BOOK REPORT for The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

Cover Story: Haunting Homework

BFF Charm: Maybe

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

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Talky Talk: Teetering on the Event Horizon

Bonus Factor: Dream Vacation

Relationship Status: In Need of Tutoring

Cover Story: Haunting Homework

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That poor girl. What did she ever do to math to deserve to be haunted by equations in such a manner?

The Deal:

Margot “Gottie” Oppenheimer hasn’t felt herself in nearly a year, since her grandfather Grey died at the end of last summer. And when she actually begins to lose time, she wonders if something inside her broke when he passed. And as hard as she tries to stay in the present, she can’t stop herself from slipping through wormholes into her past. Can she figure out what’s going on before she changes something irreparably?

BFF Charm: Maybe

Throughout The Square Root of Summer, there are glimpses of the fun girl Gottie used to be. But the fact that she’s literally losing time makes me worry about her, and I’m not trained, in either psychology or physics, to deal with such an unusual friendship. I wouldn’t even know where to start to try to help.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

One of the main causes of Gottie’s troubles stems from her childhood best friend, Thomas, moving back to their tiny town after five years of no contact. Another is her memories of the secret relationship she had with her brother’s friend the previous summer. I feel for Gottie’s confusion, and wish her much better relationships in the future.

Talky Talk: Teetering on the Event Horizon

The Square Root of Summer, is an entertaining look at grief and growing up. Harriet Reuter Hapgood’s writing, in general, is quite poetic, and her descriptions of people and events are unique and engaging. But the book can also be supremely confusing. Hapgood has interwoven actual math and physics theory into the novel, but I don’t know nearly enough about either to know if they’re presented correctly. Gottie’s jumps between present and past are the hardest parts to follow, although the fact that Hapgood included most of the past scenes in italics makes it a bit easier to tell what’s flashbacks and what’s present day.

Gottie’s friends and family also tend to lean toward the crazy size of the sanity spectrum (naturally, unlike Gottie’s experiences), but they’re all very interesting. I’d get fed up with their flighty nature pretty quickly if I were Gottie, but reading about them was a lot of fun.

Bonus Factor: Dream Vacation

Gottie and her family live in a tiny town on the English coast called Holksea. It doesn’t exist in real life, but Hapgood makes it sound like it would be an absolutely delightful place to visit.

Casting Call:

Talulah Riley as Gottie

Relationship Status: In Need of Tutoring

I got a little lost at times while you were telling me your story, Book, but for the most part I was intrigued. I’ve never been much good at physics, however, so maybe you could try to tell it to me again, in laymen’s terms?

The Square Root of Summer is available now.

Mandy lives in Austin, TX, where she's a technical writer by day and a pop culture junkie by night. When she's not ensconced in a book forForever Young Adult, Mandy can be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.