Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner

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Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner is a Young Adult Fiction novel that focuses on how one tragedy can affect each person differently. Did he still love she held a connection to something he loses or did he love her for her? This is the question Otis must answer himself.

We follow the story, Otis, and Meg. Meg moved away when she was thirteen after the death of Otis’s little brother. Meg returned to town three and a half years later. She is not the same girl she was three years earlier, and Otis isn’t the same boy. During their separation, Meg never contacted Otis. Otis never gave up hope and knew that once Meg returned, then they could be together. Otis decided to take up swimming during Meg’s absence, and this is where Dara comes into play. Dara is a spunky, dramatic, charismatic amputee who is not only Otis’s best friend but his swim coach. Since her accident years earlier, Dara has never been the same and wants Otis to fulfill her dream of going to the Olympics. When Meg arrives, there is tension in the group between Meg and Dara. In the end, secrets are shared, the truth surfaces as to why Meg left, and decisions are made. Otis has to choose between his best friend or his first love. I left out a few details that can only be found in the book.

Overall, this book was a quality read. It is a romance novel that discusses grief and relationships. It is hard to lose someone and even harder to carry the burden of their loss on your shoulders. It is not okay to hold on to the living for fear of losing a connection with the dead. Otis has to decide when he is officially ready to move on from his little brother’s death. In the process, he gains a better understanding of the heartache his mom faces daily and the pain of losing more than a sibling. I think if my first love moved away and did not talk to me for three years, I would not have pined her. I am glad he met Dara. I am pleased that he could be there for Dara and Dara could be there for him. This story helps you realize the importance of friendship. I would recommend this book to a teen interested in romance and moving on.

I rate this book a 4.5 out of 5. I felt as though it should have been a bit longer and the ending could have been better. It was terrible how Otis’s little brother died, but I expected something different. I also like plot twist and did feel like there was a plot twist in this book. There were a few instances where there should have been a twist, but then there wasn’t.