You Read What? Book Reviews: Small Damages

Author: Beth Kephart

Publisher: Penguin

  • Imprint: Philomel

Date Published: July 19th 2012

Format: Hard Cover

Source: Toronto Public Library


It’s senior year, and while Kenzie should be looking forward to prom and starting college in the fall, she is mourning the loss of her father. She finds solace in the one person she trusts, her boyfriend, and she soon finds herself pregnant. Kenzie’s boyfriend and mother do not understand her determination to keep the baby. She is sent to southern Spain for the summer, where she will live out her pregnancy as a cook’s assistant on a bull ranch, and her baby will be adopted by a Spanish couple.

Alone and resentful in a foreign country, Kenzie is at first sullen and difficult. She begins to open her eyes and her heart to the beauty that is all around her and inside of her.

Number of Days It Took to Read: 2


Small Damages

Would I have given this book a chance with this cover? Probably not. Mostly due to the oranges which looked to be tacked on via Photoshop. Whether or not Photoshop was used isn’t the issue. The fact that I can tell or that it gives the impression that it was used is not so great.

The Writing Score: 5 out of 5

Recommendation: A Must Read

Memorable or Forgettable: Memorable

Rating: 5 out of 5


This book is literary fiction but for the Young Adult crowd or at least it has the elements of literary fiction. The writing is gorgeous and it’s the reason why this story has something lively about it. Kenzie as a character is someone who you want to scream at and for. She’s the reality many of us are faced with whether it’s getting pregnant young or dealing with the notion of choice. That’s the heart of this book: Choice. The choices we make, the choices we don’t make, the choices we think we’re left with. Regret – that’s a big one. This book has a subtle drama to it. Not with paranormal creatures set to destroy the world or the life of a loved one at stake or even star crossed lovers told they’ll never make it. This book is the everyday and the miniscule. It’s also the type of book you’d keep in your bag with sections highlighted, filled with sticky notes and, yes, dog earred pages.

Spain is depicted so beautifully and you can taste it through Estela’s cooking which Kephart describes so vividly. Estela is a wonderful and strong female character that Kenzie can depend on and who we can depend on.

Also, the fact that the book isn’t focused on teen romance (thank the lord!) is a major strength.

It’s a story about Kenzie.

And what she wants out of life. Both her own and the one growing inside of her.

A. A. Omer

The opinions expressed here are mine and readers are welcome to disagree. In fact, I encourage it! I never believed in putting particular books or authors on some sort of universal pedestal but you’re free to put it on your individualized pedestal because I most certainly will.

2 thoughts on “You Read What? Book Reviews: Small Damages

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