The Weight of Water
Sarah Crossan

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.

Succinct, with a gentle lyricism, the poems are telling about immigration, prejudice, self-delusion, families and first love, on the way to a life-changing conclusion. (Sunday Times 'Book of the Week')

This poetic novel is sheer perfection - for adults as well as for teenagers. Being in Kasienka's head, the reader gains a new understanding of how alienation feels. I loved it. (Irish Examiner)

This is a unique and compelling read with sharp observations of human behaviour as Kasienka goes on a journey of discovery... while trying to fit into a new life. Written in a unique poetic style that is at times humorous and often deeply moving. (The Bookseller, 'Bookseller's Choice')
Adam, from Jewish Community Secondary School

I enjoyed this book for a few reasons. The stanza-like layout made it easy to read but also difficult at times. It told the story well and to effect. It looked well at the difficulties a family can face if they move abroad. I liked this because it was written from the girl, Kasienka's, point of view so I found out what you feel when you move school.

It was an interesting read for me because there were twists that kept on being added to spice the story up. Sometimes these twists completely changed the course of the book. I think I would have enjoyed the book more if it had a clear plot. I think this isn't a book for people looking for action, but more for someone who is looking for something that changes and is calm.

It would have been better if it was longer because then there would be more story in it so there would be more chance for more changes which is something I liked about it. Another reason I wanted it to be longer was because it was a good book so I wanted it to keep me interested for a while. I finished the book in three days.

Overall, I would give the book 4 stars.

Adam, from University College School London

Can a book written in poetic form be considered a novel?

What is certain is that Sarah Crossan’s first piece is a brilliant, realistic and upsetting tale. It tells the story of Kasienka, a young Polish girl who has joined her mother in England after her father, Tata, leaves the comfortable home in Poland to seek a new life here. She is constantly undermined by peers in her year as she is placed in year 7 even though she thinks she’s a woman and should be treated older. She is the only girl in her class that speaks Polish so there is an element of feeling sorry for her as, with any immigration, the new life is hard to get used to.

But it isn’t all doom and gloom; she spends her past time in a local swimming pool where she meets a young boy, William. Here she seems happier, full of life. She is uncomfortable with her “straight Polish body.” And William is older than her dragging her into crowds of the playground she is uncomfortable with like the smoking crowd.

At home her mother is drowned in emotions over the loss of Tata and every day the deep depressing search, for him, round Coventry goes on. She didn’t want this life but she has been sucked into it by her mother who doesn’t always do the thing that’s best for her.

The book on the whole was a very different experience I have ever encountered before and I enjoyed it. It had all emotions thrown into the pool of the story. A true masterpiece. 

Ailis, from St James Catholic High School

The Weight of Water is written as a series of poems telling a story. It is about a girl called Kasienka who comes to Coventry to find her father, it is touching and captivating, and beautifully written. Kasienka is a detailed character, but she is not perfect, so she is relatable to any reader. I would recommend this book to others to read.

Aimee, from St James Catholic High School

The Weight of Water is an excellent book. I read it within 3 days - I couldn't put it down! It tells of a girl named Kasienka and her mother who moved from Poland to Coventry in desperate search of her father. It is told from Kasienka's point of view in the style of a poem. I did find the poems hard to read but once I read about 15 pages I really got into it. The Weight of Water has a moving storyline which gives an insight into what a teenage girl’s life is actually like.

Overall, it was an enjoyable book and I'd recommend it to ages 11 and up. Good work Sarah Crossan.

Amira, from Wren Academy Barnet

A Weight of Water is a collection of poems by Sarah Crossan. It is about Kasienka, a girl who comes to England from Poland with her mother, in hope of tracking down her missing father who walked out on them several years before.

Kasienka, (now known as Cassie) finds herself in a strange new world, full of damp flats, strange new schools and a school bully who seems to be out to get her for no apparent reason. Her mother is continuing to pine over her missing father, who does not seem to want to be found, money is running out and Cassie is feeling like her whole world is falling apart…..

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, I found Cassie’s character and the problems she goes through easy to relate to and found the story unique and intriguing. There was a variety of different types of poems throughout the book, some funny, some sad, though none of them overly descriptive, as some poems can be.

My favourite part of the book was the ending, as although the story didn’t come to a definite conclusion, I felt that the book worked better this way, as it left the reader to interpret what would have happened next in their own way.

I think people who are not yet experienced readers will especially like this book, as the poem format makes it easier to read and understand than a regular novel, and I also think female readers will enjoy it more, but would still recommend this book to anyone between the ages 12-16! I would rate The Weight of Water five stars!

Avani, from Wren Academy Barnet

The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan had an interesting writing technique. Instead of writing in paragraphs and chapters, she wrote in stanzas and poems. From a reader’s thought of view, some of the poems may have been unnecessary.

