Carrying just a suitcase and an old laundry bag filled with clothes, Kasienka and her mother are immigrating to England from Poland. Kasienka isn't the happiest girl in the world. At home, her mother is suffering from a broken heart as she searches for Kasienka's father. And at school, Kasienka is having trouble being the new girl and making friends. The only time she feels comforted is when she's swimming at the pool. But she can't quite shake the feeling that she's sinking. Until a new boy swims into her life, and she learns that there might be more than one way to stay afloat.
The Weight of Water is a coming-of-age story that deftly handles issues of immigration, alienation, and first love. Moving and poetically rendered, this novel-in-verse is the story of a young girl whose determination to find out who she is prevails.
Grades 5-8. In this emotional novel in verse, 12-year-old Kasienka emigrates from Poland to Coventry, England, to search for her missing father. Kasienka has a difficult transition as she and her mother move into a crumbling studio apartment, she is unfairly bumped down to sixth grade because of her broken English, and she is teased by the girls at school for being different. While her mother searches door-to-door each evening for her missing husband, Kasienka finds refuge in swimming. The sparse nonrhyming format gives the novel an extra emotional punch as Kasienka struggles with her mother’s depression, her strained relationship with her father, and the bullying she is subjected to at school. No easy answers present themselves as Kasienka’s story unfolds, though she does learn to stand up for herself and fight back. (A first romance thankfully adds a tender element to the story.) A powerful coming-of-age novel about family and discovering how to be true to yourself.