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

* I have received this book for review from the publisher but this in no way affects my review *

The Square Root of SummerTitle: The Square Root of Summer
Author: Harriet Reuter Hapgood
Source: From publisher
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Rating: 4.5/5 stars







Summary of The Square Root of Summer from Goodreads:

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.

The Square Root of Summer is an astounding and moving debut from Harriet Reuter Hapgood.

Book Review Summary:

After hearing all the positive reviews for this book, I was eager to read it and when I won a proof copy, I was really happy. When I did get to this book, I discovered that it is a well written YA novel that transcends time and space.

Plot: 

Gottie's life has been changed. Her grandfather has died and her best friend has come back after moving to Canada, it is fair to say that this was a summer she will not forget anytime soon. 
I really enjoyed the plot of this story, it was unique and time travel is not normally seen in contemporary fiction. Although I did like the time travel element in the story, I often felt like you did not know when it was happening which made it very confusing at times as I did just wonder what was going on. The time travel scenes, when done well, did add context to the story, especially the relationship with Grey and her best friend, Thomas. This also allowed the reader to see her distrust when it comes to their relationship due to things that happened previously. Except for the time travel elements, there was kind of no plot which is not really a bad thing, it often meant that the relationships between the characters moved the plot forward and made it more interesting. I liked this aspect of the story as it was very character driven. It can be seen in the building a time capsule of their lives to which Thomas refers to the room being a state of his life right now. This was something that made me think and to say that my room does represent who I am as a person. Overall, I really enjoyed the story element.  

Characters:

I really enjoyed the characters in this story. Although we don't see Grey as someone alive in the story, from memories I found him to be a likeable character and you could, therefore, understand some of Gottie's grief in the concept of the story. Gottie was also an incredibly likeable character throughout the story and I did find that you could understand her emotions and actions because of the past. This is one of the great things about the flashbacks as they really made Gottie's actions and feelings more relatable and made her a more rounded character. I, therefore, thought that the relationship between Gottie and Thomas was extremely well done and was quite developed over the course of the novel. I also liked the way that Gottie's heritage was explored in the book with some German being embedded into the story and this was nice because I was trying to learn the language at the time. I also really liked the fact that the cat's name was Umlaut and this made me quite happy when I first read it. 

Writing:

The Square Root of Summer is a well-written piece of YA fiction for the most part and it is very easy to get engrossed in the story. Hapgood also makes the physics in the story very accessible and easy to understand which was quite good because I was always really bad that the subject. It sometimes does overshadow the story however and at some points, I was trying to figure out what was going on in the story due to the fact that there was a time travel element. This was something that could have been a bit clear in the writing style so the reader could understand. For the most part, though, the writing style did not distract from my reading experience of the novel. 

The Verdict:

The Square Root of Summer is a deeply interesting and unique debut novel that mixes contemporary and physics in equal blends to make the perfect story. A must read.

Have you read The Square Root of Summer? Did you like it? Leave it in the comments below. 

See you soon, 

Amy
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