Sarah Crossan well used this writing technique and conveyed the story of Kasienka well. Even though some parts weren’t really needed it helped a little bit of understanding Kasienka’s character.

Sarah Crossan has successfully written a well-structured and understandable book. However, it feels that the ending was a bit abrupt as it just stopped kind of in the middle so the reader wouldn’t really be able to get a conclusion.

The target audience are teenagers. Overall recommendation for this book would be a rating of 3.5 stars out of 5 stars.  

Barney, from University College School London

I'm not usually a fan of novels written in a form of poetry, but this was an exception. The book is far deeper than it first appears, with a beautifully written hero. The bare words were hugely more haunting than dense text would have been. I found that the characters moved quickly and realistically throughout Kasienka's life.

Kasienka’s father departs from her at the start of her early life in Poland, leaving only a brief note to say he'd gone to England. Its two years after his departure, and Kasienka and her mother are moving to England to find him. With nothing but a suitcase and an old laundry bag, they leave Poland and their lives behind. However England isn't what Kasienka imagined, living in a single room, and sharing a bed with her mum, she finds England sad and depressing. At home her mother drowns herself into finding Kasienka's Dad, heartbroken that he left them; at school Kasienka finds herself a target of bullying.

I think the book is briliantly written, almost like a long poem. This is an amazing and moving book, which is so beautifully written that I didn't even realize I had finished it until I had turned the last page.

Bea, from Wren Academy Barnet

I had never read a book written in verse before. And let me tell you there is no better way to start you off than this one. Despite its unusual structure, every character has depth and more to them than what you first see.

The Weight Of Water tells the story of 12-year-old Kasienka who comes to England with her mother after her father disappears. Kasienka struggles to fit into her English school, all the while trying to console her desperately unhappy mother.

If I had to rate this book, I would give it four out of five stars. This is due to the fact that although every character was excellent and the verses were clever, I found some parts of the book simply unbelievable. However, I would strongly recommend this book!

Belle, from Wren Academy Barnet

The Weight of Water is flowing. It shows every day scenarios but adds a twist that makes it really unique. The Weight of Water makes you want to read on and find out more. In some places it can be sad and almost depressing when you find out that Kasienka has been through so much when she's so young it makes you think what it would be like to be in her shoes. I think it could have had a bit more about Kasienka’s Dad because it didn't say much about that. I would recommend it to eleven to fifteen year olds. Overall, a very good book.

Cemre, from The Mount School

The Weight of Water is about a Polish mother and daughter, who move to Coventry in search of her father. Kasienka is bullied at school, whilst her mother sits at home and cries waiting for her husband to return. Every night her mum drags her out on the streets and they travel from door to door looking for Tata. Kasienka and her mother’s relationship is going downhill but, on their journey, someone very special walks into their life and manages to turn everything the right way up again. 

I really enjoyed this book it’s definitely a book I would read again! I like how the author wrote the book in poems.  It makes the book much easier to read, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who needs a good book to read!

Chloe, from The Mount School

This book starts when Kaseinka and her mother set off from Poland and come to London. They start to look for Kaseinka’s father, but do they ever find him and will Kaseinka ever get through her tough life? 


This book is made from poems. When starting to read the book you may read it as a series of poems, but it gradually starts to become a book. As the book progresses you see characters who pop up again and again. The book is unique and flows quite easily. 


I would rate this book 4 out of 5 stars as it is a quick and easy book to read.  At times it can be hard to get into the book as it is set out in an unusual way, but overall it is a good read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Finally there were twists to the story which became interesting and I would definitely recommend it to children 11+. 

Chloe, from St James Catholic High School

This is a very interesting book. I like the way it is set out. The way it is set out is very unique as it is all poetry. At the beginning I thought I wouldn’t like it as I thought it was a bit boring. The characters are very believable and well described. And when you get into it is very hard to put it down. The plot is very interesting and often sad. It is really believably and has a real insight to a young girl’s life

Daniyah, from Copthall School, Barnet

I generally enjoyed this book for a number of reasons.  First of all, I admired the way the author set out the book.  I think it was a unique way of setting out the book, as there aren’t many books that are written like poems.  It was a well-paced story and it was obvious the author had planned it well.

The story was interesting because it gave you the view of a girl from another country trying to find her father, and how she deals with problems with school and friends.

It  was a genuine plot for a story and it made me realize how different peoples’ lives are to mine.  It made me stop to think and put myself in to Kasienka’s shoes.  It also made me want to be the character and pretend I am experiencing what she is.  It makes reading more fun!

