The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

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.