Saturday, September 13, 2014

ARC Review: Damsel Distressed

Title: Damsel Distressed
Author: Kelsey Macke
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Format: ARC
Hot girls get the fairy tales. No one cares about the stepsisters' story. Those girls don't get a sweet little ending; they get a lifetime of longing

Imogen Keegen has never had a happily ever after–in fact, she doesn’t think they are possible. Ever since her mother’s death seven years ago, Imogen has pulled herself in and out of therapy, struggled with an “emotionally disturbed” special ed. label, and loathed her perma-plus-sized status.

When Imogen’s new stepsister, the evil and gorgeous Ella Cinder, moves in down the hall, Imogen begins losing grip on the pieces she’s been trying to hold together. The only things that gave her solace–the theatre, cheese fries, and her best friend, Grant–aren’t enough to save her from her pain this time.

While Imogen is enjoying her moment in the spotlight after the high school musical, the journal pages containing her darkest thoughts get put on display. Now, Imogen must resign herself to be crushed under the ever-increasing weight of her pain, or finally accept the starring role in her own life story.

And maybe even find herself a happily ever after.

Enhance the experience with the companion soundtrack, Imogen Unlocked, by the author's band, Wedding Day Rain.

My Review

Everywhere I look, it seems like most YA characters are very similar in regards to their physical appearances, but Damsel Distressed throws all of those common stereotypes out the window and introduces readers to a new kind of YA book. Why? Because finally, we don't have a skinny main character! We get a plus size girl with all sorts of problems, and I just love it! I truly hope to see more books like this in the future, especially if they are by Kelsey Macke.

First of all, I must applaud Kelsey Macke for the creation of this stunning book. Everything in this book is just perfect. It made me cry. It made me laugh. I pretty much experienced every human emotion possible while reading my book. In my opinion, I feel like the more emotions represented make it a better and more captivating read.

The main character, Imogen, is unlike any YA character that I've ever seen in a book before. First of all, she's overweight, and I mean that she's really overweight - not just a few pounds. As someone who struggled with my weight my whole life, I finally felt like this weight was being lifted off my shoulders because here is this wonderful character who I can relate to now. I'm twenty-five now, but much I still experience the nights where I want to binge eat like Imogen, and I felt like much of her struggles with obesity were realistic and true. Not only is Imogen overweight, but she's also got a lot going on emotionally and mentally. I loved her flaws. I love how she knows she has problems but she's afraid to fix them out of fear of ruining everything. I love how she learns to grow and becomes comfortable in her own skin.

I think fans of books like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Love Letters to the Dead, and It's Kind of a Funny Story will be drawn to Imogen and enjoy her story because she also deals with mental health problems.

Macke shows her incredible support of the arts in this book, and as a teacher, I must thank her. I am obviously an English teacher, but I was very involved in my high school's music program when I was a student. I was in concert band, jazz band, pit orchestra, and marching band. I still support that music program to this day, so happy tears were brought to my eyes when I saw just how much Macke cares about the arts. Maybe people will read this book and realize just how important the arts are to keep in schools.

So how exactly does Macke show her support for the arts? Imogen, our main character, is involved in her school's musical. She works in the sound booth. During much of the book, Imogen is at rehearsals. Another way that Macke shows her support of the fine arts is by including a special event dedicated to them in the plot of the book. Can you say awesome? Also, there are going to be pages full of original artwork throughout the book. And finally, Kelsey Macke and her husband are releasing an original album as a soundtrack to the book. Talk about dedication. Ms. Macke certainly knows how to tell a story while supporting the fine arts. Kudos to her.

I loved this book, and everything that it represents. Yes, it's a retelling of "Cinderella" with a point of view twist, but it's so much more than that. It's a book about grief, love, family, and friendship. Most importantly, it's a book about self-acceptance that I think all teenagers and young adults should read.

Quotes I Enjoyed:

"I am whole. I am more than just the pieces that I see. I am so much stronger than I seem."
"When are we gonna get a fat princess? How about a princess with bad acne and crappy posture and the mouth of a sailor? Probably never. Every. Single. One. Is the same. Totally hot. Totally predicable."
"Happiness isn't a choice. And people who say it is are just lucky enough to not really need to choose it."
"But pain can make you beautiful... if you try."
"Shooting stars are for suckers."