There are only a couple of reasons why I didn’t like this book.  Firstly, the author did not make the ending clear and being such a fantastic author, I personally think she could have made it better or more exciting at the end.  One more thing is that I think the book was targeted for older readers, which I only realized half way through the book.  Otherwise, it was a great book and I read it in one day!

David, from Jewish Community Secondary School

War rips Kasienka’s family apart – her dad leaves her and her mother. But Kasienka’s mother doesn’t lose hope. She drags Kasienka from Poland all the way to England. Living in a small apartment, Kasienka endures being bullied at school, with one hope of finding her father driving her through the pain. But she is beginning to lose hope – will they find her father?

I really enjoyed this book because it was interesting and gripping right to the end. Although having a rather peculiar title that doesn’t appeal that much, I had doubts before reading this book – but after I read the first few lines I couldn’t stop until the end.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone aged between 9 and 13. It is quite easy to read due to the way it is set out. It isn’t very challenging because everything rhymes and it is like a poem. My overall rating for this book would be 9/10.

Ebony, from Wren Academy Barnet

I think The Weight of Water is an excellent and unique book. I think it is unique because the whole book is shaped like a poem and although I have never read a book like it before I found its style very intriguing. The main story line for this book is about a Polish girl who came to England with her mum to find her dad only to find out that her dad has something else in mind and that it’s a lot harder to fit in than she thought-but she finds someone that takes her for who she is: she’s Polish, she’s a great swimmer and…. She’s got short hair! The reason I love this book is because it’s in the shape of a poem. Also its very emotional and grasps the very emotions of one character making you agree with the feelings displayed because you think ‘if I was her I would feel like that’ or ‘if I was her I would do that.’


If you like books that use techniques that are vibrant and unique, or if you enjoy books jam packed with emotions then this book is definitely for you. This book is for teens (mainly teenage girls) because it uses words that are not good for young children to hear and is based around a teenage girl.

Esmeralda, from St James Catholic High School

This a book full of emotion and reality. A young girl named Kasienka goes through a hard life with one very special friend in the world of Britain. Whilst she makes a very precious friend her mother is breaking down into pieces. However Kasienka discovers a way she can stay up and not go down, a way she can stay in the shallow end to not drown!

A mind-blowing book that really shows what young immigrants go through in their lives nearly everyday and how they can tackle what life throws at them.

Evie, from Jewish Community Secondary School

The Weight of Water is about a twelve-year-old girl and her mother moving from their home town in Poland to a one bedroom flat with nothing but a suitcase as memories.

Whilst her mother’s heart continues to break Kasienka  goes through the tricky business of a new school, new friends and finding her father. But when times get tuff Kasienka  turns to her true love – the water - but is this her only true love? 

The Weight of Water, for me was good, not amazing. Though I did find it quite page-turning and a very quick read I have read lots like it. I did however find it a bit boring and usel. If it had more drama and a little more suspense included then for me it would be an amazing book, whereas now it is up there but not at the top.

If a mixture of love, danger and lonely nuns is what you like to read in a book then The Weight of Water is for you.

Gabe, from Jewish Community Secondary School

I think this book is very good and enjoyable. The story is about Kaisenka who is a girl who has moved to Coventry from Poland and is finding it hard to fit in to society as things in England are very different. The book is written in a poem format and there aren’t many words on a page which makes it different to other books.

I would definitely recommend this book because you will enjoy it. I would rate this a 6/10.

Gabriella, from St James Catholic High School

This brilliant book is full of drama, humour and emotion all at the same time! It is about a young girl called Kasienka who has moved from Poland to England. She is lonely and her mum is going through a hard time. She doesn't have many school friends. But when a special person comes into her life, will she have a happy ending? You will have to read this book to find out.

I adored this book and its storyline. It really touched my heart and is a great book to read. So get swimming to your nearest bookstore to get this brilliant book today!

Gaby, from Jewish Community Secondary School

The Weight of Water is a captivating and enchanted tale about a young girl discovering herself and the challenges of the world. Sarah Cossan has written the book in the unique form of poems. I found this book very gripping and easy to follow even though all was written in verse. It tackled issues with puberty and shows how she goes through a journey of first love, experiencing bullying and trying to start a new life. I felt it was easy to show empathy for the main character Kasienka.

The book is about an immigrant 12 year old girl named Kasienka. When her father leaves them without warning, Kasienka finds herself travelling to the strange city of Coventry to search for her father. She makes friends with a man named Kanaro as her mother becomes fixated on finding Tata (her father). Her mother is never there and becomes like a ghost. As they set out on cold rainy nights, Kasienka finds herself wondering why? The only hope she has is William and when she swims her problems seem to disappear; the pain and weight of her life go when she is in the water. The two main reasons I enjoyed this novel so much were:

1. The form in which the book was set as this was my first time reading a novel in the structure of poetry.

2. The simplicity and honesty of the book was innovative.

This novel is an irresistible and temperamental tale; an absolute delight to read. I rate it 4.5 out of 5 as the ending was slightly left on a note where I believe the writer didn't have any idea how she wanted the book to end, so left it slightly unpredictable.

