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Small Damages

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3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  1,153 ratings  ·  251 reviews
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, whe...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 19th 2012 by Philomel
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108th out of 294 books — 2,479 voters
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Community Reviews

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Keertana
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Small Damages is a quiet tale, filled with a languid prose that not many readers will enjoy. It reads practically like a verse novel, for its lines are so very poetic, but at its heart, it is a story that cannot be explained but one that can only be felt. Admittedly, I didn’t expect to enjoy Small Damages as much as I did. It is a story of an eighteen-year-old girl, Kenzie, who is sent to Spain to give birth to her child so as to save her widowed mother the shame of dealing with...more
Nafiza
I loved this book. A lot. I got my mother to read it and she loved it as well. A lot.

Now, before I start this review, I will say that people who like books in which there are lots of action and things happen will probably not be happy with this book. Not many things happen in this book. If I were to describe it to you using my own words, I’d say this book is a journey of internal growth, a retrospection of life and love. An investigation on what it means to be a mother and what it means to have...more
Reynje
Small Damages is a gentle, quiet novel about love, grief and regret. Eighteen year old Kenzie is pregnant, grieving, at a crossroad in her life, when her mother arranges for Kenzie to travel to Spain for the eventual birth and adoption of her child. Kenzie finds herself at a bull ranch, isolated and resentful, and begins to reflect on the choices she has made, the choices that lie ahead, and the relationships that frame her life.

Small Damages is a very internal novel; the plot is slight, second...more
Lauren
Find a similar review here: http://www.loveisnotatriangle.com/201...

The streets of Seville are the size of sidewalks, and there are alleys leaking off from the streets.

When I read that sentence, my heart started racing, I got chills, and I KNEW I was going to love this book because of the writing alone. I was not disappointed. The descriptive language in Small Damages is gorgeous. I could feel the heat and the dust of the country, see the crowds of Seville and hear the gypsy music play. The way...more
Heather
Jul 01, 2012 Heather rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: own

Read all my reviews at The Flyleaf Review:)

Because I haven't read any other books by Kephart (and she has a very impressive array of work under her belt) and because I didn't read any reviews of Small Damages beforehand, I started this book completely blank. I wasn't sure what to expect from her. What I discovered, from page one, is that Beth Kephart is one of those rare breeds that can take a collection of words and construct them in way that almost paints an image. Beth Kephart, like some of m...more
Tee loves Kyle Jacobson
First I would like to give a huge Thank You to Around The World ARC Tours for allowing me to read this book. I have to say I have never read a book like this before. It was so emotional and poignant and so true to what happens when young love goes wrong.

Kenzie has it all. She has a great boyfriend and she got accepted into a great college but there is only one hiccup to all this. See she gets pregnant and her boyfriend and mother are not happy about it. Her mother is having none of it and sends...more
Grace
I think I might have to re-read this.

And maybe re-read it once more.

Because I don't think I have fully grasped onto all of what this book has to offer me. (Hence the four stars.)

"You aren't happy," Estela says.
"I can't be happy," I say.
"Look at me, Kenzie."
"I'm looking at you, Estela."
"Do you know your own heart?"
"I don't know anything."
"Go," she says, "and think. And don't come back until you know."


There's so much beauty and art behind words, behind a story. And there are many ways one can inte...more
Isamlq

Reading Small Damages was different... with not much actually going on in the present save recollections of the past and considerations of what should be... what could be?

it's reminiscent of ck kelly martin and all her stuff; this with all the soft sweet bitter and hard in it. plus people being people, of choosing and having choices made for them.

A lot is on the fuzzy side here:
- the who she is...
- the what kind of girl she is...
- and even the who they all are to her.

But we find out, like pi...more
Florinda
The catalog copy for SMALL DAMAGES describes it as “JUNO meets UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN,” and I suppose that’s an effective shorthand. The sun here is in Spain rather than northern Italy, and Kenzie Spitzer is less in control of her situation than Juno MacGuff (and also less blessed with supportive parents)--but if you need to give a point of reference, it’ll do.

