The Weight of Our Sky

Hanna Alkaf

fiction historical young adult
emotional medium-paced

288 pages | first published 2019

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 who threatens her with horrific images of her mother’s death unless she adheres to an elaborate ritual of counting and tapping to keep him satisfied.

But there are things that Melati can't protect her mother from. On the evening of May 13th, 1969, racial tensions in her home city of Kuala Lumpur boil over. The Chinese and Malays are at war, and Mel and her mother become separated by a city in flames.

With a 24-hour curfew in place and all lines of communication down, it will take the help of a Chinese boy named Vincent and all of the courage and grit in Melati’s arsenal to overcome the violence on the streets, her own prejudices, and her djinn’s surging power to make it back to the one person she can’t risk losing.


**Content warnings: Racism, graphic violence, on-page death, OCD and anxiety triggers.**

What the community thinks

summary of 304 ratings (see reviews)

Content warnings

Expand filter menu View warnings


emotional 79%
tense 66%
dark 62%
sad 54%
challenging 37%
hopeful 25%
informative 25%
inspiring 25%
reflective 20%
adventurous 16%


medium 54%
fast 41%
slow 4%

Strong character development?

Yes: 77% | It's complicated: 18% | No: 4%

Loveable characters?

Yes: 63% | It's complicated: 36%

Diverse cast of characters?

Yes: 100%

Flaws of characters centre-stage?

Yes: 95% | It's complicated: 4%

Average rating

Accept and close

By using The StoryGraph, you agree to our use of cookies.
We use a small number of cookies to provide you with a great experience.

Find out more