The Weight of Water


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

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17 thoughts on “The Weight of Water

  1. The Weight of Water gives us an insight of the life of Kasienka a Polish immigrant come to England to find her Father. I really liked this book, I think it is great example people around the world trying to fit in on a day-to-day basis. Kasienka and her Mother must battle their social problems as a string of events unwind.

    This book is very thoughtful and I would definitely recommend this to anyone.

  2. The book that I am reviewing is called The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan. It is about Kasienka and her mother moving to England after their father runs away from them. They both have to work together and try to find the troubles and problems in their social life begin to topple onto one another. In some terms, Kasienka tries to stay afloat in the midst of all the problems that tore her apart (just like the suitcase and laundry bag they carried to England). In my opinion, the story is clearly trying to take on the message of moving on as it brings a lot of twists and turns; causing you to have to adapt quickly as you know another twist is around the corner. I may warn you but the review will have spoilers below so read with risk!

    My favorite character was Kasienka. That answer may seem quite dull as she is the main character but it still stays. She is one of the most interesting characters in the story – period.

    The social problems that she experiences are clearly relatable as bullying and judgement is something that is often created when one is either jealous or wants to stand out. Her reaction to getting bullied by her “friend” is quite calm. She just continues life as if nothing ever happens. Well, until her physical body is damaged by a pair of scissors, of course. From then we see how she is slowly developing as someone quite affected by the bullies. She is quite closed off and quiet from then onwards until she meets William. He is the reason that she held back her negativity towards the bullies. However, later on in the book, Claire (the bully/old friend) tries to torment her one more time. However, Kasienka stops her immediately and says, and I quote, “Why don’t you piss off?” in polish. This clearly shows how even when being tormented time and time again, she still remains in a sort of neutral feeling; not exactly holding back but making sure that she isn’t just as bad as her. This makes her feel quite real, yet surreal at the same time due to her “awkward” attitude and realistic problems.

    Also, another amazing feature that the book has is that it is laid out in a poem format, without rhyming though. This is interesting to me as it could mean the whole book is an account from Kasienka from either the present or the future. This could be quite vague (like the climax) as you could decide why it is laid out like that

    However, with every great story comes a problem. In my opinion, I don’t exactly understand the style in which the story ends abruptly, not exactly giving the climactic feel to an amazing book that it deserved. For example, it doesn’t explain what happens to Tata after the climax. Does he have a verbal apology? Does he even come back? Yet, even with that mini problem it has an even better and stronger reason why it does do such a thing: the ending is vague, having several interpretations. In my opinion, I think the story actually “ends” if Kasienka finds a way for her mother and Tata to get along in some way or another.

    To round up my review,

    I think this book should be read in schools due to its visible effort to make the book seem like a realistic event that has taken place somewhere before.

    If there was a hypothetical scoreboard out of 10, I would give it a 9.5 due to its amazing story and features. Thanks for reading my book review!

  3. I really liked this book because it tells Kasienka’s story in verse as she arrives in England to search for her father. Life is lonely for her. At school she doesn’t have many friends and at home her mother’s heart is broken.

    Kasienka loves swimming and that is how she meets William…

  4. I loved this book. From the storyline to the way it was written. The weight of water was pure perfection. It is about Kasienka’s story from living in Poland to entering the UK. The main theme is Kasienka being a immigrant. Yet if you look closer you discover the themes like: Moving School,Bullying and even some romance. Sarah Crossan writes the story the unique way of writing the chapters as poems. I believe this entices the reader more than just words and sentences.

  5. Rating: ****

    Summary: A book about a polish girl, who has lost her father and is trying to find him and so much more

    Details: Weight of water is a book about a polish girl who comes to a new place, in hope of finding her father[ ta ta]. The entire book is written in the form of a poem. Although along the way she falls in love with a boy. This is a book teenagers should read I think because most of the characters are in their teens.

  6. The book the weight of water was very sad and dramatic. I liked the part where kasienka was saying she was the fastest runner. The part I disliked was when her ex-friend cut kasienka`s hair in assembly . I was so pleased when she found her dad.I also think the ending was very calming. And I was happy that kasienka was happy.I would recommend this book.

  7. The Weight of Water is written in verse instead of prose. This means you can read it in one sitting. The Weight of Water covers some relatable problems – feeling excluded, making friends, bullying – but since it was over so fast, skipped and there was practically no description, I didn’t really, overall, care what happened to the characters. I also think the romance part of the book was sort of stiff, and that Kasienka was too young to have a boyfriend. Sarah Crossan has written better books. I would rate this 3.5 out of 5.

  8. The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan

    Kasienka, a twelve-year-old polish girl has just moved to England, to look for her father. She knows little English, and her peers know no Polish. How will she cope with new found friends, enemies, and lovers?

    Sarah Crossan’s The Weight of Water is written in verse. Whilst other books of hers, such as One and We Come Apart, work in verse, I do not think that The Weight of Water worked in a similar way. All it meant was that the book, which looked like your average sized book, was in fact very short. I did not feel like the poetry enriched the book, in fact, it felt like a lot of description was being taken away from the book in order to make it into a poem. Whilst, of course, poetry can often be the most descriptive type of writing, but for me, it just felt like everything was being skipped over. As well as this, short chapters made it quite hard for me to really connect with the characters. I didn’t feel like I got to know Kasienka that well, let alone all of the other characters.

