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Paula Garner’s debut YA novel, PHANTOM LIMBS, which Candlewick will publish in September 2016 as their lead YA title has just received a starred review from School Library Journal:
GARNER, Paula. Phantom Limbs. 368p. ebook available. Candlewick. Sept. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763682057.
Gr 8 Up–This debut novel is a story of loss, love, and friendship, about a teenager coming to terms with the past and dealing with repressed memories that are resurfacing. Otis Mueller, 16, an introverted swimmer at Willow Grove High School, is thrown for a loop when Meg, his all but forgotten first love and former next-door neighbor, sends him a message telling him that she is returning to his life for three weeks over the summer. When she left suddenly three years before, he was brokenhearted and unable to cope with the recent death of his little brother. Spending his time swimming for fun, Otis comes under the wing of Dara, a troubled 18-year-old with an amputation who wants to help Otis make it to the Olympics. Otis must unite his past and present and rank his priorities: regaining Meg’s love despite her longtime boyfriend, helping Dara through her phantom limb pains, staying committed to the sport he has grown to love, and fully understanding the death of his younger brother. Readers will find Otis relatable and endearing in his first-person perspective of first love and heartbreak, as well as his unwavering loyalty to his friends. Meg and Dara round out a cast of well-developed characters who have extensive troubles of their own. VERDICT Most teenagers will find a little bit of themselves in this well-executed work; a must-have for most YA collections.–Starred review, School Library Journal
“I am overcome with love for this book. Sophisticated, moving, and completely beautiful. Paula Garner has a forever fan in me.”—Emily Henry, author of The Love That Split the World
“PHANTOM LIMBS is aptly named, because when you're finished, you'll feel its absence like something that was part of you, attached to your heart, but now is gone. A lyrical ode to yearning and love, a book for anyone who's ever felt the lack of someone like they've lost a part of themselves.”
—Jeff Zentner, author of The Serpent King
“Powerful, affecting and beautifully written, this haunting story of love and loss will linger long after you've turned the final page.”—Kerry Kletter, author of The First Time She Drowned
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 spends most of her time making narratives, despite being surrounded by an alarming TBR pile and a very bad cat. Her debut YA novel, Phantom Limbs, comes out from Candlewick in 2016. Paula is represented by Molly Jaffa of Folio Lit, and lives in the Chicago area with her family. www.paulagarner.com
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