Monday, August 27, 2012

Review: Small Damages by Beth Kephart

Small Damages 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.

My Review:

Small Damages is a great book that explores relationships and making choices.  The writing and characters are all well-done, and I really enjoyed this read.


Kenzie is a great main character who has to deal with many difficult things in life.  Her father had recently died, and she let her boyfriend comfort her.  Unfortunately, this led to her getting pregnant at eighteen, and her mom didn't want anyone to know about her pregnancy.  Her mom has a friend in Spain so she sends Kenzie off to have the baby in Spain.  Arrangements are made for a couple in Spain to adopt her child once she gives birth to it.  Kenzie resents her boyfriend for choosing Yale over supporting her, and her mom for making her decisions for her.  As the book progresses, she decides to make her choices.

One extremely well-done relationship is the one between Kenzie and Estela.  Estela is the cook in Spain, and Kenzie helps her with the cooking.  At the beginning, Estela is very stern to Kenzie, and they are both closed-off to each other.  As the story continues, they open up to each other more.  Estela becomes like a grandmother figure to Kenzie.  She begins to tell Kenzie the story of how she got pregnant for Luis' baby and didn't see him for many years.  She gave up the baby for adoption.

The other characters in this book are well-developed.  Esteban is a fairly mysterious character.  The reader finds out a little bit about his past, but much is still a mystery.  You can the touches of a romance developing between him and Kenzie.  Kenzie's boyfriend, Kevin, seemed like a good guy during the flashbacks, though he's not there for her in her pregnancy.  Ellie seemed like a good friend, but Kenzie kept the pregnancy a secret from her.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.



  1. Good morning, Katie. A little bird told me about your lovely review, and I am here to thank you for taking the time to read the book, and to reflect on it out loud. It means a lot.