My body moves like a wave: There is a violence to it; And a beauty.”
Kasienka is moving.
Her father has disappeared and her mother is anxious to find him. Not caring that she has no idea where in England he lives, they come to the UK, but Kasienka's mother is unhappy and her desperation to find her husband increases with every passing day; and Kasienka is finding it none the easier either as school is tough and making friends is harder than she imagined....
When I heard this was written in verse I was immediately excited to see what it would be like having not read anything like it before and I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised.
The main character, Kasienka, was so adorable and sweet and strong. She was unhappy and lonely and insecure but she was strong within herself when she needed to be. She was a heroine. Tirelessly trying to help her mother fit her life back together piece by piece, keeping true to herself and trying not to be overwhelmed by her school bullies. Kasienka was unique in her own special way but the school bully, Claire, didn't see it that way and teased and tormented her for being too white, having too short hair, for having the wrong kind of bag, but essentially for being different. But through this she learnt to be happy with who she was and realised that no matter how hard you try, someone will always find fault with you, you just have to know what's best for you and stick with it, and nearly always, you'll find someone just like you, who may not be perfect, but will treat you just the way you want to be treated and will make you feel happy inside, like liquid gold.
I loved William too. He made Kasienka feel brave and wanted. At home her mother was too distracted to realise the problems she was going through and had no idea how to help her either, but William? He was popular and kind with it. He wasn't arrogant and cocky lie you think most popular people would be. He helped Kasienka forget about all her troubles and shared his with her too, which is the best way to get someone to feel closer to you. I only had one tiny problem with him. He smoked. But then like I said, not everyone is perfect! And I was so so proud of Kasienka when he offered her one and she refused. She could have just taken it to make out that she was ''cool'' but she didn't, and she influenced Will by doing that too, he put the cigarettes away and they played on the swings instead...
My favourite character other than Kasienka was Kanoro, the resident next door to them.
"Kanoro lives in our building,
In the next room.
He shares a bathroom with mama and me,
But he is not a nasty person:
He is beautiful
He is blacker than anyone I have ever met,
And he scares me,
Until he smiles:
A smile that makes his eyes twinkle."
He helps them in the best way possible, by making them laugh and smile, and helping them to remember to be happy, and never give up. He is always there for Kasienka, and she pours her heart out to him when she feels she cannot speak to her mother. She plays chess with him and watches television and plays with him outside in winter; their first experience of 'English' snow.
Outside of home and school, swimming is Kasienka's solace and it's when she's in the water that she feels powerful, sleek and self-assured and she can momentarily forget all the troubles that have been weighing her down every day.
"Mrs Warren asks, "Do you speak English dear?"
Resting her hands on her knees,
As though summoning a spaniel."
"In lessons I have to
Hide my face
With a book
Don't see my tonsils,
when I yawn
I don't read well
That is all I can't do
So they put me in with eleven-year-olds."
*This book was provided by the publishers in exchange for an honest review.