The whole idea of sending a pregnant teenager away until she has given birth--and given away her baby to adoptive parents, so that she can...more
Jessica Keener
This is a gorgeous book--a prose poem, lyric and sensual, and searching. There's yearning, there's love, there's a beautiful, restless yet sturdy and wise cast of characters--mostly adults and one young man who guard the narrator--Kenzie--the young woman struggling to accept the indelible impact of her actions. Kenzie lives in an ocean of memories--recent and more distant and these visions wash over her present. This aspect of time and timelessness saturates the story. Emotions gain traction wit...more
Pam Vlieg
Kephart has cemented herself as one of my most favorite writers in the universe. This is a very small list and she is at the top. Small Damages is absolutely amazing from the setting, to the MC, to her decisions and all of the side things that force her along throughout this generous plot. Hands down the best book I've read in 2012.
Onka
Ever since I heard about this book I was hooked. What could be better than this sweet romantic YA story set in Spain? But shortly after I started reading it I realized how wrong I was. It isn't about our main character, Kenzie, looking for her one true love, it is more about her looking for herself and finding out what she wants for a change.
Kenzie is a senior at high school and she's pregnant. But her mother can't stand the thought of everybody finding out so she sent Kenzie to Spain to give bi...more
Sandy
Mixed feelings is what I have for this book. I fell for the characters but I hated the writing style. The broken up-short sentences that were used throughout the book, I had a hard time following it and it made for slow reading. As I reading, I had to stop and reread certain passages, as I was not sure what was even happening. It also confused me how the character of Kenzie jumped from thinking of her present-day situation to her life back in the states. I realize that we do that ourselves but a...more
Liviania
SMALL DAMAGES is set in Seville, Spain in 1995. The older characters remember living under the rule of Generalissimo Francisco Franco, who is still dead. The eighties brought about a huge change in Spanish culture: the death of conservative Franco and new tourism from the rest of Europe brought new lifestyles, including looser sexual mores and greater rights for women to Spain. But Spain didn't entirely assimilate.

SMALL DAMAGES made me feel like I was in Seville, seeing and smelling the same thi...more
Tara
Review to be posted on my blog closer to publication date.

I've only read one other Beth Kephart book, YOU ARE MY ONLY, and while I thought it was unbelievably beautiful and moving, I had a feeling SMALL DAMAGES might be more up my alley, and I was right.

Of course, I loved the setting of SMALL DAMAGES. I'm a huge cheerleader for European settings in books, and while usually the stories end up being fun and flirty traveling abroad books, SMALL DAMAGES was different. It was a lot heavier than most...more
Melissa
This book is amazing and real. It sometimes is slow and you are definately confused as to what is going on but it was truly an awesoem read.

The main character is Kenzie who my heart breaks for her a million times over in this book! Kenzie is an amazing character who feels everything, and it feels as if she is talking to herself and her baby all through this journey she is on. She had an amazing boyfriend, and friends, got into an awesome film school in the fall, and she finds out she is pregnant...more
Julia
The story was intriguing and emotionally charged, but the writing tended to frustrate me. Don't get me wrong, I love beautiful prose, but sometimes a writer falls a little too in love with their own words. Some of the most powerful moments in this book are when the author isn't indulging in wordy lyricism:

"Five months is forever," I told her.
"You made your choices," she said, and I said, "No." Because the only thing I chose was you.

That's beautiful, and lyrical, without being verbose. Unlike h...more
Lainey
There are several I loved about this book: first of all, southern Spain. Lovely, lovely, lovely. I visited Spain once and I loved it, the architecture, the people, the paella. Reading about Seville and the countryside with its olive trees and sunflowers kindles the old wanderlust.

Kenzie is also my kind of book tourist. There's a certain kind of book tourist I hate, of which there are lots of examples in YA, where a teenager is packed of by mom or dad to some foreign destination and hates it bec...more
Meaghan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wendy
A book about teen pregnancy set in Spain?

Not something I would normally want to read, but the blurb and those oranges on the cover were tantalizing enough to get me out of my comfort zone.

I read it in 3.5 hours.

Kenzie, pregnant at 18 with a child by a guy who is off to Yale and really doesn't see being a dad in his future, is sent off to Seville, Spain because 'we don't want our friends to know this shame'.

