Thursday 21 April 2016

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Review: The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter HapgoodThe Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood (proof) - My heart is a kaleidoscope, and when we kiss it makes my world unravel...

Last summer, Gottie’s life fell apart. Her beloved grandfather Grey died and Jason left her – the boy to whom she lost her virginity (and her heart) – and he wouldn’t even hold her hand at the funeral! This summer, still reeling from twin heartbreaks, Gottie is lost and alone and burying herself in equations. Until, after five years absence, Thomas comes home: former boy next door. Former best friend. Former everything. And as life turns upside down again she starts to experience strange blips in time – back to last summer, back to what she should have seen then...

During one long, hazy summer, Gottie navigates grief, world-stopping kisses and rips in the space-time continuum, as she tries to reconcile her first heartbreak with her last.
From Goodreads.

I wasn't really sure what to expect when I picked up The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood, but a contemporary sci-fi romance full of wormholes and accidental time travel most definitely wasn't it! This is a fantastic book, such a unique idea, and I absolutely loved it!

It's almost a year since the death of Grey, Gottie's grandfather, and Gottie is still grieving. And the boy she fell in love with dropped her without warning, leaving her to deal with Grey's death on her own. She's lost and alone in her grief, barely participating in the world. The only thing that keeps her going are the numbers that make sense to her; equations and physics. But then Thomas, the best friend who used to live next door, comes back into her life, and the remembered heartbreak and sudden return of Thomas adds further unhappiness to her life. He left her, and never wrote, and now he wants to be friends? Isn't Gottie dealing with enough, without Thomas' reappearance? But then things start going strange, when time jumps and she's taken back to last summer, only to return hours later. Gottie needs to find out what's going on, why wormholes are turning up wherever she goes, and why they keep taking her back to a summer before her world crashed, before she does something in the past she can't undo.

Oh my god, this book is incredible! The sci-fi wormhole parts of the book. Wow. They are so clever! By the end of the book, I think I just about understood what was happening, what Gottie's theories actually meant, once Gottie managed to figure out what was going on. But some of the time, it went over my head a little. The book is full of wormholes and physics and theories on time! That wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff is quite complicated, and Reuter Hapgood has made it as accessible as possible, but the problem is my difficulty to get my head around this kind of thing in general. It's only because I watch Doctor Who and have seen a few Brian Cox programmes that I was able to get the gist of what was happening most of the time, but do not ask me to explain any of it to you, because I'm simply unable to. Some parts of it, some of Gottie's theories, were harder to get my head round than others, and I was completely lost, but over all, it was awesome trying to get my head round what was happening, but also trying to figure out why, and what Gottie was supposed to do. I found this element so awesome and exciting, and wonderful! I absolutely loved it!

One of my favourite parts of The Square Root of Summer was Gottie's relationship with her Grey. Gottie is full of grief over the death of Grey, and even almost a year since his death, she's still carrying that heavy grief with her. Not only is she finding it hard to live without this man who helped bring her up, but she's also suffering from guilt over something she did the day he died. Grey was a fantastic character in general, and it's such a shame he was dead, because I would have loved to have seen more of him. The glimpses we saw in flashbacks and through the wormholes weren't enough, but yet had me falling in love with this eccentric hippie who called his granddaughter "dude". He was such a great character, and Gottie's love for him and pain over his death are palpable.

The romance didn't work as well for me as I would have liked. There seems to be more focus for Gottie on the wormholes than her present day friendship/possibly-something-more with Thomas, and so I had difficulty feeling it. I didn't feel we really got to know Thomas all that well. All I really know about him was he loves to bake and wanted his own bakery one day. Gottie talks a lot about how he's different from the boy she knew, but I don't feel I really got to know either version of the boy that well. I wasn't really that emotionally invested, so I wasn't too bothered by what the outcome might be.

But that's ok, because the rest of the book was just so brilliant! It's such a fantastic, unique story that had me completely gripped! I'm sure fans of Doctor Who and The Big Bang Theory will love this story full of grief, romance, science and time travel!

Thank you to Macmillan Children's Books for the proof.

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Published: 5th May 2016
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Harriet Reuter Hapgood's Website


  1. Omg, it's got sci-fi elements?!?! I'M A LITTLE WORRIED NOW. XD 😂 I'm really not good with sci-fi, but I got this one for review and I thought it looked like a nice summery read. hehe. But this is good! Now I know what to expect so I won't be thrown. ;D
    I'm glad you really enjoyed this one!

    1. I know you've read and reviewed this now - I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this one as much as you'd hoped! :(