May 26, 2017

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The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood | SLJ Review

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redstarReuter Hapgood, Harriet. The Square Root of Summer. 320p. ebook available. Roaring Brook. May 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626723733. Reuter Hapgood, Harriet. The Square Root of Summer

Gr 8 Up –This debut novel is a love story involving the chaos of loss, grief, and guilt. Seventeen-year-old Gottie has spent the entire school year living in a shroud of mourning. The end of the previous summer brought the death of grandfather Grey, who practically raised her after her mother died. Jason, her first love, left for college shortly after the funeral without a word of goodbye, along with her brother. Alone with her grieving father, Gottie retreated inside herself, refusing to communicate with anyone. Now, with the start of another summer vacation, her brother and Jason are back, and the best friend who disappeared from her life five years ago has suddenly returned. All during her childhood, Thomas and Gottie were inseparable, but when they were 12, Thomas’s family moved away. She still harbors resentment over his failure to keep in touch. Her unbearable grief, guilt over a wish she fears may have hastened her grandfather’s death, and the reappearance of people who she feels once abandoned her catapults Gottie into time (and mind) bending episodes of both reliving and reinventing the past. As the anniversary of Grey’s death approaches, Gottie fears she may be forced to relive the worst day of her life. Almost identical in theme to Heather Sappenfield’s Life at the Speed of Us (Flux, 2016), this work takes a more sophisticated and believable approach to integrating space/time anomalies into the story line. VERDICT An emotional roller-coaster ride worth taking.–Cary Frostick, formerly at Mary Riley Styles Public Library, Falls Church, VA

This review was published in the School Library Journal March 2016 issue.

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