Damsel Distressed

Damsel Distressed

by Kelsey Macke


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781939392176
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Publication date: 10/14/2014
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 480,377
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Kelsey Macke has been creative for as long as she can remember. Her formative years were spent writing songs, horrible poetry, and mastering the art of drama queenery. When she's not writing, she's working on music with her Husband as part of folky, indie-pop duo Wedding Day Rain. She is represented by Jessica Sinsheimer of the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency.

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Damsel Distressed 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
skizzles22 More than 1 year ago
I think more books need to be written like this. Ones with undesirable and unreliable characters. Ones that deal with mental health and not make it into this big deal about stigmas and labels and drama. I want more books to portray mental illness in a positive light, ones that feel real and genuine and don't overplay it or downplay it. Ones that just make it like life. And that is what Damsel Distressed did. I think, out of all the books I read this year, none of them had a character quite like Imogen Keegen. Overweight, shy, insecure, not apologetic for who she is even when she doesn't like herself. And she doesn't. She has a problem with confidence and making friends and being normal. That's all Imogen wants. She wants to be normal. She doesn't want to be like this anymore; she doesn't want to battle with a mental disorder that has kept her from growing in seven long years. She just doesn't know how to move on from her mother's death and live her life. She's selfish, disconnected, and a lot of her thoughts revolve around her. And normally that would annoy me in a character and most likely make me hate them. But with Imogen, it feels real. It doesn't feel like it's there for no reason at all. And it's not. Because with her bipolar moods and her deep depressions, this is what it's like when she's going through all of that. And I think the author handled all of that so well, in making us not only sympathize with Imogen but cheer for her. Cheer her on in her quest to becoming a person who enjoys life again, one who doesn't hide behind her sarcastic personality. Someone who finds who she is again, when she'd spent years feeling lost and alone and like no one cares about her at all. But people do care. Grant cares. He cares so much that he can't stand that his best friend is like this, that she can't do anything without hiding behind a false facade. It's hard, being on the receiving end of these types of mood swings and these constant thoughts of negativity. It's hard watching someone you love lose sight of who they are and succumb to a darkness that eats away at their very soul. And even when he couldn't take it anymore, he still stayed by her side. Because he knew that the real Imogen was down there, waiting to be freed. And she was his best friend. So he wanted to do all that he could to help her find the joys in life and move on from her past. I adored their cute and complicated relationship. And Grant, with his nerdy shirts and kind heart, his easy smile and charismatic personality. I thought he was the best person to love Imogen. One who would understand all that she was going through and be her sounding board, even if it hurt him. The secondary characters were all wonderful as well. I loved that Imogen found some friends who didn't care about her weight or her looks or why she was so sarcastic all the time. Sure, she had slipups, had her moments of insecurity when it came to them. Like I said, she was selfish. She would always look for the negative and act like everything was a personal attack on her. But she learned that real friends stick by you, even when you hurt them. I'm glad she finally found people like that, when she didn't have her family's strong support. Speaking of no strong family support, the drama with her stepsister kind of bogged down the story for me. I didn't think a lot of it was that necessary. I just didn't care for what was happening there; I was more interested in Grant's and Imogen's relationship and the main character's growth. Because that's what the story was about; it was about Imogen. It was her story of loss and grief, pain and darkness. But it was also about her striving to make changes and taking control of her life. Imogen needed a strong wakeup call; she needed a push in the right direction. And I'm so glad she took it, so happy that she came out of that tragedy stronger and better than she was before it. It's not a perfect solution, and she'll have to work at it every single day. But by the end, Imogen was ready to actually try. And that was the most rewarding moment of all. Damsel Distressed was a contemporary novel about a girl who struggled with mental health issues, labels, and the grief that she just couldn't seem to shake. It was about learning that what happens to you doesn't define you. And it was about taking control of your life and choosing to live and love and not let the call of darkness ruin your chances of helping yourself.
