Tuesday 3 May 2016

Review: The Square Root of Summer - Harriet Reuter Hapgood

My heart is a kaleidoscope, and when we kiss it makes my world unravel . . .

Last summer, Gottie's life fell apart. Her beloved grandfather Grey died and Jason left her - the boy to whom she lost her virginity (and her heart) - and he 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.

The Square Root of Summer is an astounding and moving debut from Harriet Reuter Hapgood.

Visit Harriet Reuter Hapgood's website for more information

The Square Root of Summer is a fabulous debut from Harriet Reuter Hapgood, it's a story about first love, friendships, family, grief and heartbreak and how a death in the family can have such an incredibly huge impact on every aspect of your life.

Last summer Gottie's life was pretty perfect, she was falling in love for the first time, her family was all together and she had a great set of friends but it all fell apart when her grandfather died. With the rock of the family gone her grandfather's death left Gottie, her father and her brother all devastated and while they were struggling to deal with their own grief they lost their connection to each other. If that wasn't bad enough the boy she was in love with walked out of her life at the same time and Gottie was left completely adrift. Now, a year on, Gottie is still struggling to cope, she misses her grandfather but she also misses her friends and what's left of her family because she's been so busy just trying to get through each day that she's pushed everyone away.

This story is beautiful, I loved the way it looks at grief and how it really shows the effect that it had on the entire family. Gottie's grandfather Grey is a huge part of the story even though he's no longer with them and I loved the words of wisdom that Gottie would remember every time she thought of him. I also really enjoyed the relationship Gottie had with her brother, even though he's slightly older than her they've always been close and him leaving to start university just made everything that much harder for Gottie to deal with. All of the friendships and relationships in this book just felt so real, Grey's death didn't just effect their family but had a wider impact because he was such a focal point for everyone he came into contact with. Gottie's best friend Sof has tried so hard to be a good friend but she was upset too and she's tired of being pushed away and ignored, it was heartbreaking to see how far apart the girls were but I loved seeing them rebuild their friendship.

Most of the story has a very contemporary coming of age feel to it but Gottie is a bit of a science geek and she sees the world in terms of numbers and physics equations which I really loved about her. Throughout the story we see regular flashbacks where Gottie feels like she keeps being pulled into wormholes and sucked back in time to the previous summer. It's up to the reader to decide whether she really has found a way to time travel or whether it's her way of coping with the memories that she is so desperately trying to avoid. I loved the ambiguity of it and the way Gottie tries so hard to explain what is happening to her in scientific terms when in reality it's just her brain's way of trying to process everything that happened.

I feel like I could rave on about this book for ages but I don't want to give away the entire plot so I'll stop here. I will say if you're looking for a quintessentially British story set in a sleepy Norfolk village in the height of summer then The Square Root of Summer is perfect. It's a heart warming and funny story about coping with death and finding a way to move forward and I loved every minute of it.

Source: Received from Macmillan in exchange for an honest review

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