The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan
Author: Sarah Crossan Website|Twitter
Published: 5 January 2012 (Bloomsbury)
Book Depository: Paperback
Source: Borrowed from e-library
Plot Summary (from Goodreads):
Armed with a suitcase and an old laundry bag filled with clothes, Kasienka and her mother leave Poland and head for the UK to find her father. Life is lonely for Kasienka. At home her mother's heart is breaking and at school Kasienka finds it impossible to make new friends. While the search continues, Kasienka is kept afloat by William, a boy she meets at the local pool who understands what it means to lose someone and who swims with Kasienka towards her new life.
The Weight of Water tells the story of Kasienka, a Polish girl who moves with her mother to England. I'd come across this book before and put off reading it because it's a novel written in verse. I'll admit I'm not the biggest poetry fan and I've never read any novels in verse before. I really enjoyed Sarah Crossan's other book Breathe and this book was available through my library's e-library, so one evening curiosity got the better of me and I downloaded it straight to my iPod!
Let me start out by saying that if, like me, you've been putting off reading this novel because of the verse thing, then I hope I can change your opinion! Because I ended up really enjoying this story. The writing style didn't once put me off and I became so wrapped up in Kasienka's life that I barely even noticed the fact it was in verse. I think it's just a beautifully written tale.
I really liked the themes tackled in this book and how you get to see them from Kasienka's perspective, who is a total innocent in the situation. She has to put up with being judged because of her background, being bullied at school and put into a lower year group because they assume she's stupid. At the same time she's struggling with the poor living conditions her and her mother are putting up with and how that affects her social life. Add in to that the hormonal trials of being a twelve/thirteen year old girl and she has to go through a lot.
I think, even though Kasienka's situation isn't something everyone will face, it still felt very relatable. There's those real life defining moments like your first love and wishing you fitted in. I thought it really beautifully and acurately captured the discoveries you go through during those school years.
I found Kasienka and her narration of the story to be really endearing. I loved the way she dealt with everything pretty head on. Her relationship with William, a guy who persuades her to take up swimming, was really sweet. I loved seeing the family dynamic between her and her mother as well.
I'm sure this is one of those novels, being written in verse, that you can read a lot more into if you go into it with that kind of analytical brain on. I could pick up a few of those deeper meanings myself but I wasn't really worrying about that, I was just enjoying getting swept up in the story. It's quite short and it was a quick read (I managed it in almost one sitting) so it's well worth giving a go.
I'll definitely continue to read books by this author and I'll certainly be open to reading verse novels in the future!
What to read next: Breathe by Sarah Crossan
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