Vishvakarman More than 1 year ago
YA contemporary isn't really my bag, but I believe in reading outside my "comfort zone" and was pleasantly surprised. Seriously, this book screams "NOT WRITTEN FOR BEN," but in spite of that, I loved it. That alone should speak for itself, but I'll go on.  There was a point where I thought the story was gonna get predictable, where I thought "ok I see where this is going," but then WHOOSH! IT DIDN'T GO THERE. In the end, it really only played into one or two minor predictions, the rest of the time it evaded the norm.  The secondary characters in this story leap off the page and drag you into the story just as much as the primary ones do. And a struggle with depression - what better theme is there for YA? Read this. Even if the genre isn't your bag, read it. Expand your horizons. You might be surprised
LauraMaisano More than 1 year ago
Damsel Distressed is the story of Imogen Keegan, a plus-sized teenager who loves the theater, and has to navigate the drama of high school while struggling with clinical depression an anxiety. Don't think that's all her character is, that's just her background, her world view and such. The big problems emerge when her stepsister moves in, the beautiful Ella Cinder (Cinderella, get it. :-)) Ella is a witch with a capital B, and she brings Imogen's fragile world crashing down on her. Now, I'm a spec fic gal. I'm into fantasy, sci-fi, even paranormal sometimes. I usually need something weird or outrageous to keep me interested, so I was a little doubtful to pick up a contemporary YA about normal high schoolers. Really, how can normal high school life keep my attention? Well, Macke did it. I was drawn in my Imogen's voice, snarky and self deprecating, but not to the point of annoyance. She made me empathize and has a fun spin on how she describes the world. I wanted to follow Imogen, and I rooted for her. More importantly Imogen's best friend Grant is everything I want in a high school boy. He's a nerd, smart, also outgoing and charismatic at points. He understands Imogen even if she doubts anyone can, and he's the best friend/love interest that just captured my heart. No adult in her right mind would want to re-live high school, and I just might be willing if Grant was part of that high school life. As with a story about depression, there's definitely a dark point. Macke nailed it. I really felt for Imogen in her most awful moments, and while I empathized with her, that's not what made me cry. It was her pulling herself out of the pit, her strength and support from her friends, and finally overcoming that hump of immense adversity that yanked the tears from my eyes. I don't cry when I read often. I really don't. Sometimes I sniffle, but to make a big globby tear fall from my eye takes real talent. Big claps, Damsel Distressed did it. And for the happy tears, I'm in love. I can't recommend this book enough.
kirstyviz More than 1 year ago
Damsel Distressed is a book which blew me away for so many reasons. Firstly, it is a fairy tale retelling but do not be fooled, the world Kelsey Macke creates is not one of fantasy. Imogen is still grieving over the death of her mother and suffering from depression. Damsel Distressed is written with gritty and raw realism and watching Imogen suffer becomes an upsetting task for the reader; for the latter part of the story I cried almost constantly! Although I mainly read Young Adult books I have a long-standing issue with the heroines, who are usually thin, pretty and popular. For many readers, who may have been social outcasts because of the way they look or their interests. this will not reflect their teenage experience. In Damsel Distressed, Kelsey Macke finally gives us this ‘real’ female character. Imogen is obsessed with musical theatre but does not have the confidence to be a performer. Instead, she prefers to work behind the scenes and physically she does not fit the generic mould. She is considered to be overweight, but though she may not be stunning to look at and prefers biscuits and pizza to the gym, Kelsey Macke allows us to see past all this and she is a character whom we feel we really ‘know’. By subverting all the traditional motifs of fairy tales in Damsel Distressed, Kelsey Macke makes us love Imogen more. Whilst she takes the role of the ‘ugly’ step-sister, we know she is truly anything but, with a loving heart and kind nature. However, her ‘pretty’ step-sister, Ella Cinder, is unkind, spoiled and cruel. There are several attempts made to justify Ella’s behaviour, but these are only glossed over as Ella’s final actions confirm her true repulsive nature. The role of Prince Charming is played by Grant, Imogen’s best friend. Imogen recognised that she was in love with him long ago, but has accepted their platonic relationship. Yet Kelsey Macke details the events between them so closely that we can hope that Imogen’s dream will come true. Although Imogen tries to push Grant away, especially when she is at her lowest point, he is always there to save her, even if it is just sleeping next to her bed when she is lonely. Much of the success of Damsel Distressed lies with Kelsey Macke’s casting, particularly of Brice who willingly accepts the role of fairy godmother! It is these people around Imogen who assure her of her worth and help her to recover. This novel is emotional and moving, but Kelsey Macke rewards her reader for their faith in Imogen by giving us the amazing happy ever after we all crave! I know this is a book I will I know this is a book I will re-read and hope that Kelsey Macke writes something else soon! I hope I’ve convinced you to give this one a try! Bloggers note: I received a complimentary arc of Damsel Distressed in exchange for an honest review and because of this my copy does not have the full artwork after every chapter. I am sure this contributes to the meaning of the story and even the parts I have seen are gorgeous!
