Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Carnegie Shortlist Review - The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan

The Weight of Water, is a book of verse, but it is also a novel. Despite its title and concept; a novel where the story arc and plot delivered entirely through poems, it is not a heavy read. That is also not to say that it doesn’t deal with weighty meaty issues, because it does in buckets; immigration, separation, broken families, bullying, poverty, but it deals with it all in a way that seems like a breath of fresh air, it has a lightness and freshness that makes it a delightful reading experience.

Sarah Crossan has crafted a book which strips the story down to the bare bones, telling only what is required to deliver the story across without fancy trimmings and flowery words. The frugal word count tells the tale in the voice of polish immigrant Kassienka, who is dragged from home to Coventry in search of her father who walked out on her and her mother. Kassienka or Cassie to the English who can't pronounce her name, life becomes increasingly complicated at school and home, as whilst she is bullied, gets closer to a boy at school, and finds her allusive father, and deals with her fragile mother whose unravelling at the seems.

The story is poignant, emotional, and deal with issues every child and adult can relate to, bulling, broken families, the confusion brought on by newly awoken feelings during the tender pubescent years. The beauty of this book is it’s unique writing, utilizing verse, Crossan has produced a book that could have been a gritty grim, heavy read. Instead just as Kassienka finds sanctuary in the water ‘the Weight of water’ is like floating in Kassienka’s world, secretly listening to her thoughts, sharing her struggles, and letting her endearing naive outlook on life wash over you. Sharing Kassienka world is easy despite it’s challenging topics, and it’s tender gentle ending will leave you smiling. 

Mini - One Question Interview with Sarah Crossan: 

Q - What is your Favourite thing about your book The Weight of Water?

A - My favourite thing about The Weight of Water is the verse format. It was a risk writing it in that way, but I feel that it paid off because Kasienka's voice is totally true to how I imagined her. My favourite chapter in the novel is 'Kenilworth Castle' because I really do love the place—it's so romantic! 

If you want to win a copy of The Weight of Water along with several other shortlisted books, just email us at with your name and address, and Carnegie in the title bar.

Good luck!

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