Sunday 11 March 2012

71. The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan

The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan
Published January 2012 Bloomsbury

From the publisher:

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.

This small hardback verse novel is just beautiful, to look at, and to read!

Kasienka's father left Poland for England and he never contacted his family again. After a number of years waiting to hear from him Kasienka's mother packs their things and they head to England to find him.

They have few possessions, and they have to live in a small bedsit flat, sharing the same bed. If her homelife wasn't difficult enough, Kasienka does not fit in at school. From the first day, girls snigger and point, and that moves on to more nasty bullying. Nothing Kasienka does makes any difference, these girls are just mean.

The one person she connects with is William, and he is able to see her for the amazing person she is, and offers her a friendship that allows her to become strong and proud.

Kasienka is the one who eventually tracks down her father. It seems he didn't just move to England for work, he was leaving his family. Kasienka finds he is in a new relationship with a new child. Dealing with the mixed emotions she feels about her father, she initially keeps the bad news from her mother, but when she tells her, life at home becomes more strained. When her mother begins to sink into depression, Kasienka begins to spend more time with neighbour, Kanoro. A surgeon in his homeland of Kenya, unable to get respectable work in England. He is a kind man, who Kasienka feels she can talk to when she doesn't want to burden her mother.

I know that some people are wary of verse novels, and I encourage even the most reluctant to pick this up. Verse novels may look like a book of poems, but you read them as if they were just short chapters. You get all of the emotion, feeling and character development that you would get on a much more complex novel, all perfectly formed in this one.

Who will like this book: Girls Age 12+
Read it if you like: books that give you another perspective on life

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