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 make - choices 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.
I have never been to Spain. I have never stayed on a bull ranch just outside of Seville, where the heat beats down on the olive groves, and the smell of saffron permeates the thick atmosphere. I have never breathed in the air there, “which smells like fruit and sun and the color blue.”
But after reading Small Damages I feel like I have.
In fiction, a vividly drawn landscape can ground the reader. It can help the reader rest comfortably inside the story because she knows – by way of her senses – where she is. Beth Kephart is a master at this. She creates landscape in a glorious way. With lyrical prose that rings unique and familiar all at the same time, she opens the reader’s ears, eyes, nose and skin – she transports the reader smack into the middle of the world she has created. (Reviewed by Tamara Smith).
School Library Journal
While the subject matter might seem familiar, even overdone, this story is unexpectedly tender and original, never falling prey to cliché or the trappings of the typical teen problem novel. Or if it does - the moodiness, the somewhat easy resolution - the style is so engaging that the tale is still fulfilling.
Starred Review. This beautifully written 'summer of transformation' story will have readers feeling as torn about Kenzie's choice as she is.
Starred Review. Lovely and unusual - at once epic and intimate. Ages 13+.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Louise J Disappointing... Young, Kenzie is sent to Seville, Spain in 1995 and upon arrival is setting off for Los Nietos to a farmhouse or cortijo. It is owned by a man named, Miguel and is actually a bull ranch. Miguel is a friend of, Kenzie’s mother, and he has agreed... Read More
Located in the southern part of Spain, Seville is Andalusia's capital and its biggest city. The Guadalquivir River runs through the city, which is close to the Atlantic Ocean.
Iberians founded Seville, which was later the center of many conquests and settlements by the Romans, Vandals and Visigoths. The Moors conquered it in 712 AD, and then Ferdinand the III of Castile did the same in 1248 AD. The city especially prospered during the time of New World discoveries because it served as a port for colonial trade until the 18th century.
Seeped in history and story, Seville is close to the port where Christopher Columbus set sail for the New World, and it is also home of the legendary fictional character, "Don Juan" who left to conquer the hearts of all...
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