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The Weight of Water Kindle Edition

15 customer reviews

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Length: 225 pages
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Age Level: 10 - 14
Grade Level: 5 - 8

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 6-9-Kasienka and her mother have left their home in Poland to find the father and husband who left them a few years before. They arrive in the UK with some meager possessions and only a vague notion of where to find a man who may not wish to be found. Kasienka feels "all wrong," a feeling that only gets worse when she finds herself in the crosshairs of one of her school's alpha girls. On top of the bullying, she must travel door to door each night acting as her mother's voice in a demeaning search for her father. Kasienka tells her tale through graceful, effortless verse that succinctly captures the immigrant experience in a way that anyone who has ever felt left out could easily embrace. This is a sweet, well-paced tale not without a silver lining; Kasienka finds happiness and the stirrings of first love in an unexpected place-the swimming pool. Those who have wished for an older version of Carolyn Marsden's The Gold-Threaded Dress (Candlewick, 2002) or Eleanor Estes's The Hundred Dresses (Harcourt, 1944) need look no further. The Weight of Water will more than fill the hole.-Jill Heritage Maza, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

In this emotional novel in verse, 12-year-old Kasienka emigrates from Poland to Coventry, England, to search for her missing father. Kasienka has a difficult transition as she and her mother move into a crumbling studio apartment, she is unfairly bumped down to sixth grade because of her broken English, and she is teased by the girls at school for being different. While her mother searches door-to-door each evening for her missing husband, Kasienka finds refuge in swimming. The sparse nonrhyming format gives the novel an extra emotional punch as Kasienka struggles with her mother’s depression, her strained relationship with her father, and the bullying she is subjected to at school. No easy answers present themselves as Kasienka’s story unfolds, though she does learn to stand up for herself and fight back. (A first romance thankfully adds a tender element to the story.) A powerful coming-of-age novel about family and discovering how to be true to yourself. Grades 5-8. --Sarah Bean Thompson

Product Details


More About the Author

Sarah Crossan is Irish. She graduated with a degree in Philosophy and Literature before training as an English and Drama teacher at Cambridge University and worked to promote creative writing in schools before leaving teaching to write full time.

She completed her Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Warwick in 2003 and in 2010 received an Edward Albee Fellowship for writing.

The Weight of Water, published by Bloomsbury in January 2012, is her first novel.

Breathe will be published by Greenwillow and Bloomsbury in October 2012.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Heidi Grange on November 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Kasienka and her mother arrive in England prepared to search for her father who left them behind in Poland. They just received a check from him giving them an idea of where he is living, but Kasienka isn't sure he wants to be found. When she tries to convince her mother of this, her mother ignores her. As the search continues, Kasienka struggles to fit in at her school where she has been placed a year behind where she should be, just because her English isn't good enough. In addition to this, a group of girls starts bullying her for no reason she understands. But slowly Kasienka's confidence in herself grows as she finally makes a friend and pursues her passion for swimming. When a boy shows interest in her, she is excited about getting her first kiss but confused about how it is all supposed to work. Things come to a head however when Kasienka's father is found and it's clear that he wants nothing further to do with her mother.

Strengths: The characters are great including Kasienka, her mother, their neighbor Kanoro, and Will especially shine through. The plot is interesting revolving as it does around a young girl's love of swimming and how it helps her deal with the challenges in her life, including a mother who refuses to listen and accept what those around her tell her. Kasienka's struggles at school are unfortunately all to common, especially for immigrant children. The free verse is beautifully written.

Weaknesses: I'm not sure how many middle grade readers want to read free verse. The format means that a lot of details are left out, but this allows the reader to focus on Kasienka's feelings, which is not entirely a bad thing. I also have issues with 12 and 13-year-old's making out, especially French kissing such as Kasienka and Will engage in. Do we really want to encourage kids this age to engage in that kind of behavior without fully understanding the consequences (which are in no way explored in this book)?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ruth Steven on June 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is utterly lovely. Poignant without being sentimental and incredibly relatable. Easy to read and beautifully written. As a writer I'm jealous, as a reader consider my thought provoked.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JerryHoboken on March 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan is an emotional, authentic work aimed at adolescents. Crossan creates a complex protaganist, Kasienka, who narrates entirely in verse. As a 12-year-old Pole dragged to London, she experiences the on-set of physical change while her social structure is in chaos. Crossan steers clear of maudlin emotion and Kasienka emerges as a strong individual with quiet fortitude. There is no pandering to Kasienka nor to the reader. This gives the reader credit to be able capture the essence of a three dimensional character via a crumb trail of evidence, spread through page long poems.
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Format: Hardcover
The weight of our decisions
I started reading this book while waiting for a doctor's appointment, and as soon as I got home, I finished reading it. This book is aimed at the middle grades (6-9), but high school students could still enjoy it. The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan is a touching story about a Polish girl, Kasienka, and her mother who move from Poland to England to find her father who left them. The story is told through poetry from Kasienka's perspective. You feel for her as she is placed in the wrong grade level because she can't read in English very well. You see her struggle to make friends, adapt to a new culture, deal with bullies and fall in love. While dealing with school and the struggles that come from being a teenager, she has be her mother's interpreter as they go door to door looking for her father who abandoned them. It is nice to see the dynamics of this mother/daughter duo without it becoming cliché or trite. It is very real reactions and interactions between them. You can feel the hurt feelings, the stubbornness, the love and the pride in all of their actions. Throughout the book, Kasienka must deal with the weight of her decisions and of those around her.
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By Taryn B. on July 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
When I first picked up this book, I didn't realize was a novel in verse. I love novels in verse, so I was even more excited when I found out that this book is written in that format. Crossan told a moving story about an immigrant's experience using simple but powerful language. While this book only took about an hour to read, Kasienka's story will stay with me for much longer. Her voice was strong, and I could really feel her loneliness and alienation as well as her courage and determination.The plot was engaging, and it explored issues with bullying and complicated family relationships. Despite some of the sad subject matter, I finished the book feeling hopeful and inspired.

I know a lot of other readers are hesitant to pick up novels in verse, but don't let the format deter you from picking up this beautifully written book! I can see why this debut novel ended up on the Carnegie Medal shortlist.
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Format: Kindle Edition
When Kasienka’s mother decides to leave their Polish home in search of the father that left them for England two years ago, she is devastated. She finds it hard to fit in at school and doesn’t understand why her mother is so obsessed with finding a man that didn’t love them enough to stick around. While Kasienka tries to make new friends, she must also deal with her mother’s loneliness and make a new home in a strange land.

Short and sweet is the best way to describe this lovely coming of age novel. The writing style is unique and unexpectedly effective, almost like little diary excerpts. It is a story about new beginnings and dealing with change, and is as much about Kasienka’s mother as it is about her. This novel is definitely more for the young adult market – not really new adult, as Kasienka’s character is still fairly immature but it is a wonderfully refreshing work of fiction.
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