  1. Of course! This cover would have fit right in with my cover theme Wednesday. :( I totally forgot about it.

    Anyway, this book sounds interesting. "Ella Cinder", wow that's clever! I love the idea of this book. Oh my gosh, the beginning of your review already makes me smile so much! I love that you pointed out she isn't like the usual YA characters. It's such a relief. Another character like that is Eleanor from Eleanor and Park, which you've probably heard of, if not reviewed. :) I love it.

    I love Perks, Love Letters, and I've recently ordered It's Kind Of A Funny Story. To hear this story is similar to those makes me so incredibly happy. I'm jumping with joy right now.

    I adore books with school themes that actually show the kids IN CLASSES and AT SCHOOL. It's so great. Ah, I love theater! I LOVE MUSICALS. I have no musical talent to speak of. Other than I can memorize lyrics. :) And name a song sort of quickly if I've heard it.

    This book sounds absolutely amazing. Your review is great.

    1. OMG.

      Amber, your enthusiasm for my review literally makes me want to jump through my computer and give you a hug. Thank you so much. I think that your comment is definitely the longest one I've ever received on here, so thank you.

      And I love Eleanor & Park. Rainbow Rowell fans will probably love this book too.

      If (and I'm assuming when) you read it, drop by again, and let me know what you think. I'd love to check out your review! :-)

    2. I'm glad you appreciated my comment! You're so welcome. Haha, I tend to ramble a bit! And get very enthused at times.

      Eleanor & Park was such a great book, even with the slightly abrupt, speedy ending. :)

      I will. :) I'll have to check out more of your blog myself. I may have to pre-order this book as it's less than $9 on Amazon right now and I love the plot, so it's like a no brainer. Plus that cover? Freakin' amazing and gorgeous. I just love it.

    3. I ramble a lot, too. It's a common thing for me in my every day speech. :)

      Did you see that Eleanor & Park is being turned into a movie? Things should be starting soon with it. That is one that I'll definitely be seeing on opening day.

      I'm ordering the book, too. It was just so good. I might even buy a copy for my friend for Christmas because she works in theater, and so does the main character. I just hope she likes it. lol

    4. Well that's good, that's not just a me thing. :)

      I did hear about it being turned into movie but I wasn't sure if that was just a rumor or not. If it's not at select or small theaters/AMC (like Veronica Mars), I'll definitely be going to see it! That's so awesome.

      I'm so happy you liked it so much. I'm so excited to read it. Aw, I bet she'll like it. Is the theater aspect focused on a lot? Like other than this one musical, do we see her around working on other theater things or referring to her liking theater?

    5. It's not a rumor. I think she was just waiting until the perfect time to work on it, and apparently work will start soon.

      The theater aspect is focused on a lot. I don't want to spoil anything, but it's a pretty dominant part of the plot and development. And yes... she does refer to liking it a lot.

  2. Your review has made me really want to read the book! It seems like a contemporary with great messages, which I love to read. :) Great review!

    1. Kaitlin, it really does contain some great messages. I loved it, and it made me feel a little bit more secure with who I am as a person.

      I'll be promoting it some time in the very near future as part of the blog tour for the book, so there will be a little more information on it.

      If you ever read it, feel free to share your thoughts and opinions with me.

  3. Hey Erin! I nominated you for the Ten Book Challenge! Check it out on my blog:


    1. Thank you, Jennie! I'll check it out and will make a post about it soon. I've still got to do a post for my eighth Liebster Award and the Book Life tag.

    2. wow, that's a lot of tags haha! I've only been tagged a few times :) what is the book life tag?

    3. It's one that has you create a fictional life based on books. So you get to choose your family members and friends from your favorite books. It seems rather complicated, so I'm saving it for a weekend when I have a little more time.

      I can tag you in it if you'd like. :)

    4. That sounds really cool! I'll keep an eye out for what your family will be.
      You can if you want haha :)

  4. Sounds like a cute read! I'll have to check it out next bookstore trip. :)

    1. Awesome. It's not out for another month, though, so just keep that in mind. I wouldn't want you to make a special trip and it not be at the store. :)


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