Tuesday 17 May 2016

REVIEW: The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Genre: Sci-Fi, Romance 
Release Date: May 5th 2016
Buy The Book: Book Depository

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.

My Thoughts: 
Well this story was wild from start to finish. An incredible mixture of time-travel and breath-taking romance, The Square Root of Summer is a unique and interesting mash up of Sci-fi and contemporary. This book follows seventeen-year-old Gottie in the summer after her grandfather’s death. Grey was an important part of her life and her connection to her mother who died just after Gottie’s birth. Whilst still coming to terms with life after Grey, her ex-secret-boyfriend (and also her brother’s best friend) Jason returns for the summer, and so does her childhood best friend Thomas. With her emotions running high, Gottie finds herself faced with wormholes that suck her back through time to witness again the memories of last summer. 

So our main characters here are Gottie and Thomas, and they were both adorable. Despite her intelligence, I still found Gottie to be a little na├»ve at times, but it made her character all the more endearing. Seeing the friendship between her and Thomas reform after their years apart was cute and filled with those special moments that can only be shared by two friends as close as they are. Gottie learning to move on from Jason was also as important part of the story and it was developed well. 

The other characters in this book, oh my gosh I love them so much. NED AND SOF. I WANT TO BE THEIR FRIEND SO BAD. I adored Ned and his glittering rock star ways, and Sof in all her feminist glory and Judy Blume references. The friendship between Sof and Gottie was an important one because it highlighted how much friendships can change at that age, and I loved how Gottie accepted that they might not remain friends forever, but they’re there for each other right now, and that’s what matters. Ned is Gottie’s brother and although we don’t get many scenes simply between the two of them, they do have their touching moments. Also, Ned provides some truly hilarious scenes (particularly when he’s vomiting in bushes after a night out). 

Grief and heartbreak is a strong theme throughout this book, and one of the main reasons why Gottie believes that time is fraying around her. Grey is a character we never actually get to meet whilst he’s alive, but we do get to know him and why he was so loved through the wormhole flashbacks, and through notes in his diary. The scenes in which Gottie learns things about her grandfather that she never knew towards the end of the story were heartbreaking, but also beautiful to see how Grey had cared so much for the happiness and contentment of his family. 

Honestly, I didn’t quite know what to expect when starting this novel, but it truly delivered a little bit of everything I look for in a story. There were a few moments when the wormhole situation could get a little confusing, but it was always explained well in the end, and I adored the little diagrams dotted throughout the book. With a cleverly intriguing plot and a bunch of fun characters, this is a strong debut from Harriet Reuter Hapgood, and I’m definitely excited for what she has in store next. 

In case you missed it, there was a #ThisIsWhoIAm campaign running on Twitter to celebrate the release of the book, and I wrote up a post on what I'd include in a time capsule, which you can read here! And whilst I'm in the spirit of declaring #ThisIsWhoIAm, here are the five things that represent me the most right now:

Royal Rating:



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