The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016
ARC provided by Netgalley and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
Angie’s Review – 2.5 Stars – C-
I’m going to start with what I liked best about this book, and that’s the cover. It’s the little details that can make or break whether or not someone picks up or clicks on a book to read the blurb, and the square root symbol on the cover of this one adds something eccentric and cute that would make me look twice. The premise of The Square Root of Summer had a lot of potential, but ultimately it fell short. With the exception of Gottie, who felt very plain aside from the wormholes, every character in this book was quirky in some way. I know we all have our quirks, but I felt that here, they were very exaggerated. And there were so many major people in this book that it just felt like a lot of character per character. At times, I felt like it overwhelmed the plot.
One of my pet peeves is when reviewer is told ‘they must not have gotten the book’ when they give it a low rating. That there’s no way this book could be one or two stars, because it’s so emotional/insightful/brilliant that it just has to be a five star read. Oddly enough, that’s exactly where I find myself with this one – I’m not sure I got this book. It’s clear that between the childhood loss of her mother, and then other losses she’s endured (Thomas and her grandfather,) Gottie is still reeling. What I don’t understand is the point of the wormholes. If the portion of the book in present day was exciting and the wormholes were an added element, I could have liked this story. But the fact remains, this book wasn’t that exciting, and I just didn’t get the point of the wormholes. All it was was Gottie revisiting her past, and memories could have accomplished the same thing. If she’d been trying to alter something, maybe I’d have seen the point, but she wasn’t, and I was just left confused. I think it’s because of this that the book couldn’t hold my interest, and I read it in short bits. There were some themes here that I feel could have been explored more to make it a more interesting read. For instance Gottie being taken advantage of by an older boy and again, the loss she was feeling. These are things a lot of young girls have to deal with, and a bigger focus on these could have been beneficial. Why did so much time pass before anyone bothered to tell Gottie the way she was retreating was unhealthy and that she was being selfish? And why wasn’t her father present for more of this? I would have liked to have seen some growth in him and own that fact that he, too, had deserted Gottie in his own way.
For all of these issues, there were some good parts to the story. I particularly enjoyed the friendship between Gottie and Thomas, and how it wasn’t as cut and dried as she saw it. That she had some culpability in the way things fell apart, as she made no attempt to contact him when he went away. Friendship is a two-way street, and Gottie seemed to have forgotten that. While The Square Root of Summer may have not been the satisfying read I was looking for, I don’t regret reading it. I really enjoy the way this author writes, and I would read more from her. If you’re looking for a quick read, you might give this a go. But don’t look for major depth here; I don’t feel like emotions were delved into enough to have accomplished that.
Thank you to MACMILLAN CHILDREN’S PUBLISHING GROUP and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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