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Small Damages Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel (July 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399257489
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399257483
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,073,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Lovely and unusual—at once epic and intimate” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review
  
(Kirkus Reviews)

“This beautifully written ‘summer of transformation’ story will have readers feeling as torn about Kenzie’s choice as she is.” Publishers Weekly, starred review
 

(Publishers Weekly)

 “‘Dreamlike’ is one word for ‘Small Damages’…[Kenzie’s] percolating story emerges through Kephart’s lilting prose in the same hazy way you’d meander through the narrow white streets of Seville…The reader is lost and found and lost and found again.”

(New York Times Book Review)

 “Lovely” — The Los Angeles Times

 

(Los Angeles Times)

Beautifully told, the characters’ stories are soulful and compelling, and the setting is rich and alive....This story is unexpectedly tender and original, never falling prey to cliché or the trappings of the typical teen problem novel.
 

(School Library Journal)

 “Kephart has created a lyrical, beautiful story about a young woman at a turning point, struggling to reconcile her choices, find her place in the world and discover the true meaning of family.”

(BookPage)

Small Damages is a magical story that is simple, yet complex.
(VOYA)

 "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

(Ruta Sepetys)

 "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.  
(Kathryn Erskine)

 “Escape to Spain with Beth Kephart’s Small Damages.

(BELLA Magazine)

 We wish to slow down, breathe in the smell of Estela's paella, the scent of the orange trees. As soon as the book ends, we want to begin it again.
(Shelf Awareness)

 Kephart is a linguistic Midas everything she puts to paper is golden, including this gem.
(Family Circle)

 "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
(Rita Williams-Garcia)

About the Author

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.

More About the Author

Following the publication of five memoirs and FLOW, the autobiography of Philadelphia's Schuylkill River, I've had the great pleasure of turning my attention to young adult fiction. UNDERCOVER and HOUSE OF DANCE were both named a best of the year by Kirkus and Bank Street. NOTHING BUT GHOSTS, A HEART IS NOT A SIZE, and DANGEROUS NEIGHBORS were critically acclaimed. In October YOU ARE MY ONLY will be released by Egmont USA. Next summer, Philomel will release SMALL DAMAGES. I am at work on a prequel to DANGEROUS NEIGHBORS, a novel for adults, and a memoir about teaching. Please visit my blog: http://beth-kephart.blogspot.com/

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 19 customer reviews
I am a longtime Beth Kephart fan.
RiverWriter
The writing style was very different from most books I read, and that set my tempo off.
NHR
It is one of those endings that just lifted me up and made my heart happy and hopeful.
Heather R.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Heather R. on July 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Originally reviewed at [...]

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 my very favorite authors, puts words to paper like an artist puts paint to canvas. I think if I could pick one author that reminds me the most of the way Kephart writes it would be Gayle Forman. Like Forman, Kephart's writing is deeply emotive. Her words evoke visual images. I don't just mean in the way she describes things. It's more than that. Her writing is descriptive but it also has a quality to it that sets a tone or mood. Her expressions are subtle and nuanced. She has written prose, but with a very poetic quality to it.

When we first meet Kenzie, she is newly arrived in Seville, Spain and is about to set off for Los Nietos, the farmhouse (or cortijo) owned by Miguel, a friend of a friend of Kenzie's mother, who has agreed to take her in until her child is born. The child will then be adopted by a couple Miguel knows and Kenzie will return to the States and start college in the fall. To say Kenzie is in a bad place would be an understatement. Not only is she pregnant, she recently lost her father, who in her own words, was her favorite. The father of Kenzie's baby, Kevin, while not a bad guy, has decided to let Kenzie handle things on her own, in effect taking himself out of the equation by refusing to accompany Kenzie to Spain.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By bookworm1858 VINE VOICE on July 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

After having some mixed experiences with Kephart's previous works, I had decided to swear her off, sensing that we just did not click. But then in the year end wrap-ups, I saw some of my favorite bloggers praising her latest so I gave in and picked this up at the library. As you can see from my rating, I ought to have abstained.

After her father's death, Kenzie discovers she is pregnant by her Yale-bound boyfriend (realized that my opening may have made this sound like an incest book, which it's not) and she insists on giving birth to the baby. So her mother arranges for an adoption and for Kenzie to reluctantly spend the summer in Spain where the adoptive parents reside. There she meets people and discovers things.

While I can see the beauty in Kephart's writing, I just found the entire experience of reading this so dull and unengaging. I felt dropped into the story without necessary contexts; I spent most of the story thinking it was set in 2012 (it's not; it's 1995-why 1995? I don't know); I think there might have been a new romance blossoming for Kenzie with a boy in Spain but I'm not sure; I'm not entirely sure when and how she got pregnant beyond knowing in my head the mechanics of human reproduction. Was it a reaction to the death of her beloved father? I didn't get a good feeling for their connection (and that's bringing all the feelings about my dad into this story-I know I would have been devastated so why can't I imagine Kenzie as devastated? She didn't feel real to me.) There were some very emotional moments for the characters in the book but I just felt nothing beyond boredom and wondering if I could still count this as a book read if I skimmed to the end (I decided that it does.)

Suffice it to say that I can recognize the skill in the writing here but it all left me cold. I wanted to feel something, I should have felt something considering the themes touched on and yet nothing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on September 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In a gorgeous story saturated with the rich sights, smells and flavors of Spain, 18-year-old Kenzie, mourning the recent death of her beloved father, finds herself pregnant and definitely unwilling to terminate her pregnancy. When her boyfriend Kevin, who is headed to Yale, finds out, he wonders what Kenzie's plan is to deal with her situation. Kenzie's mother hits the roof when she sees her daughter vomiting and then discovers the reason behind her nausea. As a college student, she had traveled to southern Spain, where her friend Mari lives. Mari knows someone who desperately wants to adopt a baby. So, before Kenzie can even get up the nerve to tell her best friend, Mom packs Kenzie off to southern Spain.

Mari travels with her diplomat husband, so Kenzie stays at Los Nietos, the isolated ranch of Mari's friend Miguel, who is also the friend of the adoptive parents Javier and Adair. Ostensibly, Kenzie is to help Miguel's elderly and cantankerous cook, Estela. She also meets Esteban, Miguel's young godson, and a group of roving gypsies. It soon becomes obvious that one of the gypsies, Luis, has a mysterious connection with Estela. Kenzie wonders about their past. Why does it seem that Luis has a perpetual birthday being celebrated by Estela?

When Kenzie finally meets Adair, her baby's likely future mother, the older woman shows her the beautiful nursery she has created in her exquisite home. Adair speaks of the love she will shower upon the baby. Kenzie believes that Adair and Javier will give her child a wonderful life. Still, she can't help talking to her tiny baby girl (she's convinced she's carrying a daughter who surely will possess some of the features of the father Kenzie adored so thoroughly).
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