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The Weight of Water

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  2,000 ratings  ·  436 reviews
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 ori ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published January 5th 2012 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published December 25th 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Emily May

I need to finally brush off my prejudice against books that are written in verse. Every single time I raise a sceptical eyebrow in their direction - completely unable to believe that this is anything more than just lazy storytelling - and every single time I find myself impressed. The Weight of Water was no exception. This is a delightful, if somewhat heartbreaking, little story that took me just over an hour to read.

I've noticed some people shelving this as "middle grade" and I understand why
“When I am in the water
My body moves like a wave:
There is a violence to it
And a beauty.”

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
“And it
Never felt so good.”


High Points.
Kasienka. William. The writing. Friendship. Saying goodbye. Reunions. Butterfly stroke. Kisses like Haribo. Love is a large W. Mama. Resilience. Culture. Blueberry ice cream. Girly sleepovers. Tummy tumbles.

Low Points.
I would have loved to have had a few more poems set when Kasienka and her mum were in Poland. I think it would have adde
Oct 16, 2011 Sarah rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)
It's my novel, so I'm giving it five stars in the hope that I start a trend! Do hope you enjoy reading it. Any thoughts, send me a message; I'd love to hear from you.
Arielle Walker
I'm not usually a fan of novels written in poetic form, but this was an exception. Much like the water which is a recurring motive, this is far deeper than it first appears, with a beautifully written protagonist. The sparse words were infinitely more evocative than dense prose would have been. I found that the characters moved fluidly and realistically throughout Kasienka's life, and the result was a beautifully moving piece of literature.
Simply lovely.

Excerpt from book:

We weren't on a ship.

The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan is the story of twelve year old Kasienka. Kasienka’s mother is on a mission to find her husband after he left, so she and Kasi leave Poland and move to Coventry, England.

Kasi is an amazing girl; she’s intelligent and a talented swimmer. All she wants is to be accepted by the girls in her class but instead she encounters racism and bullying. I appreciated Kasi acknowledging that back home, she treated a new girl at her school similarly as I always find it har
Ben Babcock
Talk about come-from-behind challengers. I was so certain I had my Carnegie nominees sorted, and then I read the The Weight of Water. I almost didn’t read it. It’s getting close to the end of the school year, and in a week’s time I’ll be on a plane back to Canada for the summer. I wasn’t sure I wanted to invest the time in reading this book, particularly because it is written in verse. Poetry and I are … fairweather friends.

Not reading this book would have been a huge mistake, one I’m glad I did
There won't be a review as I don't think I can write a review to show how much I was surprised with this novel. A brief thought:

The Weight of Water is raw, heart breaking and real. There were many deep subjects that young adult readers will enjoy although the main character was a middle grade child. This was written in free verse poem style- which I actually loved.
Jabiz Raisdana
Simply Perfect. Do yourself a favor, carve out a few hours and read this in one sitting. It will leave a tiny stone in your gut that you will be unable to free yourself from for days.

Beautifully written. Image rich and perfect for teen-agers dealing with being the odd-person out and fitting in. Loved this book.
Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page)
The Weight of Water is Sarah Crossan's debut novel and it was definitely a story that didn't disappoint! In this story, Crossan tells the story of a Polish girl, Kasienka, her mother (Ola/Mama) and their move to England in order to search for Tata, her father. This book deals with so many issues, including poverty, racism, immigration, family, growing-up and school life. It is a coming of age book and the title of it is quite apt - the reference to water is an interesting one - it's a good compa ...more
I didn't think I was going to like this. It was short, written in free verse and I was a little annoyed at the situation the characters put themselves in. I mean what was the mother thinking? Why would you up yourself in that situation as though life was some kind of fairy tale? And why should another country automatically greet you with open arms when you deliberately compound a problem? Now I am aware that this may come across as racially hostile but I really isn't. My parents are Polish. My n ...more
This review originally appeared at

