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The Phatom Limb: 09/27/12

cover art

The Phatom Limb by by William Sleator and Ann Monticone is about a boy trying to adjust to a new life brought on by his mother's prolonged illness and the move to a new school, where he is the target of a bully.

Isaac lives with his grandfather while his mother is at the nearby hospital. To take away some of the sting of being the odd man out at the new school, Isaac has started collecting optical illusions. His newest acquisition is a mirror box, a device designed to help amputees deal with phantom limb syndrome.

Although Isaac should be able to control the reflected limb in the box, the limb appears to have a mind of its own. Soon Isaac realizes that the mirror limb belongs to someone else and the box is their way of communicating! The boy in the mirror box knows things about Vera's illness — things that could be a matter of life or death!

The events in The Phantom Limb require a similar amount of suspended disbelief as the old Goosebumps series. There are leaps in logic and some pacing issues, especially in the last third.

This collaboration is the last of Sleator's novels. He passed away in August 2011, three months before the book's release. Some of the book's feeling of incompleteness might stem from his death. The Phantom Limb has a unique premise but it just doesn't quite come together.

Read via NetGalley

Three stars

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