The Square Root of Summer

Harriet Reuter Hapgood

The Square Root of Summer
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The Square Root of Summer

Harriet Reuter Hapgood

Last summer, Gottie’s life fell apart. Her beloved grandfather Grey died and Jason, the boy to whom she lost her heart wouldn’t even hold her hand at the funeral. This summer, still reeling from twin heartbreaks, Gottie is lost and alone and burying herself in equations. Until, after five years absence, Thomas comes home: former boy next door. Former best friend. Former everything. And as life turns upside down again she starts to experience strange blips in time - back to last summer, back to what she should have seen then …

During one long, hazy summer, Gottie navigates grief, world-stopping kisses and rips in the space-time continuum, as she tries to reconcile her first heartbreak with her last.


Ah, time travel. It confuses me so much! Worm holes, black holes, white holes – you name it, I won’t understand it. So it probably won’t come as a surprise to you when I say that I didn’t completely understand what was happening in this book! But it did get me interested in researching these theories.

Gottie’s grandfather – Grey, whom she adored – died a year ago, just at the same time as a boy was breaking her heart. As the year passed, Gottie stumbled along, trying to relieve her grief and loss, when all of a sudden her best friend from childhood (who also left her suddenly) comes to live with them. It is around this time that Gottie starts to experience time shifts: worm holes that take her back to last summer. But why now? And how can she explain to herself, or the world, that time travel does exist? As Gottie throws herself into the equations to prove her theory, life around her keeps going and Gottie can’t keep up.

As I said, I’m not sure I completely understood the whole time travel thing, and probably one of the qualms I have with this novel is that I didn’t feel it was properly explained to mathematically challenged readers like me until after page 200. However, I found it quite compelling and a different take on YA fiction. If you’re scientifically inclined and you read this and understand the time travel, come and explain it to me! Great for ages 13 and up.

Katherine Dretzke is a bookseller at Readings Hawthorn.

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