Disclaimer: I received a free Kindle copy of this book from the publisher on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. Literally. When the fabric of the universe around her seaside town begins to fray, she’s 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 best friend Thomas moved away and left her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory.
Although Grey is still gone, Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie’s past, present, and future are about to collide—and someone’s heart is about to be broken.
The Square Root of Summer is an intriguing novel, in which math nerd heroine Gottie takes the reader on a whirlwind journey through first love, loss, heartbreak and obviously, the space time continuum. Not in a metaphorical sense either: this protagonist literally moves through time and space.
Gottie has had a bad year. The death of her Grandfather, Grey, and the loss of her first love have left her tumbling through wormholes as she tries to come to terms with who she is now they’re gone. As she battles inconvenient patches of dark matter like a sci-fi Alice in Wonderland, events of the past come to light and a new love story in the present begins to bloom.
The writing is sun dappled and gorgeous. Witty, lyrical and beautifully quotable in places, it’s everything I look for in a summer read. Reuter-Hapgood has a talent for description, and I love the way she creates a sense of small town summer that is both idyllic and suffocating. The characters are full of life and I didn’t feel like I’d read about them in another novel, with Grey being a particularly charming invention. Gottie herself is a whip-smart protagonist, and her relatable narration sucks you straight into the plot and doesn’t let you go. I’d happily spend a few more weeks traversing the galaxy with her.
A young adult romance novel with a time travel twist might seem a curious mix and it is. The science is complex, and although I probably learnt more than I ever did at school, the concept of dark matter will remain forever a mystery to me. I don’t mind though, because this book isn’t about physics at all. Let the equations go and you’ll find they’re just a complimentary side note in a book that is really about family, love and how we learn to live with the things that hurt us.
A touching, whimsical debut that more than deserves its place on any summer reading list.
- Author: Harriet Reuter Hapgood
- Release Date: May 2016
- Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
- Pages: 304
- Rating: 4/5
- In three words: Stars, summer, Sci-Fi.