by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
Age Range: 12 - 18 years
Grade Level: 8 - 12
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (May 3, 2016)
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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."Fractals, I write down. The infinite, self-replicating patterns in nature. The big picture, the whole story, is just thousands of tiny stories, like a kaleidoscope."
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.
The mathematical equations, hearts battered from loss and loneliness, teenage love and friendship; The Square Root of Summer follows the story of Gottie after her Grandfather’s death and the return of a certain boy, and black holes. While this book is intensely beautiful in the beginning and in the end, I found myself struggling to keep going with the book during the middle. I liked the middle pages fine, but I felt no attachment or burning desire to keep with the book as an un-put-down-able.
The book has these gorgeous illustrations in it. It made me want to like science and math more. I mean, I still don’t. But it’s the thought that counts, yeah? This book is intensely math-y. In a good way. It tied well with how Gottie was confused about everything: life, and death, and everything in-between. Her trying to figure out black holes in all their glory is parallel to her life, and her rampant falling into the said black holes only builds on that. As much as I really liked all of that stuff, I just was so bored (and frustrated) with how she handled life and her friends. Also the fact that some of her friendships and relationships weren’t super explained had me searching for an explanation.
(there was not an explanation to be found)
Due to the whole lack of character development issue / me not really liking anybody but highlighting more than necessary because WORDS—let’s just say I found myself befuddled. To say the least, that is. I really wanted to like Gottie, but I was just confused. I get the plot was meant to be that way, and in the beginning I thought it was intriguing. As the book progressed, however, I became disinterested. I think this could have been remedied if I just liked them all a bit better. Honestly, I liked her dead grandfather best, next to her father. I felt like I knew them better that the more dominate characters in the book. Which is weird because they’re hardly in the actual plot.
While I wanted to love the odd mixture of the real life feels about the death of a loved one and emergence of an old friend, along with the memory gaps / falling into black holes, I just wasn’t feeling it. There were parts of the book that just didn’t really work, and had no explanation. This kind of ruined the book for me. Overall I liked it, but the small instances of bad stuck with more than the good instances.