Huda, from Copthall School, Barnet

The Weight of Water is an extraordinary, poetic tale about immigration, family, love, hope and courage.  

When her Dad disappears to London, Kasienka and her mother leave Poland to find him.  On her journey to discover where he is, Kasienka experiences difficult problems at home and school and her search ends emotionally.

As the main character, Kasienka was important to any understanding of the book because she has an interesting personality.  She is a bold, determined girl and I found I could relate to her easily because she is in Year 8 and the story was quite realistic.  I was surprised at how well Kasienka could cope with her life.  Also she is a great swimmer and being in water is what she likes when she’s being troubled.

This book stood out from all the others because of its style.  As I turned the first page, I wondered how could a whole novel be written in poems?  This made me curious and eager to read on.  I loved how each small chapter was a poem which made it easy to understand.  There were no long detailed paragraphs so I was gripped very quickly.  The Weight of Water is very special and I think anyone would enjoy it.  

Therefore, this sensational book deserves 10 out of 10!

Isaac, from Jewish Community Secondary School

As I opened the first page, I got a surprise. In front of me was a poem. I had never seen a book like this before and thought it might be hard to read. This style did take a while to get used to, but after only a few of the poems I didn’t even think about it.

Kasienka is a Polish immigrant; she came to London with her mother, her heart-broken mother. She goes to school, gets bullied and comes home, to find her mother needs more looking after than she does. But Kasienka does find something good in her life to think about. Swimming. The one thing that keeps her alive.

Although short, this book is filled with many emotions. It stirred a mixture of feelings for me, happy, sad, amazed. Sarah Crossan makes Kasienka and her troubles seem so real. As I read, I could almost fell them weighing me down. 

The weight of water is a unique and moving story that I will never forget.  For these reasons, I would recommend it to anyone my age.

Jacob, from Wren Academy Barnet

The main character in this book is an Eastern European. Her father has moved away, and she has moved with her mother from Poland to Coventry, she lives in an apartment the size of a shoebox. She has few friends and to add to the list of downsides, she has been dropped two years because her English is bad. Basically she is about as useful as a chocolate teapot, except at one thing: swimming. She wins an award at the end of the book for her achievements in the sport.

If I had to rate the book out of 5, I would struggle to give it more than 3. I found it boring and bland. The plot is faint, tedious and disorienting. The only reason Kasienka came to London was to find her father, which she did; but he didn’t go back to Poland with them.

Jessica, from St James Catholic High School

The Weight of Water is a touching story written in a series of beautiful poems, about a young Polish girl named Kasienka. Kasienka moved to Coventry, and as the new girl, this book describes her struggles and joys in a unique, new way. It's very moving, and some parts are very sad, but overall, it was one of the best books I've read in a while.

Julia, from St James Catholic High School

Hello my name is Jula I really enjoyed The Weight Of Water. I really enjoyed the short chapters and I like the way she says the names and the names of some objects and food.

The book is easy to read and this story is kind of about me. I came here in year 5. I really want to read more books like this.

Thank you I really enjoyed the book.

Khushveer, from University College School London

Kasienka is 12, an only child, and an immigrant. Brought to England by her hopeful mother; in search of the man who abandoned the; "Cassie" experiences her coming of age in confusion... and in verse. To make matters worse, Kasienka is constantly made to feel like an outsider in her new school: she is ostracised by the other girls and finds no solace at home, as her mother spends all her free time determinedly searching the streets of Coventry for her missing husband.

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 only release Kasienka finds from her problems is through swimming and an important friendship she makes at the pool with a boy called William.

This beautiful book is written in verse and captures 13-year-old Kasienka’s emotions and experiences perfectly. Although painful in places, this is an ultimately hopeful story, which will stay with the reader long after they have finished the last page. Touching and thoughtful, this book challenges the reader to understand what it means to fit in.

This book was very well written and was enjoyable to read!

Lena, from Jewish Community Secondary School

The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan is a moving short story about an immigrant from Poland named Kasienka (or Cassie) and her difficulties in her daily life. She lives in a run down one bedroom flat, is bullied at school and is searching for her father. Her father abandoned her and her mother when Cassie was a small child. Although Cassie’s story is a sad one, she finds happiness in small things:  the beauty of snow falling, her friendship with her neighbour Kanoro, the freedom she finds in swimming and her growing friendship with a boy that she meets at the pool.

