Author: Sarah Crossan
Release date: 3rd January 2013
Genre: Realism / Poetry novels
Target audience: 11+
UK Publisher: Bloomsbury
The Weight of Water is a novel told in verse. Each poem reveals a little more of Kasienka’s experience. It’s a heartfelt story of moving to another country, of family breakdown, of needing to belong and most importantly, the need to be loved.
Kasienka moves with her mum from Poland to England. They go in search of Kasienka’s father who walked out on them. They move to Coventry and there Kasienka starts at a new school. She’s nearly thirteen but she’s put into Year 7 because they teachers see her English as a weakness. But she is a bright, intelligent girl. This novel really makes you understand how hard it must be to go and live in a different country. It shows you loneliness through lines of poetry, through imagery and language.
The novel explores themes of difference and bullying. Kasienka is victimised and made to feel worthless. The girls at school criticise her hair, her bag. They keep other girls from becoming her friends by telling lies. They use rumours and Kasienka’s own embarrassment about her differences against her. It is almost overwhelming to read such pain in poetic form. It moves you more somehow than if the author wrote those emotions in prose.
I read this book so quickly. Partly it is the style – it lends itself to be read in one sitting. Partly it is the feeling of the story happening in this very moment. This novel explores life as an immigrant in the UK and lets you experience it through a teenager’s eyes. It is incredibly moving and powerful. My favourite poem is the chapter titled ‘Home’.
The Weight of Water is a perfect book. There isn’t a single word to change. It is beautiful in every way.