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Monday, 6 June 2016

Summer 2016 Review Train: The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

Hello everyone!

If ye all saw my previous post, I explained that I was part of the Summer 2016 Review Train hosted by Brittany from Space Between the Spines, to help start off the summer! 

Well, welcome to my stop on the train :) Before we get into this review, be sure to check out the previous stops:

Genni at Ready, Set, Read @ The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Lauren at Always Me Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs
Laura at Blue Eye Books @ The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
Sam at Tsundoku Books @ Even if the Sky Falls by Mia Garcia
The Blacksheep Project @ Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver 
Alicia at A Kernel of Nonsense @ The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Ashley at [Insert Title Here] @ Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Ashley at What's She Reading? will be reviewing Open Road Summer by Emery Lord tomorrow, and I can't wait to see her review! 

Also, be sure to call by Brittany's blog Space Between the Spines on June 8th for the final stop on the review train as well as a giveaway!



Book: The Square Root of Summer, Harriet Rooter Hapgood
Series: N/A
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Release Date: May 3rd, 2016

This is what it means to love someone. This is what it means to grieve someone. It's a little bit like a black hole. It's a little bit like infinity.

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.

With time travel, quantum physics, and sweeping romance, The Square Root of Summer is an exponentially enthralling story about love, loss, and trying to figure it all out, from stunning debut YA voice, Harriet Reuter Hapgood.

This book made me so, so confused. Which is making writing this review very difficult. Because this book was well written but so confusing! I can’t even tell if I liked it or not. It was just… so maths-y. Just physics and wormholes and equations and time jumps… And coming from someone who despised maths with a passion in school, it’s hard to enjoy a book that had that much maths in it.

So what’s the story? Seventeen-year-old Gottie has spent the entire school year living in a shroud of mourning. The end of the previous summer brought the death of her grandfather Grey, who practically raised her after her mother died. Jason, her first love, left for college shortly after the funeral without a word of goodbye, along with her brother. Alone with her grieving father, Gottie retreated inside herself, refusing to communicate with anyone. Now, with the start of another summer holiday, her brother and Jason are back, and the best friend who disappeared from her life five years ago has suddenly returned. That best friend, Thomas, and Gottie were inseparable when they were twelve but five years of non-contact means Gottie doesn’t know how to feel about his returning. And with the one year anniversary of her grandfather’s death approaching, and the reappearance of so many important people in her life, Gottie starts retreating into her mind, and physics, suddenly reliving important moments of her past.

Yet despite the amount of maths and wormholes and reliving the past, this book also had cakes, and tea, and fun, well-rounded characters. It’s set in England, which is always a nice aesthetic change from American settings, or fantasy settings. The characters are German and use German phrases and foods. Always a nice change! Our main characters are human, aka not perfect. They're selfish, and rude, and don’t always say the right thing. But that just made them that much more relatable. Gottie is only seventeen; she’s not supposed to have all of life’s answers, despite how great she is at maths. Her brother was in a band which is cool, her best friend Thomas bakes and because of this I fell in love instantly. And Gottie is falling out of a friendship with another girl, which is not something that happens a lot in YA, at least for me. The main character nearly always has a best friend that she can rely on, and seeing Gottie attempt to mend this friendship but know that that awkwardness will never really clear was quite refreshing.

Despite this, however, it was still quite confusing. All the maths made question marks appear constantly around my head! Hells, if you enjoy maths and understand it, then read this and explain it to me, because I certainly don’t get it. This book also featured dealing with grief, and I would’ve liked more scenes with the grandfather so we could get a better feel of his character and so I could grieve along with the characters.

All in all, this book is both good and bad, thus the 3.5 stars when I normally don’t do halves. I really liked the characters, and the way the author dealt with death was really well done. I just think if the maths element was better explained so I wasn’t as confused, it would’ve brought the rating up to a solid four.


  1. Great review! I had no idea that this book featured time travel, so that means I will definitely be picking it up. Not really a fan of math though... :)

    1. Thanks a lot :) I think time travel is stretching it a bit, to be honest, but like I said the maths and physics really confused me so maybe time travel is the correct term! If you're not a fan of maths, this will definitely confuse you :/

  2. I saw this one on NetGalley and came so close to requesting it. Sounds like all that math was meant to set the book apart, but may have just made the book harder to relate too. I agree, you don't see a protagonist struggle with maintaining friendship with the stock "loyal best friend", but that's a very realistic scenario when you're in high school. Sometimes people just grow apart. Enjoyed reading your review and I love your background image by the way!

    1. I think the author was brave to use maths to make her book stand out, as I definitely won't forget it because of the maths element, but it definitely took away some of the enjoyment, sadly. Thanks a lot! :) Also, I wish I could say this was my real bookshelf that's on my background image, haha! :D

  3. You poor thing. I'm about like you, math is NOT my cup of tea. If I had to choose, though, it would be something with plenty of shapes and graphs, like statistics. (I had to take a graduate level stats class in college. I was quite proud of that B, lol.) From the way you made it sound, it almost reminds me of An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. It uses math, but it doesn't use it to EXPLAIN what's happening in the book. I can understand why you'd get so frustrated. Maybe it should've come with a disclaimer. XD

    Aside from the math, it seems like the book had quite a bit good going for it, too. The setting would be refreshing to me, too, as I almost always read books set in America. (But well, I'm American, so... XD) Like you, I think it would have been a nice touch to add a scene or two with Grey, to show how special his and Gottie's relationship really was. Given that there were time jumps, it seems like this would've easily been doable. Perhaps even a prime missed opportunity.

    Overall, though, I'm glad you liked the book, save the few flaws. Your review was lovely! And thanks so much for being a part of the Review Train - it's meant so much to me! <333


    1. An Abundance of Katherine's is the perfect example for the type of book this is! Yes, I agree, I think there were a few missed opportunities in this book, but I think it was the author's debut book so I'll forgive her for it being a work in progress. Besides the maths aspect is really was quite an entertaining book :)

      I loved being a part of the review train, thanks for letting me join! It was so much fun. If you're ever doing something similar in the future be sure to count me in, and if I'm doing something similar I'll be sure to let you know! :)

  4. This sounds so interesting! I'm not really a math person, but I am a little curious about it? Probably because I'm not good at it. XD But this story does sound really interesting, especially about Gottie trying to mend a friendship. Usually characters make friends or strength friendships, but not mend them. It's a different scenario and all the characters sound good. Awesome review!

    1. Thanks so much! Yeah I know, there are so many sterotypical YA tropes in books these days that mending a friendship was such a nice change to read about, haha. Well if you're not that into math, be warned that the book can get quite confusing at times and it'll be hard to understand the physics behind the time jumps. I hope you'll enjoy it though!

  5. I've seen some mixed reviews for this one, but I get more and more interested after each one. Great review!

    1. Thanks a lot! I could definitely give you better recommendations for contemporary reads if that's what you're looking for :)


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