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.
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