The Weight of Water is told from the perspective of twelve year old Kasienka, a Polish girl who has moved to Britain with her mother in search of her missing father. Her mother is desperate in her quest to find her missing husband and provides little support for Kasienka as she adapts to life in Coventry and the various dramas teenage girls go through at school, from boys to bitchy girls. One of the few things that makes Kasienka’s life bearable is her passion for swimming and this allows her to excel and to find happiness in her new life.
The Weight of Water is the seventh book I have read for the Carnegie Medal Award and I read it in a few hours over the course of this afternoon. There has been one other book on the Shortlist that I have read as quickly (A Boy and a Bear in a Boat),but this one was far easier to read and engage with. Kasienka was an endearing character with a clear narrative voice, therefore it was easy to warm to her from the opening page and this remained throughout the course of the book. Crossan was able to clearly portray the difficulties facing modern teenage girls, such as friendship issues and boys, and capture how these troubles can be multiplied when moving to not only a new school, but a new country.
Overall I would say it was an enjoyable and easy read, but I can’t say it will be one that will stay with me forever as it is very much a teenage book and somewhat simplistic in its narrative. It is interesting in that it offers a perspective on life as a newcomer to Britain and how this can be a trying time for a teenage girl, but it wasn’t stand out for me personally. It was a welcome break from my Classics Club Spin, Charles Dickens’ The Old Curiosity Shop.