The Square Root of Summer

The Square Root of Summer - Harriet Reuter Hapgood The Good: It was short, it had illustrations that cut down on the amount I had to read, it did not take place in a dystopian universe.

The Okay: Just about everything else. There was definitely good bones to the story, but the final execution was definitely a miss for me.

Told in the first person, 17 year old Gottie H. Oppenheimer is dealing with the end of the school year and the start of summer. It's been a rough year since her grandfather Grey has passed leaving her alone in her home with her widowed father and their cat. Gottie's older brother Ned has been off at school and when he returns things get shaken up in Gottie's world now that her ex secret boyfriend is back in the mix, and her childhood best friend is now coming back to stay with the family for the summer.

Man, Gottie is so trying. I get that grief is an all encompassing thing. Heck, I lost my father right before I turned 21 and I felt like I was under water for two years afterwards. But I didn't act like I was the only one in pain and or act oblivious to my mother, brothers or sister's grief. Of course people react differently to the same event. But I thought it was a bit much that Gottie obviously didn't get that her father and brother lost Grey and that her father and grandfather also lost her mother. Gottie hits that realization later in the book, but I was all really girl, really when she has those revelations.

I also don't think it helped that Gottie was so focused on Jason (secret boyfriend) for most of the book. And then all of a sudden she wasn't. The entire premise of this book is that Gottie keeps getting thrown back in time to relieve the painful parts of the past year in her life. Jason is a common thread in all of the past events she relieves. Frankly that should have been a big clue to her and the fact that he wanted to keep things secret, he was not the big love of her life. Psst girls, anytime a guy is all let's keep our relationship on the down low, run the other way.

Watching Gottie treat Thomas like an enemy when he first appears while she moons over Jason was a good portion of the book, so enjoy that.

I think the big thing is though that Gottie not only was grieving for her grandfather, she was grieving for the end of her first love. And she was grieving over the end of her first love because she still thought maybe he did love her, and maybe she could have done something differently, etc. I think her pushing away everyone around her was definitely a sign something was up, but I think her father not pushing her one way or the other was weird. I also didn't dig Gottie's other friend who I think is mad that Gottie isn't acting the same way she previously had, so goes off and gets herself another new best friend. Seriously, this whole book was people acting terrible or terribly to each other and no one really discussing it til the end, and then glossing over it.

The only other person that gets developed in this book at all though is Thomas. His character comes shining through and I can see why he and Gottie were best friends and end up rekindling their friendship after a while. But even Thomas has his issues.

Since most of this book deals with Grey I wish that we had more of a understanding of the guy. He seemed like an aging hippie that talked a lot of nonsense. I didn't get the why behind him being special at all. I think if we had more to go than bits and pieces from Gottie's memory and Grey's diary then it would have worked more. Everyone says that Grey was really Gottie and Ned's father since he was the one who took care of them, but I didn't get that at all. And everyone kind of acting like their dad was just there was super odd. I don't know. This whole family and the friends too could be described as quirky which means they are all manic pixie girls/boys/men and I would have run screaming from the room ten minutes after meeting them.

The writing was so-so. I did not get the physics or math parts of this book at all. And the illustrations were cute and diverting. But still, no dice. I have no idea what any of this even meant, and I can see why a lot of people ended up DNFing this book because the physics aspects actually ruins the book. You don't have to make up a mathematical reason why time travel happens. Trying to use math to explain everything happening to Gottie stopped the book each and every time. Probably because none of it made sense and the paradox aspect was a hilarious hand wavey thing that did crack me up.

The chapters counting down to something (you will find out soon enough) got on my nerves too. Don't do things in freaking minutes please, I was sitting there converting things to hours, minutes, and seconds and just stopped after the first few chapters.

The flow as I already said never gets into a groove at all. Things pick up towards the end and then we still have another hump to get past while time fixes itself. I may have been super bah humbug by the time I got to the end of this book.

The setting of this book takes place in England. It took me a while to even figure that out. Or why Gottie speaks German. This book was short on details that I think were pertinent to the plot. I don't know if this was done purposely by the author to show how mixed up Gottie was or what, but it was real annoying trying to follow a time line and get to everyone's backstory in a coherent way.

The ending happens and we even get a hint (before the ending) of what Gottie's future will bring though based on what is happening to her should not have been shown, but whatever, hand wave paradoxes and time travel.