Tuesday 17 May 2016

The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

My underwear is in the apple tree. 
I'm lying in the grass, staring up through the branches. It's late afternoon and the rest of the garden is lemonade sunshine, but under here it's cool and dark and insecty. When I tilt my head back, the whole garden is upside-down - and my laundry with it, festooned like the world's saddest bunting. 

Published by Macmillan Children's Books in May 2016
Pages - 322

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.
I had no idea before reading this book that it was about time travel. I'd convinced myself during the first few chapters, that Gottie was seriously ill or mentally unstable, but thankfully neither were the case. So in case you didn't know -
I love time travel novels. The Time Traveller's Wife has got to be one of my all time favourites. So I was pleasantly surprised to find Gottie travelling back into the previous summer when everything had seemed beautiful, warm and romantic. It was her coming of age summer. Such a contrast to the summer she is now experiencing. Gottie is grief stricken over the loss of her grandfather and the break down of her secret relationship. But with the reappearance of Thomas, her childhood friend, Gottie works through the issues that are holding her back from basically being human. 
I have to be honest, the physics elements totally lost me and they did slow down my reading a little as I tried to get my head round them. I'm still not sure I understand the wormholes, though I am wholeheartedly for them to exist in reality! Science isn't my thing, I just about scraped through my Biology GCSE, but I persevered, because I could see what a beautiful story this was blossoming into.  
At times you are unsure what's going on, but I felt that related a lot to the way Gottie's emotions were. Her grief was giving her bi-polar tendencies and you never knew how long you would be on an up with her, before she spoiled everything by crashing back down. 
I loved Grey. Even though he isn't alive in the book, his presence was strongly felt and as a reader, you missed him just as much as Gottie did. If this is ever made into a film, Billy Connolly has to take the part; it's like it was written for him. 
The growth in the friendship between Gottie and Thomas is utterly beautiful. Thomas was the medicine, Gottie desperately needed to help her heal.  
The ending is beautiful, full of summers long gone and playing outside till dusk and eating ice-cream till your stomach bursts. Alongside a cast of quirky, yet heartfelt characters, this book will definitely receive a lot of reader's love.
A truly stunning mix of physics and physical chemistry!

1 comment:

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