Book Review: The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

Thursday, May 5, 2016
I love reading. Books are amazing. They are a form of escapism, yes, but they are also inspiration, joy, and... well. Goodness. I think in some ways I have used my appetite for reading to define parts of my personality, so it made sense for me to review some of what I read! Here we go...

Title: The Square Root of Summer
Author: Harriet Reuter Hapgood
Publication Date: May 5th 2016 from Macmillan Children's Books

Synopsis: "Gottie H. Oppenheimer is seventeen, motherless, a math genius, and she's losing time. Literally.

When the fabric of the universe surrounding Gottie's sleepy seaside town begins to fray, she is hurtled through wormholes to her past:
To last summer, when her grandfather Grey died.
To the afternoon she fell in love with Jason, who wouldn't even hold her hand at the funeral.
To the day her childhood best friend Thomas moved to Canada, leaving her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory.

Although Grey is still gone, this summer Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie's past, present, and future are about to collide - and be changed forever.

With a time travel twist, quantum physics, and world-stopping kisses, this stunning YA contemporary debut is exponentially enthralling story about love, loss, and figuring it all out."

My thoughts: This was so different from the YA I have read previously - it actually made me interested in physics! That, to me, is quite impressive.

Gottie is quite a lovely character, but I found myself more interested in Thomas - her best friend from childhood - because he seemed more straightforward about his feelings and his likes and dislikes. Gottie is lost in grief over her grandfather, over Jason, over everything. She does seem incredibly intelligent, though, and I loved that her name seemed so super physics-related.

The subject of wormholes comes up quite frequently, and at first (because I couldn't remember the blurb for a while) I wondered if maybe Gottie was having dissociative phases, and eventually I just kind of went with it because this is what made sense for Gottie. 

Honestly, though, I did find myself a bit lost at times. It was interesting seeing Gottie trying to make sense of what was happening, and why, but occasionally it felt like she was completely distancing herself from everything, which makes it hard as a reader to understand what was actually going on. I recognised her necessity for doing that - I don't think anyone can lose hours without starting to feel like they have to shut themselves off from everything - but it felt like a fairly superficial exploration of events that sometimes I felt distanced, too.

I did, however, love the other characters - Gottie's father with his German accent and slightly off English, Gottie's brother Ned who always seems to be dressed in lycra, and her friend Sof who doesn't want to stand out but can't stop her love of sequins and beehive hair-dos. And, of course, Gottie's hippy grandad, Grey, who appears in snapshots of Gottie's memory.

I may be a little bit undecided about the plot and Gottie herself, but I still ripped through this in about two days, and I enjoyed it overall. I am interested to see if Hapgood will be bringing out anymore books.

I received a review copy of this book from Macmillan. Thank you!

A favourite line from the book: "The rain is horizontal, not tourist-browsing weather or even determined-to-buy-an-obscure-first-edition weather. When I peer outside, the whole world is bruised. Across the Fens, the sea shows up in frosted waves. It's 11am, but it looks like midnight - all the lamps are on inside. Tucked inside the heart of the bookshop, light in the darkness, it's like being on a spaceship."

You would like this book if: you feel like YA, but something a little different; you want to experience a super-simplified reading of wormholes!

Tea to drink while reading this book: There is an apple tree that appears a few times in this book, so I'm going to go with something apple-y. Turkish Apple Chunky from T2 perhaps?

Rating: 7/10

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