Genre: YA - Contemporary
Publication: 06.19.2012 by Philomel
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.