It's senior year, and while Kenzie should be looking forward to prom and starting college in the fall, she discovers she's pregnant. Her determination to keep her baby is something her boyfriend and mother do not understand. So she is sent to Spain, where she will live out her pregnancy, and her baby will be adopted by a Spanish couple. No one will ever know.
Alone and resentful in a foreign country, Kenzie is at first sullen and difficult. But as she gets to know Estela, the stubborn old cook, and Esteban, the mysterious young man who cares for the horses, she begins to open her eyes, and her heart, to the beauty that is all around her, and inside her. Kenzie realizes she has some serious choices to makechoices about life, love, and home.
Lyrically told in a way that makes the heat, the colors, and the smells of Spain feel alive, Small Damages is a feast for the heart and the soul, and a coming-of-age novel not easily forgotten.
Beth Kephart is the award-winning author of more than a dozen books. She teaches creative nonfiction at the University of Pennsylvania. When she's not writing or teaching, she loves to take photographs and to garden. Beth lives in Devon, Pennsylvania.
What People are Saying About This
Small Damages is a wrenching celebration of choice. To read Kephart is to splendidly dream with both eyes open." — Rita Williams-Garcia, author of One Crazy Summer, winner of the Newbery Honor Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award
As this delicate and luscious novel unfolds, the lines are blurred between love and loss, past and present, real and magical, and even life and death."Kathryn Erskine, author of National Book Award-winner Mockingbird.
Stunning. Kephart's lyrical prose lingers with you long after the final page. I simply didn't want it to end.— Ruta Sepetys, author of New York Times bestseller, Between Shades of Gray
Small Damages 4 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
Knowing how Beth Kephart agonizes over every word, every phrase, I started Small Damages with the intention of identifying some of the imagery that I thought particularly descriptive. I soon abandoned that because I became so engrossed in the story. I realized that it’s not one or two phrases that make a wonderful story, it the whole, the continued visualization, the constant perfect phrasing that makes you want to read, non-stop. That’s how I felt with Small Damages.
Eighteen-year-old Kenzie is shipped off to a ranch in rural Spain outside Seville, by an ashamed mother, to live with people she’s never met, in a country she’s never been, to give birth to an unexpected child. The child’s father is taking no responsibilty and Kenzie’s father, who she adored, died of a heart attack several months prior. Small Damages is Kenzie’s story to her unborn child.
I’ll admit, I was dubious about reading a story about a teenager going to Spain to give her child up for adoption. But that was silly. Beth Kephart is the author and “beautifully written, ‘can’t put it down’” stories is her middle name. From the beginning, the reader internalizes Kenzie’s loneliness and feelings of abandonment by those who supposedly love her. This is enhanced by Kephart’s description of the isolation of the ranch, Los Nietos, where Kenzie will live, assisting the cook. You share with her the muddle of emotions about the adotpion, as she starts talking directly to her unborn daughter, describing the sights and sounds around her.
Small Damages’ characters are perfection. The image of brusque, plump Estela, the cook who does not give love easily, but once she does it is with her whole heart and soul, is vivid. The shy teenager, Esteban, who is more comfortable with his birds and horses than with people, is spot on. The Gypsies, to whom life is song, add a unique color to the tapestry of this story. The ancillary characters and plot lines are buttercream icing atop the tasty seven layer cake of Small Damages. If I were ever to set foot in Los Nietos, I would never leave.
The themes–family need not be biological, home is the place where people love you, regrets cannot be undone–are exquisitely illustrated in Small Damages.
Small Damages by Beth Kephart is Printz Award and National Book Award worthy, without a doubt. However, Beth, there is one thing you did leave out of Small Damages…the recipes for some of Estela’s dishes, like that paella for instance (you can smell the aroma from the description in the book)! I read Small Damages in a day because I couldn’t put it down. I’ll read it again, slowly, to savor it.
More than 1 year ago
It was a little different at first but once I got the into it I couldn't put it down
More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars. Lovely writing and wonderful character development. Didn't want it to end.
More than 1 year ago
Sweet, touching, heartfelt, and bittersweet. I enjoyed the way it was written and enjoyed reading it. I loved it.
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