    However, The Weight of Water wasn’t all doom and gloom. I felt that the plot was solid, and actually quite enjoyable. The characters, whilst seeming to be distant, were still likable and it highlighted problems faced by many immigrants. These included on that happened at the beginning of the book, when a teacher assumes Kasienka wants to be called Cassie. Is this an act of Xenophobia? Or is this merely a teacher thinking that she is doing the right thing. As well as this, it highlights issues with bullying, especially with foreigners. Kasienka gets bullied herself, and many of the teachers seem to look away, or not notice. This is particularly relevant as last week was anti-bullying week.

    I am going to give it a 7/5,
    An age rating of 10+

  9. I disliked the Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan. The plot was good but it was ruined by the poetry. I couldn’t connect with the characters because of it. I also felt like it was over too quickly. It took my less than an hour to completely finish the book. Other Sarah Crossan books are good this was not.

  10. A brilliant story, written in poems, about the life of a girl called Kasienka. She gets bullied and lost her father. Will she ever find him?
    One day she falls in love, hoping for hope to find her father. Her mother lives with her in a small home, with limited facilities. We her life ever get any better?
    Will she go home, back to Poland?
    I think you should definitely read this book…

  11. Mrs Harris
    This is a short book to read and I loved the style of writing. No need for long chapters describing the scenes – the author conveys her story incredibly.

    A deeply moving tale of a young girl forced to deal with difficult issues that many people face today. At it’s heart the need for all of us to be accepted, whatever our background and circumstances and the importance of finding just one way to hold on until the world catches up with who you really are. Kasienka’s reflections on her situation and the actions of those around her are so powerful that I was literally moved to tears!

    Love this little book.

    I love the way this book is written.

  12. I thought this book was really easy to read and this is because the author Sarah Crossan has wrote this book which looks like a lots of poems. and also, because the main character in the story is from Poland so Sarah is trying to write how Kasienka (the girl) feels by using not complicated words. this leads to the result of a nice easy book to read for foreign people as my first language is not English as well. the story line was quite simple and easy to understand and I could feel the feeling between Kasienka and her mum being worried to live in a country they have never lived in, and the fear of not finding her dad who was supposed to be living around where Kasienka moved to. this story was a overall very heart-warming story and I would definitely recommend this book to my friends and to people whose their first language is not English.

  13. Imagine an world where you’re an outsider, outcast and an intruder. Hostile glares and disdainful stares on the bus. Whispers and rumours in class spreading like wildfire behind your back. Ignorance and idiocy. They think you’re inadequate, unimportant , irritable and in cable of ever fitting in. And you feel isolated, like your’e alone on an island. But you must survive in this brutal land. Be brave and learn to swim. Swim away from their mindlessness, their rude comments and attempts to taunt you.
    Kasienka is from Poland. She grew up there and thats her true home, where her heart is. But Kasineka and her mum head for England to find their long lost father who abandoned them. She starts school and gets put into a lower class. Finding friends becomes problematic. She feels like an alien amongst them, she has to pay the price for being different. She comes across Claire, who torments her and makes her life even more of a misery. But Kasienka turns to the thing she loves to do most. Where she can escape and move into another world. Flow and twirl in happiness, away from bullies and away from school. She is free and can let go and this is where she feels truly at home.
    This is the type of books thats gets to your heart and soul and stays there. It teaches you the tough life immigrants face. This story is written in blank verse, giving it a free feeling and a different style to most books you read. Kanoro was my favourite character. Kanoro is a Kenyan doctor who lives in the next room to Kasienka and her mum. Kanoro provides a ray of light, love, wisdom and kidness to the Polish immigrants.
    Overall, I loved this book. The believable characters, the setting, the theme of refugees, all makes it a memorable and engaging book. I would recommend this book for children aged between 11-14.

  14. George from Eltham College says:
    Weight of water by Sarah Crossman is a heart-rending and exciting book, full of adventure into the unknown. Kasienka, a determined twelve-year old from Poland, is missing her father. He left a note one morning saying he was off to England… That was all he told them.
    This book is all about Kasienka and her mother searching for her dad. It is a new perspective of how people find new countries and homes difficult to deal with and how their emotions change.

  15. Kieran from Eltham College says:
    The weight of water is a wonderful book. Sarah Crossan has done a magnificent job of writing this book in a unique manner. I would normally not choose a book that is written in verse because it has never appealed to me, even though I normally like poetry. I find that the book gives you a different view to how we would normally see the world. It is a beautiful book and I would recommend it to anyone.

  16. At first The Weight of Water throws you because it’s poetry, but very quickly you get used to the format and it tells an interesting tale. It’s a tale that makes you think –in these times of Brexit are we treating those who come here to work with respect? Do we do so in schools? Or does this just provide the bullies in our society with another victim.

    One of the messages I took from The Weight of Water is that whatever country we come form we are all the same, and that we should try and help not hinder each other.
    I also love the idea that competitive sport becomes a release for the central character.

    A good and thought provoking read.

  17. This is delightful and heart warming. It give an insight form Kasienka’s point of view arriving in Britain as an immigrant and what she makes of her “New world”.

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