Saturday, January 14, 2017
Phantom Limbs, by Paula Garner
To this potential triangle, throw in some complicated emotional ties between Meg and Otis's mother, Dara's relationship with a girlfriend, and the competing loyalties that Otis feels for Dara, Meg, and another girl on his swim team, and you have one very very messy web of relationships. The final result is full of pathos and quite touching, but it is still a dizzying array of plot lines to sort through. I liked it and suspect that many readers will, but I do generally prefer simpler and more-focused stories.
Garner's strength in character-building is crucial here, but she also tells a good story. I never grew bored here (probably that complex storyline helped the pace stay fast!) but moreover, the story was smart. It felt genuine and authentic, and didn't waste my time with stupid stuff. But it's definitely a story for older readers -- the sexual references are pretty explicit and frequent, and the themes are quite mature.