(Review) Phantom Limbs
Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner
Publication Date: September 13, 2016
Pages: 368 (kindle)
Genre: Young Adult
My Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars
How do you move on from an irreplaceable loss? In a poignant debut, a sixteen-year-old boy must learn to swim against an undercurrent of grief—or be swept away by it.
Otis and Meg were inseparable until her family abruptly moved away after the terrible accident that left Otis’s little brother dead and both of their families changed forever. Since then, it’s been three years of radio silence, during which time Otis has become the unlikely protégé of eighteen-year-old Dara—part drill sergeant, part friend—who’s hell-bent on transforming Otis into the Olympic swimmer she can no longer be. But when Otis learns that Meg is coming back to town, he must face some difficult truths about the girl he’s never forgotten and the brother he’s never stopped grieving. As it becomes achingly clear that he and Meg are not the same people they were, Otis must decide what to hold on to and what to leave behind. Quietly affecting, this compulsively readable debut novel captures all the confusion, heartbreak, and fragile hope of three teens struggling to accept profound absences in their lives.
I feel like this book had a lot of promise, but lost a little bit of it once the girl showed up. From the beginning, Otis is smart and funny. He's kind of awkward, but in a cute way. He's athletic and is kind of oblivious what girls think of him. Otis and his family are still mourning the death of Mason, Otis' younger brother, and some of his feelings are very deep and profound. I love the wording of the first third of the book.
Once Meg comes into the picture I feel that everything sort of changed. Otis is turned into this jealous teenager who only thinks about how hot Meg is and how much he hates her boyfriend. Meg teases him with hugs and touches, not the mention this "secret" that she tries to tell him at least three times.
I do really love the dynamic of Otis and Dara. Dara's a tough cookie. She's angry and kind of miserable, but with a lot of good reason. I love the development we see with her in all sorts of ways. A lot of it was her figuring out who she was and it was wonderfully done.
Personally, the relationship didn't make sense to me. I just wasn't into it and would have been perfectly happy without the love story and just the growth. That's just me.