When I saw this book the cover drew me in as it was clear and relevant to the story. Something thing I really disliked about this book was the layout of the words in the actual book. It was all pushed around the page and I found it quite hard to read. You could say the Sarah Crossan has chosen to lay it out like that as it’s like the poem of Cassie’s life, but frankly I think it’s a waste of paper.

I think the characters are well developed in this story. You can see each of Cassie’s relationships grow and shrink throughout the course of this book. I particularly liked Cassie’s Mama and her character. I think she has such a strong role in playing out Cassie’s life she is one of the most important characters. Some people may think Cassie’s Mother to be rude and cruel but I think she is just blinded by love and is just doing what she thinks is best for Cassie. Some criticism that I have, is that some of the characters are mentioned once in the story and then never heard of again or only introduced very late on in the story.

I think the story line is brilliant. I love how her mother is desperately searching for a husband that doesn’t want to be found and Cassie’s turmoil’s around this. I also love the brutality of Cassie’s “friends” as this is what life can really be like for a teenage immigrant moving to a new school. Sarah Crossan wraps up the story well even if all the loose ends aren’t tied up.

My overall opinion of this book is that it is a good read but you’ll be able to put it down. That being said, it should be longer so readers can get to know each character in more detail and depth. It also should be laid out like a normal book but overall I really liked it and enjoyed reading it.

Lily, from East Barnet School

The Weight Of Water is a book of poems that tells the story of a Polish girl called Kasienka who migrates to England with her mother to look for her father who left them two years ago. They live in Coventry in a single room and every night they trawl around the streets looking and asking for Kasienka’s father. Her mother isn’t very good at being a mother and is determined to find her old husband so she never notices how tired Kasienka is or asks if her new school is alright. School is a problem because the other girls tease her and she is bad at English. However, she finds someone special who makes things alright.

I found The Weight Of Water was very interesting and enjoyable, however, I didn’t like it much because the ending was very abrupt so I didn’t really know what happened I could only guess. I thought writing the story in poems was very effective, it was easier and quicker to read and seemed more like Kasienka’s thoughts.

Even though this has nothing to do with the story I thought the front cover was very well illustrated and it was one of the reasons I chose the book. It seemed to go with the story and was very simple but brilliant.

I would recommend The Weight Of Water to people interested in poetry and stories that don’t have much action or adventure but are fascinating anyway. It is a very good book and should be read so people understand what other people’s lives are like and that you shouldn’t be racist.

Lily, from Jewish Community Secondary School

The Weight of Water is an inspiring book that really puts you in the sad shoes of a twelve year old girl named Kasienka. Kasienka has just moved to a new town with different haircuts and confusing friendship groups. The book has an easy to understand story line and the writer manages to make you feel as if you are the one living Kasienka’s life. It’s as if you are being dragged into the book by the author and even if you wanted to stop yourself going in, you wouldn't be able to.

The only thing that I questioned about The Weight of Water was the way it was set out. The Weight of Water is set out as if each chapter is a poem. Before I started reading the book I flicked through the pages to see how long it was and it caught my eye that it was written oddly and I expected for each chapter to be a poem; later when I started reading it I was confused about whether the book was a bunch of poems or if it was just a simple book.


Aside from all that I really encourage readers of all ages to read this fantastic book as it brought me to have a range of emotions: sad, happy, relieved, excited etc. The book is suitable for all ages to read as it is an interesting book that is simple enough for any young reader but at the same time interesting and powerful for any more experienced readers.


Lydia, from Wren Academy Barnet

Weight of Water is a really great book, it is written in stanzas which makes it more interesting. I very much enjoyed this book because it’s full of excitement and I never wanted to stop reading! This book deals with lots of issues such as racism and poverty.


This story makes you feel great empathy for Kasienka, the main character. Kasienka is 13 and is on the search for her father, Tata, with her mother. Tata has left Poland to move to England and mother and Kasienka live in a damp, dark studio until they find him.


This story is very sad as the mother weeps at night. NON-STOP. Until one day she finds a friendly neighbour Kanoro who helps them out. Life at school for Kasienka is lonely as a mean girl Claire bullies her with her back-ups as well.


Kasienka swims at the local pool, where she meets this young boy in year 9 called William. The two teens get along well and start a cool relationship. William is always there for her and they stay afloat together!


I would definitely recommend this book for teenagers and hope they like as much as I did.

Maddy, from Wren Academy Barnet

The Weight of Water is an engaging and flowing novel. Kassienka’s story is heart-breaking and opens your mind up to the many experiences that schoolgirls and immigrants are going through today – bullying.


I also loved that, as well as heartache there was also young love in her story, love that was expressed truthfully and beautifully. So, although her story was sad and bitter there were pieces of joy and sweetness as well.