The writing was beautiful and full of spice and flavor and feeling. I'm not a fluffy-la...more
Vicki
I couldn't make myself care about this book. The prose was beautiful and rich and the sights and smells of Spain made me want to abandon everything at home and go on a Spanish adventure. Unfortunately I found there was a severe lack of depth in the characters, they were so two dimensional and predictable that I just stopped reading. I got about 2/3 of the way and I stopped because the will to read another sentence about citrus had waned. The relationships lack any kind of fire or intensity, it w...more
April
4.5 stars. Wow. Turns out I really liked this book! I wasn't sure I would because the style of writing (very descriptive, lyrical, poetic...) drove me a little crazy. It was too much in my opinion and kept me from understanding the plot at times. I had to keep going back to re-read portions.
But overall, I loved the story. Loved Kenzie and getting into her head-seeing her life through her thoughts and realizations and experiences. The story was sweet. So may people suffered, but pushed forward de...more
Kerri
I’ve enjoyed all of the Beth Kephart books I’ve encountered so far. They each present a beautiful little world that I love to inhabit, however briefly. This novel takes us to Spain where eighteen-year-old Kenzie has been sent by her Main Line Mom to have a baby in secret. Kenzie’s narrative voice is surprisingly sophisticated, but it is beautiful and poetic so I am willing to believe in her. What I love most about Kephart’s books is her ability to describe so precisely, often taking advantage of...more
Ashley
The writing was beautiful at times, but I also felt that it kept me from getting as close as I'd like to be to the story. Kenzie existed in such a vivid world, but I felt like I never go to see it as much as I wanted to. I'd feel myself getting close to the character in a moment, only to be yanked out of it and thrown into an entirely new scene when the last one wasn't finished yet. Maybe that was the author's intent, but it left me feeling like the story was just beyond my reach, the characters...more
Amala John
This story is poetic, descriptive, and heartbreaking. The author really takes you into the story and makes you feel like you're in southern Spain, a place so different than home. Loved it. It showed me how a change of setting can be and that it is the people that make a home.
Winona Scheff
Small Damages was the story of Kenzie and her experience of pregnancy. She was sent to live with Estela, a spanish women, because Kenzie's mom wanted no one to know that she was pregnant. This novel is about how Kenzie deals with the fact she wants to keep her baby but her mom and boyfriend do not want too. She is sent to Estela to give birth to a baby who she would then give up to a young couople. Kenzie deals with losing faith in love and building new connections with new people. She builds a...more
Valérie Carreau
Mon avis : Une lecture facile et très intéressante sur un sujet qui à la base n'est absolument pas évident.

Du coté de l'histoire : Après la mort de son père, Kenzie, une jeune fille de 18 ans, trouve le réconfort auprès de son meilleur ami. Mais très vite, elle tombe enceinte du jeune garçon. Déterminée à garder le bébé malgré le rejet de cette décision par son petit-ami, elle est forcée par sa mère de partir en Espagne où au terme de sa grossesse, le bébé sera adopté.
Dans la chaleur de l'Anda...more
Justyna
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth Maria Naranjo
A gorgeously written book about a pregnant teenager who is sent to Spain by her unsympathetic mother. The plan is for the girl, Kenzie, to have her baby in secret and give the child up for adoption, then return and start college as if nothing had happened.

I loved the quiet, lyrical prose, the depth of the characters, and the beautiful but spare descriptions of Spain. This is not a book driven by action but by character growth and flawless writing. Here are a few samples:

"When I open the door, a...more
♥Jessica, ♥Lady of the Library♥
 photo BethKephart_zps8957ce9f.jpg

 photo SmallDamages_zpsc5c08f86.gif

"You aren’t happy," Estela says.
"I can’t be happy." I say.
"Look at me, Kenzie."
"I’m looking at you, Estela."
"Do you know your own heart?"
"I don’t know anything."
"Go," she says, " and think. And don’t come back until you know."


It’s Senior year, and everything seems perfect for Kenzie. She’s got a wonderful group of friends, and a loving boyfriend. But everything starts changing once her father dies. Her mom completely falls apart, getting rid of every sort of evidence he ever existed and crea...more
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The Ending 2 10 Dec 04, 2013 05:36PM  
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Though I've been writing since I was nine years old, I didn't publish beyond my high school literary journal until I was a new mother. My first published essay was in Iowa Woman; subsequently, I published short stories in dozens of literary magazines—learning, always, what worked or what didn't by reading far more than I wrote.

My first book, A SLANT OF SUN, a memoir, was a National Book Award fin...more
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“You aren't happy," Estela says.
"I can't be happy," I say.
"Look at me, Kenzie."
"I'm looking at you, Estela."
"Do you know your own heart?"
"I don't know anything."
"Go," she says, "and think. And don't come back until you know.”
3 likes
“Maybe all that matters is that they love each other, still, the way people who have known each other will always love each other.” 2 likes
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