area of history I've never seen in fiction.
The Weight of Our Sky is set during the 1969 race riots in Kuala Lumpur. After a contentious election,
Hanna Alkaf
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
This seems like a good place to put this, so if you're considering reading my book -- I'M THE AUTHOR! HI! -- I'd like to warn you ahead of time that the contents include: Racism, graphic violence, on-page death, OCD and anxiety triggers. If you're not in the right frame of mind to take that on, please consider setting it aside and waiting until you're better able to take these on.

Thank you for wanting to read THE WEIGHT OF OUR SKY; it's a very personal book to me in a lot of ways, and it means
Dec 25, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was okay. I'm glad the story is centered around the Malaysian riots and appreciate the OCD rep, but the writing style is too simplistic for my tastes and you can tell this is a debut novel because the main character's tribulations and developments are told instead of shown. ...more
may ➹
I’m not usually a fan of historical fiction. It bores me, it’s written dryly, and I just don’t connect as much to the characters.

But The Weight of Our Sky is different. It’s captivating, in a devastatingly emotional way, and its stunning writing pulls you in. You feel for the characters and people in this book, so much that it hurts. Somehow in less than 300 pages, this book breaks your heart and mends it back together, over and over and over again.

The Weight of Our Sky tells the story of Melati
C.G. Drews
This is such a devastatingly emotional read. Absolutely prepare yourself for heartbreak with this one, all wrapped up in a story of riots and mental illness and a girl just trying to stay alive and find her mother. It's probably too early for a full review sooo I'm just going to squish my little recommendation into your life and say: get this one on your TBR. History is honestly so despicably Western focused and I never even knew about the race riots in 1969 in Malaysia. So I learnt!

And I was a
CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
My full review can be found on my blog, The Quiet Pond.

My goodness, I needed this. I needed this book, I needed the Malaysian representation, and I am overjoyed that I have read it.

- The Weight of Our Sky is one brilliant, emotional, and heavy-hearted debut, and all of you absolutely need to read this.
- Follows Melati, a Malay teen with OCD plagued by a djinn and visions of her mother's graphic deaths, who searches for her mother amidst the racial riots between Chinese and Malay people in Malay
♛ may
book #5 completed! for the reading rush, under the challenge of: "read a book with purple on the cover"


things i liked
- the representation of OCD was so present. right from the first page, the reader witnesses how terrifying and vivid mel's visions are and how they make her fall into this whirlwind of compulsions
- it depicts the horrors that took place in malaysia during 1969 when chinese and malay people went to war.
Zen Cho
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Moving, sincere and fast-paced, with a wealth of local detail. I thought the heavy subject matter was handled very deftly and hope this will only be the first of many more "unapologetically Malaysian" books! ...more
Vicky Again
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I was so awed by this book.

So many things work in it. From Hanna's exploration of the racial tensions of the time to Melati’s struggles to reach her mother while needing to satisfy the djinn inside her and her anxieties to the nearly tangible tension of this story.

It’s definitely a doozy–in only a short period of time, Hanna goes through so much and this book is a serious gut-punch (so be prepared and pack some tissues). But all of the emotions it made me feel were so worth it, and I am totall
May 16, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember being intrigued by the title when I saw this on my webtoon recommendations back in late 2019 when it first came out and being completely mesmerized by the art. This was probably one of the best webtoons I've read between 2019 and 2020. It didn't occur to me that there was an actual book of it, until like, this year.

Going straight to the point, it wasn't like this was bad. One of the things I like about the webtoon version of this is the art- the way it plays the narrative is so gorge
3.5-4 stars

I was lucky to get an ARC through Twitter from the author because I've been dying to read this. Not only Hanna is Malaysian, but this book is also set in baby!Malaysia, 12 years after Independence, and during the racial riots.

This book was A Ride, okay. I finished it all in one sitting because I couldn't make myself stop.

The plot was simple--Melati was caught in the riots and had to find a way back to her mother--but I was captivated by all the details surrounding that: the love, th
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5 stars

Take all the stars if you want, Hanna Alkaf. Melati’s empowering story deserves everything in a world at a loss.

I would give myself a knock in the head if I didn’t enjoy this profound book. Nostalgic and bittersweet, nothing makes me prouder than reading my country’s history in a YA book and I’m so proud of Hanna for writing this story.

Full review to come.

FEB 5, 2019! Please come sooner.

I am on tenterhooks, just waiting for the marvel that is Hanna Alkaf to write an UNAPOLOGETICALLY MA
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m on an unintentional “5-star-reads-that-*will*-emotionally-destroy-you” reading streak

Hanna Alkaf is one incredibly talented writer and I can’t wait for her next release.

also!! I totally recommend checking out the Webtoon version of this book which is equal parts terrifying and beautiful:
Di mana bumi dipijak, di situ langit dijunjung =
" Where we plant our feet is where we must hold up the sky. We live and die by the rules of the land we live in. But this country belongs to all of us! We make our own sky, and we can hold it up—together.” Melati Ahmad, 16 year old student from Kg.Baru, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - A fictional character starring in a non fiction tragic event back in May 13th 1969.

Hanna Alkaf was unheard of before The Weight In Our Sky. I came across a review on this b
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After struggling with my slump, I finally, FINALLY, finished reading this book. It's good but I haven't been able to read it or any other book, I was on Netflix instead. Don't ask. Sorry this is not even the review for the book lmao I'm so sorry.

