Review Detail4.3 1
Ten years ago Otis's little brother, Mason, died of an accident. Nine years ago, Meg and her family moved from their Chicago suburb to California. Eight years ago, Otis met Dara at the public pool. Two lives are torn apart while 2 more are crushed together, with Otis smack in the middle. With Meg gone, Otis latches onto the Olympic swimming regime that Dara, who lost an arm in an accident, relentlessly coaches him on. While Meg is still constantly on his mind, Otis tries his best - but not very hard - to stay involved with the rest of his peers. When Meg comes back to visit over the summer, Otis's carefully constructed post-Mason routine is turned upside down.
Otis, Dara, and Meg all make amazing personal journeys throughout the course of the novel. Being able to see Otis change during his interactions with Meg, watching Meg and learning about her issues, and seeing how strong Dara really is - these strong characters are what makes this novel great.
The novel's biggest weakness is its single protagonist. Both Meg and Dara are fascinating characters, but they could have been further developed by providing their point of view. I found that viewing them entirely from Otis's point of view, while interesting because he is such a flawed character, really weakened my connections to the girls.
The Verdict: A strong debut, PHANTOM LIMBS is a moving account of the struggles of three teens with grief, love, and change.