Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan, Book Review

By: Sarah Crossan
Published by: Bloomsbury
Released on: July 23rd, 2013
Ages: 10-14
Source: book from publisher to review
4 Stars: I Enjoyed It
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Add it to Goodreads

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 not a book I normally would have picked up, but it's one that was highly talked about at the Bloomsbury breakfast I attended while at BEA. That conversations really peaked my interest in this book, and it what made me sit down and read it after it arrived. Can I just say, this book is packed with emotions and moments I wasn't excerpting to get wrapped up in.

Written in verse, The Weight of Water tackles everything from first love, dealing with bullying, abandonment, trying to find yourself in the world, poverty, and those awkward teen years. This is a book that doesn't down play what Kasienka's life is like. With a father who up and left them behind and headed to England, a her mother who hasn't been able to get over her grief  Kasienka's mother uproots them and moves them to England to find him. With few very possessions, and little money, they move into an area that isn't in a great part of town.

Kasienka's story is one that's honest, emotionally raw, and at times heartbreaking. It wasn't hard for me to sympathize for her. Kasienka is a bright young girl who's world has totally been turned upside down, and in the process of trying to adjust to her new home, and country, she starts to find herself. Being a foreigner and a new girl at school is not what anyone wants, and Kasienka deals with a lot of bullying. Seriously, those moments really broke my heart, but I admired the fact that Kasienka wasn't the kind of girl to just take it. She held her head high and did what she had to do to at first cope with it, and then fight against it.

Often times while reading her story, I wondered what I would have done if I was in her shoes. For awhile it didn't look like she could catch a break. I don't know what was worse for her, school or her broken home life. Her new home was like living in the slums, and with a mother who was working to made ends meet and deal with her depression, she paid little attention to her daughter. Kasisenka's loneliness really broke my heart. Let me just say, being a mom I was so peeved at her mom, even though I respected she was doing what she good to keep a roof over their head, and little food on the table. I didn't like the fact she couldn't see past what she was dealing with, to help her daughter. BUT, during the course of the story things changed, and events happen and these two learn to work on their relationship. 

This story is a honest, emotional packed story about one girls journey to finding herself, and coping with things life throws at her. Beautifully written, The Weight of Water is a book that gives readers a real look into Kasienka's life. It's written in away that makes me feel like I've have a look into a real person's life. Now I understand why Bloomsbury talked so highly of this book. 

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~