Publisher: Candlewick, Sept 2016
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
Paula Garner needs to write more stories. I loved, loved, loved this one. It isn’t often that I find a story told from the perspective of a male protagonist – one who is innocent, cares about his family, and is dedicated to his sport. Otis is oblivious to his charms and good looks. Girls flirt with him and cluelessly, he continues to pine for his best friend who moved away three years ago. When she returns home, Otis quickly learns that things aren’t the same as they were at 13.
Phantom Limbs is more than just a love story. It is also a story of friendship – the friendship between Otis and Dara. I adore how he takes care of Dara when she was in pain, or just needs a friend. He would do anything for her.
This story represents what I love so much about YA – love, loss, family, friendships, and so much more. It is beautifully written and one that will connect with many. This is moving to the the top of my book-talk list.