The Weight of Water

theweightofwaterArmed 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.

  • WINNER of the COVENTRY INSPIRATION BOOK AWARDS (Read It Or Else) for best book for 11-14 year olds 2013
  • WINNER of the WeRead Prize 2013
  • WINNER of the UKLA Book Award  for 7-11 year olds
  • SHORTLISTED for the CLPE Poetry Award


‘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’ – The Sunday Times – Children’s Book of the Week

‘Poignant, powerful, just perfect’ – Cathy Cassidy

‘…there are so many pregnant issues… prejudice, migration, language bias – but what’s so disarming and charming is the way the girl reveals her inner self with a poetic and resonant simplicity’ – John Agard

‘Narrating in image-rich free verse that packs an emotional punch, Kasienka desribes what life is like for a new arrival while also exploring universal themes of abandonment, loyalty, bullying and first love… Memorable’ – Kirkus

‘…this is a wrenching but hopeful story of displacement, loneliness, and survival… Crossan’s verse packs a punch as she examines the power that difference—but also determination—can wield’ – STARRED REVIEW* Publishers Weekly

‘Exquisetly and touchingly written’ – Irish Times

‘The Weight of Water is a moving story… The beauty of swimming is superbly drawn. Written in verse in the form of Kasienka’s own poems, the story has immediacy and freshness’ – Irish Independent  

‘…a compellingly beautiful, utterly seductive debut novel’ – The Scotsman  

‘This poetic novel is sheer perfection – for adults as well as teenagers… I loved it’ – The Irish Examiner

‘a unique and compelling read… Written in a unique poetic style that is at times humourous and often deeply moving’ The Bookseller’ – Bookseller’s Choice

‘The free-verse narrative presents Kasienka’s feelings with economical precision, reflecting her distress but also her resilient nature as she endures bullying, delights in the physical sensations of kissing William, and finally finds her fatherand accepts his new life. The book realistically depicts modern-day middle school dynamics for an outsider of any kind’ – Horn Book

‘a wonderfully uplifting and emotional story of first love and friendship’ – Carousel

‘a poignant and moving book’ – Books For Keeps – 5* review

‘carefully and elegantly written’ – Children’s Books Ireland – Recommended Reads 2012

‘lovely, moving, heartbreaking and very special’ – The SL

‘this is an important book… but also entirely enjoyable’ – Inis Mag

‘WOW, what a debut! The phrase ‘couldn’t put it down’ is so overused, but once the opening pages of Sarah Crossan’s first novel have been read, there really is no alternative but to devour the lot’ – Evening Echo