I’ve always loved verse novels since being introduced to Steven Herrick’s Love, Ghosts and Nose Hair in high school and my love of verse novels continues in Sarah Crossan’s The Weight of Water. It was an poignant little book of verses that follow Kasienka and her mother from Poland to England as they follow Tata, Kasienka’s dad, who had abandoned them a long time ago.
The book deals with lots of themes, but in particular it focuses on alienation. Kasienka’s experience at her new school where no one can pronounce her name and she’s bullied because she’s foreign is great and difficult to read. Her struggle with her family and the conflict of her family is heavy, but it also provides some interesting insights into culture and class differences.
Th blurb (if you look it up) alludes to Kasienka meeting somebody, and while that particular sub-plot is only a small part of the book, it is very affecting. I really enjoyed seeing Kasienka find herself in her swimming and learn to grow in her new environment.
Crossan’s writing is simple and elegant. The book is thoughtful and poetic. It was an easy read, but at the same time it really opened me up to Kasienka’s life in a complex and beautiful way. This isn’t just any book, and I really think you should read it if you’re looking for something a little different.