If I see a book is written in verse, I usually pass it over. I've only read one verse novel in the past - The Monkey's Mask by Dorothy Porter, when I was at uni - and I really didn't enjoy it. I thought it was because it was written in verse, but now I realise I probably shouldn't have blamed my dislike on the style - after all, one bad prose book doesn't put me off them all! Coz after reading one page of Sarah Crossan's The
The Weight Of Water was a quick read! (an hour!) but it was beautiful. Poetry is a beautiful thing. Free verse especially so you can make it your own special something. I fell in love with one special chapter though,

"Love is a Large W

Love is watching
Love is waiting
Love is wanting
Love is worrying
Love is wishing
Love is willing

Love is whispers
Love is wet
Love is wordless

Love is him
Love is me
Love is we
Love is...
Love is ...




This book was heartbreaking, perfect, powerful and unique. You have to read it. Just do that...
Dani (Pen to Paper)
Like this review? I have more! Come and follow me at Pen to Paper

When I received this book to review from Bloomsbury, I knew it would be entirely different from anything I've read before - poetry and prose alike. In the press release that I received with the book, one of the first things it says about the book is: "The line between poetry and fiction blurs in this startlingly original book. Crossan deftly tackles subjects of immigration and bullying through her narrator Kasienka". When I read th
I don't usually like reading books written in a poetic manner, but this was an different. The first page reminded me of grade 7, when we were reading poetry, I was really sick of it, and the first page brought back memories of that time. This book, I read it in an hour today morning. It was so simple and easy to read, to understand the character as well as her motivations. Honestly, I enjoyed it
Casey Hudson
Kasienka is 12, an only child, and an immigrant. Brought to England by her hopeful mother—in search of the man who abandoned them—"Cassie" experiences her coming of age in confusion... and in verse.

This unique approach to storytelling is part of what makes this tale so intriguing. Told through a collection of poems, the protagonist's experiences read more like a memoir than a children's book. The precision of vocabulary profoundly concentrates the emotional turmoil Kasienka faces. The turmoil of
Mrs Mac McKenzie
I loved this book. It was easy and quick to read being written in prose but packed a powerful punch. It deals with the issues of immigration, language, relationships, split families, bullying, making friends, and finding your place in a flowing and beautiful story. This is definitely a reread in the near future.
A bittersweet story, told through a series of poems, about a Polish girl who's mother drags her to England; trying to find her father who walked out on them.

When she reaches England she experiences a barrage of ignorance, rainy days and abuse, as she struggles to survive.

I don't usually like modern books written in verse but I was pleasantly surprised here. The poetry worked well in conveying the emptiness of Kasienka's life.

To start with I thought this book deserved no more than two stars, thre
The weight of water was quite an easy read, but that didn't stop me from reading the book. I loved the way the words on each page were written as though it was a poem. The book was also very interesting and I enjoyed reading the book. One of the many reasons I enjoyed the book was because it had been written in a similar way to the books 'Love that dog' and 'Hate that cat' by Sharon Creech. It felt good reading the weight of water after reading a book that was a 'stretch' for me.
This novel in verse tells the story of Kasienka, a twelve-year-old Polish girl who immigrates to England with her mother in search of her father. The author tells a complex story about the immigration experience, as well as the complexities of family dynamics that are affected by immigration. Kasienka is very much an outsider in her new school in England. She has a different hairstyle than the other girls, her clothes are different, her language is different, and nobody wants to be friends with ...more
Faye Fong
I think that this book was a really powerful and amazing book. Even though it is a poetry kind of book, it still manages to get the message of many different themes across. After reading the book, I found a theme that stuck out to me the most. This theme that I think the author showed was that people shouldn't change themselves just fit in with the crowd. Here is a part of my Bend 1 Thematic Essay:

Changing yourself isn’t the key to fitting in and it is shown very clearly in “The Weight of Water
Wow. That pretty much sums up what I thought about this book. Despite the fact that I'm not that great at interpreting poetry this was simple and easy to understand. I knew the plot and loved the characters. Though I don't how many people actually experience what Kasienka did the characters are raw and I love that.

