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The Weight of Water

By Sarah Crossan, published by Bloomsbury.

The Weight of Water

Goodreads synopsis: Armed with a suitcase and an old laundry bag filled with clothes, Kasienka and her mother head for England. Life is lonely for Kasienka. At home her mother’s heart is breaking and at school friends are scarce. But when someone special swims into her life, Kasienka learns that there might be more than one way for her to stay afloat.”The Weight of Water” is a startlingly original piece of fiction; most simply a brilliant coming of age story, it also tackles the alienation experienced by many young immigrants. Moving, unsentimental and utterly page-turning, we meet and share the experiences of a remarkable girl who shows us how quiet courage prevails.

My review: When I picked this up for my school book club read, I was definitely not expecting the entire book to be in verse! I’ve never read a book quite like this before, with its unique format that makes it really stand out. I think that having the whole thing in poems instead of chapters gave a very different effect on me as opposed to other reads.Somehow, I seemed to understand the character of Kasienka more than I think I would’ve done if  The Weight of Water had been written like other books. I could really understand her emotions and feelings towards her sudden new life, her parents, and the bully at her school, through the format. The poems were pretty emotional and thought-provoking- they really made me feel empathy for Kasienka, and other, real-life young immigrants.

Kasienka was, in my opinion, a really strong protagonist. She had just arrived in England and felt uncomfortable and like an outcast as her mother practially forced her to help search for her father; who ran away from their home in Poland two years before. I felt so sorry for her about her situation, and was rooting for her throughout, hoping she would be okay. The bullying towards Kasienka really shocked me, as did her mother’s sudden desicion to move to England! I didn’t like her relationship with William, though. I felt he was pretty careless about her, because he was hanging out with Kasienka’s bully.

Overall, The Weight of Water made for a pretty short read due to its poem format. It was emotional but with a happy ending, although I feel that the last parts of the book could’ve been a bit better. I think it had a really great plot, too. The storyline dealt with serious problems in the life of a young immigrant, and it was very interesting to see through the eyes of a person who felt like the outcast of everything. I’d recommend it to fans of Refugee Boy, by Benjamin Zephaniah. The Weight of Water really reminded me of that book!

I received A Greyhound of a Girl from my school, for a book-club read because we’re shadowing the Carnegie shortlist.

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