The book was set out in lots of short poems that told the different parts of Kasienka’s story. I thought that this made the story flow and because there were only 1 – 7 words on each line it really made you read in to each word and see the meaning of each word, whereas in some books you can easily skim over lots of words.


The story was also very intense and powerful as it was told from Kasienka’s point of view and it described all of her personal emotions and feelings.

The language and plot of the story is suitable for 11-15 year olds although the length of the book was not, as it only lasted me a day and I believe 11-15 year olds want a book to last them at least 5 days.


On a whole I think that The Weight of Water is a powerful, unique and thought-provoking novel that nearly moved me to tears. It was a great read and I would recommend it to all.

Millie May, from Copthall School, Barnet

The Weight of Water was a good book, but not my favourite.  I suppose my expectations were too high when I started reading it, as it was recommended to me by many of my friends.  The best thing about this book was its format, for me, due to my love of poetry.  It was well-written although it used simple language and, as a reader, I found myself getting lost in the words.

I loved how the author continuously mentioned water and how significant it turned out to be.  I have always thought of water as a peaceful thing and in this way I could relate to Kasienka. I felt as if she matured throughout the book and was in many relatable situations, as well as some that were not relatable.  The author did not sugar coat anything and if she had, well, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it at all.

The reason this was only a good book to me and not an amazing book is that the plot was quite predictable and the book too short to be as exciting as some of the other books.  I suppose as a reader you cannot have everything:  this book had a certain charm about it that wouldn’t have worked had it not been for such simplicity.  It was a breath of fresh air and I would recommend reading after reading something more exciting or to relax.  It was predictable and not the most original idea, but as I said before, it was not the storyline that made this book brilliant but the way it was written.

I would give this book four out of five.

Natasha, from Wren Academy Barnet

I found this book very emotional because the book had emotional poems and as a poem fan I really enjoyed reading this book.

In this book I love reading poems and I am very creative as well that when I read this book I thought of my creative poem writing skills and I also thought that this book was very fun to read and I also found it most effective to read too.

Nichole, from Wren Academy Barnet

The Weight of Water is a book for all children above 10 years old to enjoy and understand. The structure of the book is unique and makes people understand that you can try different types of writing and it will have the same effect. I find it very clever that Sarah Crossan has used poems to describe the emotions, thoughts, plot, characters and settings to let the reader know what’s going on in the story.

Sarah Crossan has made the reader have sympathy for Kasienka, the main character of the book, because how she thinks she is useless when the mother tells her off and says she’s useless… but the worst thing is that she admits which nearly broke my heart and wanted to hug her….

I find the plot of the book very interesting and realistic which makes the reader understand this is real life. However, there were some details that I personally think were disturbing even if it’s real life; I think next time I wouldn’t mention those particular subjects… especially at the beginning. Plus, Kasienka does mention her breast many times which does put me off a bit.

I find it annoying that Mama was so stubborn for looking for Tata as it has no chance of reuniting the family however I do see why Mama does it but it just annoys me so much. But the end it does resolve and it...

I do also feel sympathy for Kasienka when Clair pretends to be Kasienka’s friend but as she was with William (I thought he was pretty nice) she was being mean to Kasienka which made me feel like I wanted to slap Clair. Which I think is wrong; and how Kasienka was feeling made me really angry with Clair. The ending when Kasienka stood up for herself made me really happy for her.

I found the most effective poem is “The gospel according to Tata” as it tells the feelings of Kasienka and how Tata treats Kasienka and Mama. Plus it makes the reader feel so much sympathy… Also the most effective part that really hit me was when Kanoro said that to get revenge on the bullying is to be happy… which is true but I never realised that.

The whole book is a masterpiece and made me have certain emotions while traveling with Kasienka’s personal story. And I could read it another time if I have time as it's great to learn from others. This book I will recommend for my friends. 

Noam, from Jewish Community Secondary School

The Weight of Water is one of the most unusual books I’ve ever read as it is written in poem form. Some of the stanzas are as short as two words. Although it is written in poem form it is written as a regular novel is, in sentences.

In The Weight of Water Kasienka and her mother leave their home in Poland and travel to London where they settle in a one room, one bed flat. Kasienka starts school and is put in year 7 with 11 year olds even when she is almost 13. She is very clever and her one fault is her reading in English.

They are in England for one reason: Mama is searching for Tata Kasienka’s father. Every night mama drags Kasienka across the streets knocking on every door looking for Tata.

Meanwhile the boy who used to stare at Kasienka at the swimming pool is now Kasienka’s boyfriend. Life is tough for Kasienka but her strong and poignant character gets her through.

This book is a quick and easy read with some difficult ideas in it, and is definitely worth reading.