Mama - Hopeful and that's the only thing that's driving her to keep looking for Tata. Even when she did discover the news she learns to cope with it in a very realistic way.

Kasienka -
( 4.3 stars )

This was such a fast yet beautiful read!!

The story felt so incredibly real and was written so fantastically! The whole book is written in verse so it felt like reading lots of small poems and it all flowed together so well.

This book is extremely unique, emotional and just so precious! My heart has been warmed by the utter beauty of this short yet extremely satisfying read.
Das Tolle an diesem Buch ist eigentlich die Form des Erzählens. Die Autorin hat fast einen lyrischen Weg gefunden, die Geschichte von dem Mädchen, dass mit der Mutter auf der Suche nach dem Vater von Polen nach Enland kommt, zu erzählen. Die Autorin (und somit die Heldin) schwafelt nie rum, sie ist immer sehr präzise und findet sehr schöne Beschreibungen z.B. für das Verliebtsein - die aber auch nie aufgesetzt, zu hochtrabend oder unjugendlich klingen. Es gibt keinen unnutzen oder unnötigen Satz ...more
Deb Tyo
A powerful verse novel about family, bullying, and first love.

Use Sarah Crossan's poems as a mentor text--poetry/writing notebooks. (I have eighth graders in the fall.)

"The Bell" (p. 14) Students can write their own poem with the same title.

"Group Work" (p. 48) Read this poem to the class. Students can write a reflection. Students can respond if they agree or disagree with the points made in this poem. Students can write about a time when they have been left out of something.

"Teachers" (p. 131)
I love poetry and I love stories told in verses even more! This one did not disappoint.
I totally understood how Kasienka was feeling, how dejected and disappointed to be asked to live the place she called home and chase after a degraded father. I also liked the fact that she was loyal and supportive of her mother.

This story is your typical coming of age of an immigrant in a new country, but the ways it's told makes it to be more than that. The main character has a strong and sensitive voice, she
This is one of the books that's written in free verse a la Out of the Dust. I love that format, and I really really loved this book. I've never read anything by this author, but I would certainly read her again. The story is of a young Polish girl and her mom who are abandoned by the father. When they discover he has moved to Coventry in England, they leave Poland to find him. Through the lines of free verse we read about "Cassie's" struggles to fit in and find her place in a foreign land while ...more
This book is a wonderful read and a great book to use when discussing the theme of bullying with older students in a way that is "outside of the box". A young girl named Kasienka leaves her homeland with her mother to go to England in search of her father who abandoned them many years ago. This novel, told in verse form, tells the story of how a young girl makes the transition to a new city where she obtains a new identity. As Kasienka begins to develop a new identity, her life at school is not ...more
My Thematic Essay

“The Weight of Water” written by Sarah Crossman focuses on a 12 (almost 13) years old Polish girl named Kasienka. After her parents got divorced, the father left to London. Kasienka had to follow her mother who also went to London in search of him. Life in a new country is tough for Kasienka. She has trouble fitting in to her new school because she cannot speak English well and is also very different from other English girls. In order to fit in, she tries to create similarities
Sam Piper
This is an odd little gem of a book.

It is a debut novel by Sarah Crossan written in verse - free verse - rather than prose; but deals with the realities of a very credible modern situation. As such, the disjunct between a contemporary situation and the language does parallel the disjunction and disconnection of a smart girl in a foreign culture.


Kasienka is a thirteen year-old Polish girl and has migrated to England. There is therefore the whole political, European Union element to it. Particu
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Sarah Crossan is Irish. She graduated with a degree in Philosophy and Literature before training as an English and Drama teacher at Cambridge University and worked to promote creative writing in schools before leaving teaching to write full time.

She completed her Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Warwick in 2003 and in 2010 received an Edward Albee Fellowship for writing.

She curren
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