Monday, May 14, 2018

Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner - NO

Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner, 352 pages. Candlewick Press, 2016. $16.99. Language: R (43 swears, 112 “f”), Mature Content: R (nongraphic sex talk, homosexuality, underage drinking), Violence: G

When Otis’ 3-year-old brother died three years ago at his girlfriend’s house, her family moved across the country and he never heard from her again. Now she’s coming back for a summer visit and Otis doesn’t know what to think. After all this time, he’s never gotten over her. Meanwhile his best friend, Dara, has become his swim coach since her own Olympic dreams were dashed when she lost an arm. She suffers from a painful condition known as phantom limb. Otis has his own “phantom limbs” to contend with. He wonders if he will ever get over the pain of losing his brother and the girl of his dreams. If only Meg would open up about the past, maybe he could heal their relationship.

This is a book about first love; the devastation when it ends and the desperation to rekindle it. Any teen who has experienced the intensity of first love will relate. Unfortunately, very little happens in this book. Nearly all scenes occur at the pool, Dara’s parties, or the summer house. The entire book is about Otis trying desperately to understand Meg’s mixed signals. She’s confused. Otis is confused. Even Dara is confused. It’s 100% a character book. There is no action, adventure, twists, or even much of a plot.

Reviewer: Valerie McEnroe, Media Specialist

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