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. Read more...
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 protege 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.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-07-18
- Reviewer: Staff
While 16-year-old Otis Mueller’s teammate and self-proclaimed swim coach, Dara, wants to see him qualify for the Olympics, Otis is more interested in reconnecting with his first love, Meg, whom he hasn’t seen in three years. Meg’s parents’ separation lands her back in Illinois, the scene of the accidental death of Otis’s younger brother, Mason, an incident Meg cannot overcome and Otis’s mother cannot forgive. Despite the mutual attraction between Otis and Meg, her PTSD and boyfriend keep the two in friend territory. When Dara—missing a partial limb after a shark attack, suffering from phantom limb pain, and uncertain about her sexuality—begins to act self-destructively, Otis has to decide who is most important to him, Meg or Dara. Garner’s debut sensitively portrays Meg and Otis’s bruised emotions, both recovering from deep loss. Though the description of Mason’s accident is a gut-punch in its realism, much of the plot unfolds predictably. The novel’s strongest moments go to Dara, whose no-holds-barred personality—“she was the human equivalent of a Venus flytrap”—livens and complicates the novel. Ages 14–up. Agent: Molly Jaffa, Folio Literary Management. (Sept.)