ARC Review: The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood10:00
Author: Harriet Reuter Hapgood
Published May 5th 2016 by Macmillan Children's Books
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.
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. This in no way impacted on my view.
In The Square Root of Summer Gottie deals with the loss of her grandfather, Grey, and the heartbreak after her first boyfriend, and love, abandons her at the same time. A year later, she is coming to terms with her loss, and is noticing strange things happening every now and then. She is having mini episodes where she sees the past as if it is the present, and when she comes to, it’s as if nothing has happened. She begins to investigate the instances, and uses her knowledge of maths and science to work out if it is being caused by some sort of rip in the space-time continuum. The episodes become more frequent when her old friend Thomas returns from Canada, and she thinks that everything has some connection to their last meeting, and the time capsule they buried in the backyard. As Thomas and Gottie get closer, she begins to realise that the flashback might just be not so bad, and could finally give her the closure she needs to move forward.
This book was a little strange, but I also enjoyed it. It's very maths-y, with a lot of science, and though I have a maths A Level, I couldn't really get my head around everything. That was alright though, as you didn't really need to understand it all, to get the book. The technical bits where explained as much as they could be, in layman's terms, so you got the gist of what Gottie was talking about, even if it did fly straight over your head. I felt like the flashbacks into Gottie's relationships with Grey, and with Jason, the ex, really helped to tell the story, without it all seeming info-dumpy, and just thrust at you - it was more of a gradual learning experience for the reader.
Gottie's relationship with Jason I didn't like, but I think that's what I was supposed to feel. He never really redeemed himself for wanting to act like nothing ever happened, and even when it was revealed they had had a relationship, he still tried to act like nothing happened. Her relationship with Thomas, on the other hand, was much better. It was cute and fluffy, but also angsty at times, as they were both hiding something from each other. Seeing, through Gottie's flashbacks, how they were as children, and how they were now, after all this time apart, made the relationship seem real and true.
The family aspect of the book was done really well, especially when dealing with the loss of a loved one. I lost my grandfather five years ago, but when reading this it sort of felt like I back there, reliving it all over again. The grief that Gottie was feeling was tangible, and really it was sort of cathartic - though it brought back the pain of losing my grandpa, it also helped me to reminisce over the 16 years of memories I have.
The Square Root of Summer was a wonderful debut. The amount of research that must have gone into this book is unreal, and the writing style was fantastic to read. The fact that Harriet is a graduate of Newcastle Uni, which I will be in a few month (scary!), is just a plus :P. I'd definitely recommend you pick this up.