pub 9781408823002 Jan 2012 Bloomsbury
Kasienka is a Polish immigrant in Coventry, and has just moved there because her father went missing- he left a note saying he'd left for England, and her desperate mother left as soon as she could to search for him.They end up in a one room flat with horrid people living around them, eating simply and getting clothes from second-hand charity shops- at school, Kasienka is manipulated and bullied by a girl called Clair, and her mother works at a hospital where she was asked for an English nurse by a patient; when she finally finds her father, he is living happily with his new partner and baby, making her mother's depression get even worse. Luckily, with the smiles of their African next-door neighbour, Kanoro, and Kasienka's growing romance with a year nine called William (she was placed in year seven, despite her age of twelve- after a while, she was replaced into year eight,) and her hobby of swimming, they start to become happier. Eventually, when Kasienka stops enduring Clair's taunts in silence and tells her clearly to leave her alone, the turning point in their happiness is clear.
This book was written in verse, which sieves out any unnecessary sections and gives Kasienka's thoughts a deep meaning, reflecting her intense feelings and character. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and would recommend it to anyone who doesn't like reading long books but wants to keep meaning and deep subjects in explored within the books they read. It was perfect and complete, and left you with a very defined image of immigrants and how they are discriminated against- it also contains the sort of thing that girls can relate to, like the competition of maturity in image and popularity, as well as the way some girls can be catty or even cruel about things they know will hurt. I haven't read such a good book in a long time that has left such a lasting impression!
By Abi Pearce