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The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan

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Teenage Book of the Month

The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan
Published by Bloomsbury, 2012.

Two years after Kasienka’s father disappears, she and her mother receive a cheque from him in an envelope postmarked ‘Coventry’, leaving them with no choice but to go in search of him. Kasienka arrives in England from Poland, aged 13, with nothing to call her own except for a broken suitcase and an old laundry bag.

But Kasienka is a talented swimmer and she uses this to overcome the many problems she has in her teenage life. She is bullied at school in Coventry by a vindictive fellow student and at home her mother is suffering from depression.

Through concentrating on swimming competitions she experiences the better side of life; she becomes friendly with a boy at the pool and a kind and helpful neighbour urges her to use her happiness to beat her adversaries.

This slim volume is written as a series of poems in the voice of Kasienka. A most unusual format for a young adult novel, it nevertheless works perfectly to tell the story in a concise and appealing narrative without superfluous detail.
The text printed in blue, an added and very fitting attraction that re-iterates the title, which along with Oliver Jeffers’ illustrated cover, all combine to make this a deserved shortlisted title for the CBI book of the Year Awards 2013.