Roaring Brook Press
May 03, 2016
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This is what it means to love someone. This is what it means to grieve someone. It's a little bit like a black hole. It's a little bit like infinity.
Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. Literally. When the fabric of the universe around her seaside town begins to fray, she's hurtled through wormholes to her past:
To last summer, when her grandfather Grey died. To the afternoon she fell in love with Jason, who wouldn't even hold her hand at the funeral. To the day her best friend Thomas moved away and left her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory.
Although Grey is still gone, Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie's past, present, and future are about to collide—and someone's heart is about to be broken.
"It's hard, being the straight one in a house with Dumbledore,and Peter Pan and Axl Rose, being friends with bangle-wearing glittered artists." (pg 29)
Gottie Oppenheimer loves physics. The theories, equations and numbers all make sense to her. In a family where her grandfather Grey endorsed walking barefoot, kept Buddha statues around and was known to throw laundry into the apple tree to dry; her brother is like an eighties rocker with his band, his eyeliner, leopard print and spandex; and her father's there but not there, facts and rules don't always fit.
When wormholes start appearing, taking Gottie to moments from her past she isn't sure she can figure it out, even with physics.
I loved that The Square Root of Summer gave Gottie the equations, the how, what and why of the wormholes to figure out, but her emotions and relationships to figure out. The first summer since her grandfather died and the return of both Thomas and Jason would be enough for her to figure out, without experiencing her past again. The author does a great job,though, making it apparent that if it were just one or the other (the wormholes or life), Gottie wouldn't figure it out.
It is the combination of the emotions - grief, pain, anger, confusion, love, loss - that she does not understand or know how to deal with and the physics equations that she loves so much that make it work. For her character and the story.
I don't think I fully understand the what or how or why of Gottie's wormholes - and not just the literal math and science of it, but how it worked for the book - but it didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book. The colorful cast of characters, Gotie's intelligence but inability to cope with her grief, with losing Grey, her theories and explanations on the time travel (cannoli included) combine for an insightful, humorous touching and enjoyable read.
Oh, also? I know there's the mention of Dumbledore in relation to Grey, but I definitely read him much more like Jeff Bridges:
received for review, from publisher, via NetGalley