Friday, 2 August 2013
Review: The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan
Released: January 3rd, 2013
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.
The Weight of Water was published in 2012 and somehow completely passed me by. I have no idea how, as I love verse novels and always keep a beady eye out for any new ones. I had a strange year last year so I think I'll just put it down to that and say that I'm very glad I eventually acquired a copy!
As I mentioned, books written in verse are among my absolute favourites. I've never been a fan of poetry, or particularly good with it, but anything written in verse immediately clicks with me. I love how it flows and how it looks on the page and, even though some verse novels are short, it means that the story is often more concise and compact. The Weight of Water is utterly brilliant and I can't believe Sarah Crossan isn't more of an author superstar. She should be!
The Weight of Water is about Kasienka, a twelve-year-old polish girl who moves to England with her mother, in the hopes of finding her father. She doesn't fit in at school, is bullied and generally hates life in England. But then she meets William, makes a friend and realises that maybe life isn't so bad after all. Life is what you make it.
Kasienka experiences things that a lot of teenagers go through. Fitting in and bullying are, sadly, just two of the challenges that have to be faced at high school. Children can be mean, as depicted here in this book, but they can also be ignored and overcome. I love the realism that Sarah Crossan brings to Kasienka's story, the innocence that slowly fades as she sees the world for what it can really be like. She learns a lot during a few short months, but she's all the better for it.
The Weight of Water carries a feeling of sadness with it, a feeling of loss and heartbreak. It makes it even more beautiful, with its lyrical prose and breathtaking verse that lies on every page. It's a book to savour, to fully endure, right until the poignant last page. This is one of the most perfect debut novels I've ever read, made that much better by its realistic portrayal of coming of age and the obstacles that go hand in hand with entering our teenage years. Just read it and you'll see exactly what I mean.