27 July 2016

Review #495: The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

“Yes, and imagine a world where there were no hypothetical situations.”

----Jasper Fforde

Harriet Reuter Hapgood, an English author, pens a heart-touching yet an analytical debut young adult book, The Square Root of Summer that revolves around a teenage girl who has gone through a lot of grief in her life and right when she is suffering from the heart break of last summer, her long time ago ex-friend cum ex-neighbor lands up in her life, with more love life drama, that forces this young lady to jump from one timeline of her past to another to make a connection and revelation of her definition about life and complicated relationships.


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.

On the summer holidays, Gottie, a German 17 year old teenager who is a mathematics and physics freak, comes face to face with her ex-friend-cum-ex-neighbor, Thomas, who has arrived with his mother in her house following a divorce. Although Gottie is yet to recover from the heart break as well as sorrow over losing her first love and her dearest grandfather from last summer. Gottie is trying to deal with her life long grief over losing her mother at a tender age to losing her boyfriend (s) to losing her grandpa, by equating with laws of physics and mathematics to deviate a possible way to time travel to the days when she lost her old friend and her mother and her grandfather.

I was hoping to DNF the book, anyhow, yet I managed to read it somehow. Gosh, I went through a twisted roller coaster ride of physics and maths laws' mumbo-jumbo, which are a) not at all logically denoted into the story line, except it's basic definition jotted down straight from a physics book, b) the indications are usage of those laws are way too much that mars the charm of the basic story line running in the background. Even the book fails from the intellectual POV, everything almost goes over the head, the events and scenes jumps randomly without any justification, thereby leaving a tendency to make the readers feel lost and clueless.

The author's writing style is good, but it could have been more structured. The narrative is completely boring in strong, bold and capital letters, moreover, it isn't free-flowing or smooth, thereby making the readers feel lose interest from the dialogues. Although the dialogues are often inspired from German dialect along with its proper translation, so that's the part, where the dialogues don't disappoint the readers. The pacing is very much slow, more like, the story moves at a snail's pace, as the story line jumps time line often and without any prior warning.

The book falls in the contemporary romance genre, but honestly speaking, there was no romance at all. The book also lacks from emotions that can either move the readers or make the story interesting. The relationships between the characters are also not properly depicted, even the friendships between two characters suck a lot.

The characters are, on the other hand, bit well developed. From the main character to the secondary ones, all had a touch of multi dimensional traits in them, with a dash of realism, thereby making them look striking in the eyes of the readers. But going through the mind of a 17 year old science crazy teenager turned out to be quite heavy handed for me.

In a nutshell, I would not recommend this book to anyone.

Verdict: Not a quality story.

Author Info:
Harriet Reuter Hapgood is a freelance fashion journalist and author of THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER (coming May 2016). Her first-ever professional writing credit was for Just Seventeen magazine, and she's been YA obsessed ever since. She likes burritos, cats, Gwyneth Paltrow and young adult fiction, which she plans to write more of, though she's also considering a PhD in Dawson’s Creek.
Visit her here

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