But anyway, THE WEIGHT OF OUR SKY. Phew. What a rollercoaster read, man. I have read many good reviews about it and after experiencing it myself, I'm glad I read it too. I like the plot and its development through to the end. I like the flashbacks, I li
Kate (GirlReading)
4.75* A beautifully put together story of a young girls desperate journey to reunite with her mother, despite the riots in the streets and the one in her mind.

There was an air of tension hovering over each sentence in this book and an urgency that made me anxious with every page I turned. I thought the candid, raw approach to Melati’s OCD and anxiety was fantastic. It brilliantly explored how debilitating and isolating mental illness can be at times, whilst also being hopeful, showing that havi
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brutally honest, sincere, and heartfelt, THE WEIGHT OF OUR SKY offers a window into a place you may not know and to a time you may not be familiar with. The book with simmers with tension and danger. You accompany Melati as she navigates familiar roads made unfamiliar in a chaotic world she thought she once knew. You hold Melati's hand as she battles her very own demon and you will her to win because giving in is not a choice. This book will probably make you cry so I recommend you read it with ...more
Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
This one represents OCD so well.
What I really DID NOT like or which I find disturbing is that doctors are represented so poorly when it comes to giving advice or counselling in this particular series. We docs do not behave like that and we never say that teenagers or kids or any person of any age and situation that they have less responsibilities or talk to them on such disgraceful terms. Only a few rotten apples may exist but as a whole docs are not like that. And yes, this might spread a very
Faidz Zainal Abidin
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am gonna write a letter to Dr M, and pass it to my husband, and tell him to forward it to the BPK. Our students need to read this in school instead of Jane Eyre. Okay fine. Maybe read both.

Thank you, Hanna. But I do have questions.
Frank-Intergalactic Bookdragon
Trigger warnings: graphic violence, death, racism, OCD, and anxiety triggers.

I honestly don't know how to review this like normally but I have Thoughts™ so I'm just gonna list them and hope it's coherent.

-this was a breath of fresh air for YA.
-Melati had one of the best arcs with mental illness I've read.
-most of the tension is caused by Melati's anxiety which I found extremely interesting.
-as an American I didn't know about the May 13 Incident before reading this and I feel like I learned a lot
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reads-of-2019
Hanna Alkaf's The Weight of Our Sky is definitely a timely read in the midst of this turbulent era divided by racial identities and political ideologies. It's officially one of my fav reads in 2019. ...more
Maisha Farzana Himi
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful....mind blowing....One of my all time favourites. It's not only a historical fiction but also much more than that. You definitely should read it.

I just lovee this book.😍😍😍
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Review can also be found here:

Man, I had a hard time getting through this book. Melati’s description of the Djinn in her head and the graphic violence were too much for me to handle and I found myself having to take frequent breaks from the book. That’s how you know that the writing is incredibly powerful and realistic.

As a Malaysian, I learned of the May 13 riot from my History textbook, and like most of my peers (I assume), have thought nothing much of
Elvina Zafril
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Weight of Our Sky is really a good book. Reading this book got me so emotional.

The story is about a girl named Melati who has mental illness and just want to find her mother. It sets in Malaysia in 1969 to be exact where the race riots happened.

I can’t imagine what Melati is going through, to witness all the murders, all the bodies. If I were Melati, I’d probably give up. I liked her because she’s so strong. She never stopped finding her mother, she never gave up.

There are parts where whe
Suraya (thesuraya)
it feels very comforting how familiar everything is. also, the fact that the title comes from "di mana bumi dipijak, disitu langit dijunjung" makes me appreciate this even more. ...more
“Di mana bumi dipijak, di situ langit dijunjung. Have you heard this before? It means where we plant our feet is where we must hold up the sky. We live and die by the rules of the land we live in. But this country belongs to all of us! We make our own sky, and we can hold it up—together.”

Took me a long time to actually read this... one of the well written book that portrays mental illness (that mind you; is very graphic. Too graphic to my liking, even). And the best thing is that it does n
laurel [the suspected bibliophile]
Trigger Warning: Racism, graphic violence and death, OCD and anxiety triggers

Don't be fooled by the cute and deceptively MG-looking cover. This is an intense and dark book—heed the author's trigger warnings very, very carefully before continuing. Seriously.

With that being said, this was an incredible, hard and devastating portrayal of the race riots in Malaysia in 1969, narrated by a girl with OCD, anxiety and mental illness.

I was a little hesitant going into this one because based on the cover
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book hit close to home. And it's not just because Malaysia is Singapore's neighbour, but also because a recent brownface controversy in Singapore has sparked conversations about racism deeply entrenched in our society, also between the Chinese and the Malays & Indians.

I recall learning only very vaguely about the 1969 Malaysia race riots in my history classes, and we didn't learn a lot more about the spillover race riots in Singapore that same year, too. It was good to know more about the i
biblio_mom (Aiza)
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not sure exactly where to begin. But this story is very gruesome which include graphic violence, intense fighting with deaths, & somehow triggering because of the racism, ocd and anxiety part! they send shivers down my spine.

I cried in two parts which when she had found her mother and come to knowing her bestfriend's death. I kinda hope there would be some romance will go on between Melati and the boy. but that did not happened.

Funny thing is, I can relate with the parts where malay called
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“It means where we plant our feet is where we must hold up the sky. We live and die by the rules of the land we live in. But this country belongs to all of us! We make our own sky, and we can hold it up—together.” 17 likes
“Do not ever let anyone tell you that you do not belong here,” she had said, looking at us intently. “We all do. There is space for us all.” 17 likes
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