The Weight of Water
By Sarah Crossan
Published 2013 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Kasienka and her mother have just moved to England from Poland and everything is different. Her mother is unbearably sad, searching for her father. At school, Kasienka doesn't fit in. But when she swims, Kasienka feels just a little bit better about her life.
This was another of the novels in verse I binged upon this past fall. I really, really liked the simplicity of the poetry in this one - it felt true and powerful. I think this simplicity helps lay bare the facts of this story and pulls no punches. While this is most definitely a middle-grade book, it deals with some not-childish issues and it does so honestly and expertly. This book, perhaps even more than most realistic fiction stories, felt exactly that - realistic. I feel like this is an honest portrayal of what it's like to be this child - a child with one parent and that parent not being one who speaks English very well. The new girl in a strange place, alienated from her peers. Just everything about Kasienka and her story felt achingly real.
I enjoyed the secondary characters as well, including Kasienka's heartbroken and stubborn mother and William, the friend she makes (among others).
Overall, I think this was a more powerful and affecting book than I was expecting. Definitely recommended.