When picking up Harriet Reuter Hapgood’s ‘The Square Root of Summer’ there’s something so on point about both the cover art and the title of this book that just let’s you know that it’s going to be both cute and extraordinarily clever.
Spoiler alert: It’s both these things. In abundance. But it’s also so much more.
What we have in Gottie is a protagonist that is not only flawed, but beautifully so. And she’s just so uniquely imagined that she jumps off the page. From her quick, mathematically-orientated mind, to her German heritage, to her totally far-out Grandpa, she’s wonderfully individual.
Hapgood has also given us a strong set of secondary characters too. We challenge you not to fall in love with her brother, Ned. He fun in a bun (or maybe that should be “leotard”). And then there’s her grieving, bumbling, lovely dad. And her strained friendship with the stage-shy, beehive-sporting Sof. And Gottie’s Physics teacher. And Jason (ugh) of course. And Thomas. The list goes on! And they all create an intensely memorable cast.
Let’s not beat around the bush though. There’s some science to this book. Not only that, it’s quite difficult science to get your head around. At least, not everyone will understand it. But that’s ok. You don’t need to understand it; while Gottie muddles through the physics behind the possible time-travel, you can try and gather your feels.
Because there are feels galore in this book. Thomas, the best-friend boy from next door, suddenly comes back into her life, after how many years of ZERO communication? And on top of that, her beloved grandpa, Grey, has passed away, causing Gottie’s world to upend itself… And apparently create wormholes for her to briefly travel back in time through.
Is the time travel completely made-up in her grief stricken mind? Is it the product of a broken heart and a hurting soul? Possibly. Is it actually honest-to-goodness time travel? Possibly. That’s one of the beautiful things about this book. It could be interpreted as either. The ending, however, makes it lean towards the latter… But we still enjoy the open possibilities.
With some romance, some totally awkward moments, and one summer full of self-growth and vortex jumping, it’s a very intelligent book. Full of both light and shade, and guaranteed to pull on your heartstrings one way or another.
‘The Square Root of Summer’ is THE READ for the coming season, fo sho.
You can grab your copy right here. Already read it? Tweet us your thoughts @maximumpopbooks
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