The Weight of Water Hardcover – Jul 23 2013
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Poignant, powerful, just perfect Cathy Cassidy Succinct, with a gentle lyricism, the poems are telling about immigration, prejudice, self-delusion, families and first love, on the way to a life-changing conclusion Sunday Times - Book of the Week This poetic novel is sheer perfection - for adults as well as for teenagers. Being in Kasienka's head, the reader gains a new understanding of how alienation feels. I loved it Irish Examiner A compellingly beautiful, utterly seductive debut novel ... Do not miss it and press it upon your friends and acquaintances The Scotsman You've entered the young Polish girl's voice with a heartfelt conviction. I felt like I was watching a movie of her life in present time and at the same sharing in what's happening inside her head. What I especially like is that nothing is overstated, but there are so many pregnant issues there - prejudice, migration, language bias - but what's so disarming and charming is the way the girl reveals her inner self with a poetic and resonant simplicity John Agard --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Sarah Crossan is the author of the Breathe trilogy. She grew up in England and Ireland, has taught English in the United States, and now lives in London with her family. Visit her online at www.sarahcrossan.com
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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)?
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.
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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