Rahma, from Copthall School, Barnet

The Weight of  Water by Sarah Crossan is an easy, simple, well-written book.  Everytime I had to stop reading it, I couldn’t wait until I could go back to reading it.  There are many things which I liked about it, some of which include the fact that it is written in a poetic form – this makes a simple and easy, yet dramatic, read.

Out of all the shortlisted books I’ve read, I think this one was the most enjoyable to read.  The character was easily relateable and I think young people that are put in similar situations would find this book relatable and comforting.

I also liked how the moods changed a lot because this, in life, represents how there are good days but also bad, or in the main character’s life, very bad days.  This book is like a roller-coaster of emotions!

The book is an amazing and powerful story that will touch hearts of readers of all ages, and is a book that grips the reader and keeps their attention.  Whether you’re looking for an easy dramatic read, or a sad, heartbreaking read, The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan is the perfect book to read!

Rosalind, from Wren Academy Barnet

I think that The Weight of Water is a very inspiring book. The book is about a girl called Kasienka who moves to England with her mother to try and find her father who has walked out on them. At school Kasienka is majorly bullied by a girl her age who cuts Kasienka’s hair from behind and  calls her name’s like lesbian and other names like that.

The best bit about the book The Weight of Water is that despite the horrid names she is called and  how she is bullied she still follows her dreams to win a big swimming tournament and with the help of a boy become more confident and stands up to the bullies.

I would recommend the book because it is engaging and easy to read, this is because it is entirely written in poems.  

Ruby, from Jewish Community Secondary School

I really enjoyed The Weight of Water. In the past, I considered short stories to have no real plot but I cannot say that about this short story! I found myself absorbed into the plot, wanting to comfort the characters! I think this book was well written because it leads me to thinking about what the characters were going through and that made them seem so real.  

This book was laid out like a poem. I liked this in this particular book because it gave it a sort of flow and it now really stands out from other books. Others may not like this layout for a book though, they may find it confusing.

To summarise I will say that this a quick read but still has great characters and is well written. I recommend this book. It drew me in from the first page; I did not want to put the book down.

Sophie, from Wren Academy Barnet

Normally I don’t like books written in verse but I loved The Weight of Water.  It is a very interesting book because it tackles two major issues of immigration and bullying (which often aren’t tackled together). 

The story is about Kasienka who (as well as immigrating from Poland) is bullied for being different. One day Kasienka meets a boy at the swimming pool and her luck begins to change.

The emotion in this story is so raw you believe every word, feel every heart ache and live every victory. If The Weight of Water were in prose it wouldn’t have anywhere near as much emotion.

All in all this is an unmissable read.

Tadeshola, from Wren Academy Barnet

The Weight Of Water is an excellent book about finding first love and fitting in. It is set out like a poem, with stanzas and rhyming couplets. It is about a twelve-year-old girl called Kasienka, who travels to England with her mum (with a suitcase and an old laundry bag) because her dad moved there. However once in England they find themselves stuck in a tiny flat, with one bed, on the fourth floor of a crumbling building. She is finding school tough and has no friends.

Kasienka used to go swimming back in Poland and thought it will be nice to try it in England. Whenever she slips in the pool she feels at home, no mean mum and bullies to worry and trouble her. When she goes up to the surface to get breath a boy was staring at her who she will later know as William. Is he going to be the friend she so desperately needs in this strange world known as Coventry? 

I love this book, as the layout is creative and imaginative. It teaches me a bit more about bullying and how it makes the victim feel. I really like this book; I read it in two days.

I rate this book 5 stars - I just love the creativity.

Tatiana, from Wren Academy Barnet

The Weight of Water is a moving and relatable book. I really loved this book, regardless of how short it was. It was packed with what seemed like diary entries coming from Kasienka a polish girl, forced to move to Coventry with her mother, because her father abandoned them, for reasons clearly unknown. Kasienka battles with life as she is treated unfairly, and struggles to make friends. Until she meets William, in the one place she takes comfort in. The water. She finally finds her place in life and she is happy, truly happy.

This book is an amazing read for all, and I would highly recommend it to all ages and genders. Therefore I give this book 4 stars.

Theodora, from Wren Academy Barnet

The Weight of Water is written by Sarah Crossan and is a shocking but heart-touching tale.

It all starts when Kasienka and her mother move from Poland and come to England to find her missing father, but when someone special comes into Kasienka’s life her world is turned upside down.

The book is not written in the conventional way, which makes reading easy and interesting. In the way the book is written it pinpoints every aspect of Kasienka’s story by using detailed language.I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I would strongly recommend it for all teenagers to enjoy! Star rating: ****  

Tom, from Jewish Community Secondary School

The Weight of Water not only tells a story but gives us a sense of consciousness of what goes on around us without realisation. When Kasienka finds herself trailing behind her mother at Stansted airport with a broken suitcase she finds out her trip to England wasn’t going to be what she imagined. When she arrived at their apartment any remains of hope were destroyed and her first day of school was just reminding her things wouldn’t get better. 

