Oct 9, 2012

Review | Small Damages by Beth Kephart

Title: Small Damages by Beth Kephart
Series: N/A
Genre: YA - Contemporary
Publication: 06.19.2012 by Philomel
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Synopsis: 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.

Thoughts: The summary intrigued me from the start, and it may be that I don't enjoy too much prose, but I was overwhelmed by the novel being entirely written this way. Small Damages was pretty disappointing because it isn't really like the summary has you believe.

Kenzie sounds like a determined young woman in the summary, but in the actual story, she's actually quite weak. Although she wants to keep her baby, she doesn't really resist when her mother decides to send her to Spain to keep everything under wraps. In Spain, she spends her days with the cook or wandering around in the house. She develops a little, but she is a flat character that I couldn't like or relate to at all.

The only thing I liked in the book were the descriptions of Spain. I have been to Spain and while reading some passages that described the streets, smells, cafes and other places. I was able to envision it all again.. It definitely made want to visit again.

Not much really happens in the rest of the book and I even became a bit confused with some parts so that made it really difficult for me to even finish it. I spent weeks trying to get into the story and while I did manage to finish it, it was painstakingly so. The ending felt a bit rushed and I saw it coming a mile away, so I was not surprised with how things were resolved. Instead, I was frustrated with the writing and the characters and I just wanted to be done with the book and move on to something else.

Overall: Small Damages definitely was not for me and I don't think I will be reading any others by this author. While the premise sounded great, not much in this book really satisfied me or kept me interested. It has received a lot of great reviews and nominations though, so if it sounds like something you would enjoy, give it a try.

Oct 8, 2012

Manga Monday | Boys Over Flowers, Vol. 6 - 10

Manga Mondays is a meme started by Alison from Alison Can Read in which we share any and all manga that we might be reading.
Series: Boys Over Flowers
Volumes: 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
Story and Art: Yoko Kamio
Released: 2003
Age: Young Adult
Art Rating: ★★★
Story Rating: ★★★
Tsukushi Makino has been accepted into the snobbish Eitoku academy. From a middle-class background and poor compared to her classmates, Tsukushi is determined to get her diploma. Standing in her way is the gang known as F4 -- four handsome but vicious rich kids who rule the school and attack anyone who gets in their way This popular series features drama, romance, humor, strong girls, and cute boys. When her only friend, Makiko, accidentally offends F4 leader Tsukasa, Tsukushi boldly defends her. Enraged, Tsukushi puts the dreaded red tag in Tsukushi's locker -- a sign that she is now a target for the abuse of the F4 and the entire school. But when Tsukushi fights the gang with their own weapon, Tsukasa finds himself falling for her.

In the next few volumes, the story really captured my attention and I didn't want to stop reading. Not only does Tsukasa completely change towards Tsukushi (most of the time) but we can really get a feel for his affections. Tsukushi may not be in love with him, but their relationship sort of causes her to feel something for the guy, although it may not be love. Things between these two can get a little intense and that definitely kept me reading more.

After I put the 10th volume down though, I found myself a little hesitant in continuing this series. The first ten volumes were quite fun, but they quickly became a bit redundant even with all the additional characters. I definitely want to know who Tsukushi ends up with...but I don't think I can read 30+ volumes to find out! I got a bit bored with the story and since the art is still more of the same, I don't know how much more I will read. I might pick up the next couples of volumes and see if the story picks up, but otherwise, I might be done with this series.