Review: ‘The Square Root of Summer’ by Harriet Reuter Hapgood #2016SRC

The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter HapgoodI am still at a complete loss as to how to describe this book. I wouldn’t say that the premise is new, or the situations, or even the characters: it is the storytelling itself that felt new.

Gottie Oppenheimer is the second-born in a quirky family. Her father is a German dreamer who seems to flit into and out of the story, believing that the less interference in his children’s lives the better. Ned, the spiritual son of Freddie Mercury, is her older brother, the product of a love between his father and mother while they were in their late teens.

The true mother/father figure in the lives of Gottie and Ned is their mother’s father, Grey, who came to live with the family when their mother died after Gottie was born. He is pretty unconventional himself, but he is the glue that holds them all together. And when Grey dies, they are devastated.

Then Papa tells them that Thomas, their former next-door neighbor, is coming to stay with them for a bit as Thomas waits for his mother to move them back from Canada. He was Gottie’s best friend who left abruptly when they were children, and she it not sure how she feels about his return. After all, he never stayed in contact with her and they are no longer kids. Will they be able to have the same wonderful relationship that they once did?

While these facts are certainly all important, they are at once both the focus and the background of this story. While the book is about loss and love, there’s also a lot of math, science and talk of black holes and wormholes. Is time linear? What if you could relive those parts of your life that you didn’t realize were important until later? Should you change anything? Would you?

The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood was published May 3, 2016 by Roaring Brook Press. This book was provided to me by my local library, using only a special card with a barcode on it.

Rating: 4

Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Romance Fantasy
Ages: 13 and up

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