The Square Root of Summer was beautiful but…CONFUSING. Which makes it very hard to review, ergo you should sit here in FULL ADMIRATION of my attempts right now. Thankyou.
It’s just that it was very extremely mathy. All wormholes and physics … and you know who basically failed maths in highschool? THAT WOULD BE ME. #awkward But on the other hand — IT HAD CAKE BAKING AND GERMAN CHARACTERS so I was doomed to enjoy most of it.
- The aesthetics were VERY pleasing. It was really visual and it swallowed me with all the sensory writing! I could see the old house and the untamed garden and apple trees and the lazy summery days. SUPER BEAUTIFUL, RIGHT?! I haven’t been sucked in to a story like this in a loooong time.
- GERMAN STUFF. It’s set in England, but the characters! are! German! AND THAT IS COOL TO ME. Lots of German food and phrases. (Also I wrote a German-influenced book this one time so #research)
- The characters were complex and SQUISHABLE. Aka — I liked them.
- MARGOT: (who goes by “Grottie”??? Um, I think she needs to rethink that life choice) who is super into MATHS. Which, while I doooon’t understand her in this — yay, go Margot and your math stuff! Plus she’s still kind of vague and dreamy…which I so adore.
- NED: who seemed like a bit of a loser (constantly drunk band member cliche??) but was kinda sweet.
- THOMAS: Margot’s childhood BFF who disappeared BUT IS NOW BACK. He bakes cakes. #aminlove Also he’s all nerdy and hispter and wears glasses.
- Also full disclosure: I love the name Thomas. It is my name-crush. (That’s a THING.) So Thomas and I were destined to get along.
- DID I MENTION THERE IS BAKING YET?!? It’s not like the entire story but it’s so well described I accidentally ate several chapters. Cakeeeeeeeee.
- Also there was a bookstore. I’m so much a fan of bookstores, obviously, so this spoke to my soul.
D I S L I K E S
- Um, so it was gargantuanly confusing. Like the ending totally LOST ME. You could threaten to throw me off Jupiter with no snacks and I would still not be able to explain the ending. And every time it dissolved into pages of wormhole, time-travel, and psychics explanations I just….OH LOOK. MY BRAIN IS EXPLODED AND SPLATTERED ON THE CARPET OVER YONDER.
- Despite liking the aesthetics of the summery sugary gardeny summer…it really wasn’t very exciting. I didn’t feel ANY sort of urgency to the story at all. I mean it was nice? Relaxing? But I didn’t feel invested and there were no high-stakes whatsoever.
- Also it heavily features a past-grandpa’s-death. Which is fine, of course, but I as the reader never knew the grandpa. So while I watched the family grieve, I didn’t feel anything for it much. He was just a name. But I am also a coldhearted melon. So there’s that.
- Sometimes the writing felt disjointed. Like I honestly stared at a few pages and just went “HUH”…and felt vaguely like I was being thrown off Jupiter again.
- MATH STUFF = CAIT CONFUSED. Did I mention that??? Eh, it bears repeating AGAIN. Plus the wormhole aspect honestly just seemed like a plot-device to give flashbacks. Which is fine. But why the drama around wormholes then? And they weren’t even URGENT or EXCITING backflashes, so they honestly were my least favourite part of the story. Couldn’t they have used the wormholes to go find SPOCK OR SOMETHING??? #priorities
I think it’s a summery and visually delicious story; but a little too confusingly executed. My non-mathed brain is still combusted, btw. Thanks for asking after it. And I still have NO idea about the ending.
But I do know I want cake made by Thomas and I also want to be German or live in an apple tree. Idek which. All of them, maybe. Right now.
THANK YOU TO PAN MACMILLAN FOR THE REVIEW COPY. The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood was published 26th April, 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.