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The Weight of Our Sky

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  2,003 ratings  ·  550 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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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
Cindy Pham
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.
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!
Vicky Again
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
4.5 stars

I was so awed by this book.

So many things work in it. From Alkaf’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, Melati 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
Hizatul Akmah
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
okay first and foremost, i would like to show my enormous gratitude because finally we get to see a Malaysian author's book about Malaysia history in major international bookstores.

while reading this book, i couldn't help from reminiscing a few bits from Interlok which i read in high school (i read the original hardback version, mind you) and i just wanted to hug everyone who had to live amidst the hardships because of someone else's wrongdoings. Hanna told the story about a 16 years old girl
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
Elise (TheBookishActress)
guys, 2019 is totally the year of historical fiction. I've never read anything about the 1969 riots in Kuala Lumpur, but this sounds amazing. and this cover is GLORIOUS.
Extremely wow, and I loved that OCD rep so much.
1/40 book read for #YARC2020

Little facts about this book
🍂 Tagged: #ownvoices, diverse characters; Malay & Chinese rep, mental illness (OCD) discussion
🍂 Favorite character(s): Melati, Vincent and May!
🍂 Rating: 5 stars
🍂 Favorite shelf: yes. It was a tough read, but this is one of the best books I read in 2020.
🍂 Will I recommend it to you? Of course! Especially if you’re a Southeast Asian reader, you HAVE TO read this book!

Trigger warnings: Graphic violence, on-page death, racism, OCD
The Weight of our sky is the most original YA books I've ever read. Though this book is gruesome and sad, I can't help being happy about the fact that more YA authors are writing about their own experiances, writing about times and sitiuations many people never thought of before.

The author provided with a genuine and a personal record of a momental time in the history of her country. Malays and Chinese have turned against eachotherin aftermath of general election and many are killing eachother
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Actual rating: 4.5 /5 star

Disclaimer: This is a review based on an ARC from Netgalley.

This book means a lot to me as a Malaysian. I really love the issues raised in this book, which is racism and unity. It is a really significant element for my country. I have no idea how many times I have cried reading this book. I really appreciate the author for writing this story.

The story development was also super intense, which made putting down this book almost impossible. The way the author built up the
laurel [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
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