Just as Kasienka has had enough time to settle in (or to at least accept she will never settle) her mother has plans. Every night they go from house to house looking for Tata, Kasienka’s father; with no luck. Spend money they don’t have printing ‘wanted’ posters; with no luck and use every map they can find; with no luck. Kasienka has had enough.

Then Kanoro (their friend living next door) has a note, addressed to Kasienka, from Tata. She is told to come alone - and most importantly not to tell her mother...

The Weight of Water really gave a sense of reality and depth. The flow and storyline made the book impossible to put it down, you are compelled to read on. The book’s unpredictable nature also makes it a must read. The only criticism I could give about this book is I’m finished too soon! I felt the book could have been longer without doing the storyline any harm.

You’ve put my challenge of to a flying start - well done Crossan! Rating 4.5/5

Urmi, from Wren Academy Barnet

Kasienka is the girl who is going with her mum to look for her dad in England. He left them when they were in a place called Gdansk (which is in Poland). Mama is Kasienka’s mum and she also goes with Kasienka to look for her dad. She usually does a lot of the house work in the flat which they live in. Tata is Kasienka’s dad and he goes to work in Coventry. Kasienka and her mum go to look for him. Babcia is Kasienka’s grandmother and she lives with Kasienka and her mother when they are in England. She is the one who looks after them while they are there. Babcia does a lot of the house work and she helps Kasienka’s mum.

Kanoro is the man who lives in Kasienka’s block. He is quite funny because he uses their shower instead of his own one. He used to be a doctor in Kenya when he lived there. He is blacker than anyone Kasienka had ever seen. He scares her quite a bit. In Coventry he is a cleaner at a hospital. Lastly, William is a person who is in year 9 and Kasienka meets him at her swimming lessons. William usually says that she should be on the school team because she is a really good swimmer. That is why he is watching her when she swims.

A girl called Kasienka and her mother go to England to look for her dad because he goes there for his job. They only go with a suitcase and a laundry bag. When she goes to school, she describes it as scary, especially her school friends. Kasienka has a really lonely life. Her mum is really sad when she is at home and her grandmother comes to look after her. She meets many new people when she moves to England, so that keeps her going and going. She never gives up. She keeps on having different ideas.

Setting - There are so many different settings in this book, but the entire book is set in England. 



Yhaiisai, from Copthall School, Barnet

This story was written by Sarah Crossan, with the genres of adventure, family and action.  

The main character was a twelve year old girl called Kasienka. The Weight of Water was written from Kasienka’s point of view – in first person.  In addition, it was structured like poetry.

In this story, Kasienka’s father left Kasienka and her mother in Poland and came to England. This was because her parents had had an argument.  Afterwards, Kasienka and her mother also came to England, in search of him.

But Kasienka also had  other problems – she was bullied at her new school for being different from everyone else.

Can she manage to join her parents together and stand up to the bully, when she has other, more entertaining things to do – like trying to get into the school’s swimming team?

The part of the story that I liked the best was when Kasienka’s father proudly called Kasienka:  his ‘Olympian.’

Overall, The Weight of Water was a fabulous book:  unique and interesting to read.

Yumna, from Wren Academy Barnet

The Weight of Water is truly a very unique book! Not only is it highly accurate in modern school life, it's written in poems! The fact that the author managed to do that is amazing! The character of "Cassie" is so innocent and troubled, I was in tears by the end. I managed to read the entire book in one night because I couldn't put it down! That book was the reason I didn't sleep for that entire night. I loved that book although I do think that others might not understand the sensitivity of the story, but even so, I recommend others read it because it would be highly beneficial to them!

Zinnia, from Wren Academy Barnet

The Weight of Water is a thought provoking book about a twelve year old girl called Kasienka. After Kasienka’s father leaves her and her mother to go to England, Kasienka and her mother leave their home in Poland to go to England and try to find him. Things are hard in England for Kasienka and her mother; they have a single room as their home and share the same bed. Her mother has to work long, hard shifts at the hospital and Kasienka gets badly bullied at her new English school.

I really enjoyed this book as it was a short read but full of emotion. When I first saw the cover and read the blurb, I didn’t think I would like the book as much as I did. I liked the way it was set out because it was like nothing I had read before. I would recommend The Weight of Water to all my friends because I think they would really enjoy this book as well.

On a scale of 1-10 for: Unputdownability - I would give this book a 9; Plot - I would give this book an 8; Well written - I would give this book a 9; Overall I would give this book a 9