Jen748 More than 1 year ago
Imogen will touch your heart in a way that's honest, true, and heartbreaking. And yet, also deeply beautiful!
TheBumbleGirl1 More than 1 year ago
I went into this book thinking it was going to be a funny, quick, light-read; a sweet contemporary to breeze through with a touch of high school drama, first love and a happily ever after... I was so wrong. And, for me, this was really good, with a little bad. I'll explain why in a minute... Imogen is trying to hold her life together in the best way that she can. Her life has been in turmoil ever since her mother passed away. She continues to deal with her grief. Along with her depression and weight. With her best friend, Grant, always by her side. As bad as things can get, she always manages to pull through and get by. Until her father remarries and she meets her stepmother and stepsister. Something happens to Imogen that is hard to put into words, that is difficult to watch unfold and just rips your heart into pieces. Time goes on, and Imogen is once again back to where she was before. Just trying to get by. Until she's told that her stepsister is actually going to come and live with them now. Once again, Imogen does not know how to handle this and just tries to keep her head above water. With her best friend, and new friends by her side, maybe this time she won't be alone. Maybe this time, someone will be there to hold her hand. To help her get through her story. And maybe that happy ending. I truly appreciated the fact that the author not only tackled some very hard issues - depression, anxiety, self-harm, loss of a family member - and did so thoughtfully and tactful. But that she also gave us some outstanding and memorable characters -  it's one of the things that I truly liked about his book; all of  Imogen's relationships with everyone, except for the obvious one with her step-sister. The author really brought in an array of diffrent characters, and developed such amazing connections between all of them. Some where not so strong, but grew with patience, love and understanding. Some where almost unbelievable, but with flashbacks and history, grew to be the most fascinating relationships to follow and cheer for. These characters kept me invested in Imogen's story and hoping for the best things for everyone involved in it. I truly wished that I had read a finished paperback copy. It is often difficult for me to really feel engaged in a story when I read it on my ereader or phone. Especially when there are illustrations that I would have liked to have lingered on, and moments in the book that I would have probably flipped back to to reread. Plus, the cover at first glance is truly beautiful, but upon further inspection, I can see the hidden meaning behind the illustrations. Something I would have noticed right away if I had seen it in person.  If you're looking for a book that will effect you, make you think and look beyond the surface, this is definitely one you will want to pick up.  *An eARC was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts are my own.
itsraymarie More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It was so beautiful, and truthful, and realistic, and so easy to relate to. But it also kept its fun and romance and sweetness. This was a stunning book, made even more so by the intertwining of different media forms. Now, I didn't have internet access while reading most of the book (booo) so I couldn't see the artwork/listen to the music while reading, and doing it afterwards didn't give the same impact (although it was still amazing). (And can we talk about that STUNNING cover??) Imogen has been given many labels: emotionally disturbed, special Ed, fat, etc. And it really harms Imogen's emotional and mental state. She depends on her best friend, Grant, to help her keep it together. And she's been doing better. But it all goes downhill when her stepsister, Ella Cinder, moves in. Now, I think most of us have never had it as bad as Imogen, necessarily, but I think all girls can relate at some level. We've all felt the same way, had the same thoughts running through our minds. I know, personally, I've felt that black hole of despair before, and Macke captures it perfectly. Also, Imogen's thoughts on being overweight were spot on, and so realistic. (I, too, know.) I also love the way she incorporated fine arts into the book. I think the stage crew gets overlooked quite often, but they are amazing. (I did pit orchestra for our school musicals, as well as our regular concerts and assemblies and know just how hard they work. Go techs!) Imogen is content with just fading in the background, but when the time comes for her to take the spotlight, will years of insecurity and depression allow her to? I loved the growth that Imogen goes through in this story, as it is so true for all of us, at least on some level. And Grant. Um, swoon. How he was there for Imogen, even when she couldn't see it or appreciate it. It's hard to see someone you care about go through that. Although it might seem like it only affects the one person, it really affects everyone around them. But still, he stuck with her. You don't see that everyday. I loved the rest of the supporting characters as well--Brice, Jonathan, Antonique. They were all so much fun, and brought some light humor into the story to help balance it out. I hardly ever highlight or mark things when I read, but I found myself highlight quite a bit while reading this. And I see no other way to end than with one of my favorite quotes, courtesy of Therapist George: The end of your story hasn't been written yet. You've got lots and lots of chapters left.