The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood (Spoiler-Free)

imageI read The Square Root of Summer (TSROS) by Harriet Reuter Hapgood while on the airplane, to and from my trip to Hawai’i earlier this Summer 😄 Talk about a great way to bookend a summer vacation! I usually sleep on planes, but it’s amazing how productive you can be on flights. (Yes, I JUST discovered this). I started and finished TSROS, worked on a couple of blog posts, edited some photos, and had some stimulating conversations with my husband about wormholes, black holes, and time travel. See? Productive! Keep reading for my spoiler-free review of TSROS.


YA Fiction – romance, contemporary, and sci-fi! Hence the aforementioned wormholes, black holes, and time travel. Oh the possibilities!

Intended Audience

Young adults and anyone interested in romance and elements of science fiction.


Recovering from the loss of a loved one, Gottie H. Oppenheimer is drifting through summer, just trying to get by, when she begins to lose time (literally). She relives key memories in her life, but finds that much of her present-day is riddled with holes – she’s in a room one moment and, hours later, finds herself somewhere completely different with no idea as to how. Does this phenomenon have anything to do with the return of an ex-lover or the sudden reappearance of her absentee former best friend? She’s determined to find out.


Gottie’s story takes place in Holksea – a fictional town in Norfolk. It actually sounded quite nice. I wouldn’t mind spending my summers there.


TSROS was full of eclectic characters with huge personalities! It was interesting to see how they all came together. …Or fell apart.

What I Liked

I found the premise to be inventive and, from what I gathered, fairly scientifically accurate – which isn’t a requirement (because hello, fiction), but always gets extra points in my book. Ha! Pun not intended, but we’ll go with it.

I also thought TSROS was uniquely written. (Did I mention it’s Hapgood’s debut YA novel? No? Well then this tidbit goes great here!) The writing perfectly captured the firecracker personalities previously mentioned and set the tone for the rollercoaster of emotions Gottie (and us readers) experienced.

What I Liked A Little Less

I’ll use that last bit to segue into this next section. While I really liked that the writing was able to seize on and deliver the emotions that Gottie was going through in her ordeal(s), that specific feeling of continuous motion and confusion is something that I’m personally not too big a fan of. …I’m not really making sense am I?

Okay, what I’m trying to say is- I commend and appreciate Hapgood’s ability to convey what her character experienced through her writing style and plotline and everything. Based on the overview, you can probably imagine that Gottie was very confused, anxious, and kind of all over the place what with the wormholes and all. And all that was transferred to the reader perfectly. However, this sometimes made it a little hard to follow; I didn’t really like feeling all over the place as I read it. That’s just personal preference and it’s also possible that I’m the only one that felt that way while reading. …I hope that made a little more sense.

Romance! Don’t get me wrong – as I said above, this IS a romance novel. It is. Mostly. I just would have preferred a little more of it, that’s all.

The ending was also a bit more open-ended than I would have liked. But that’s just me. I definitely need more closure in my novels.


I’d give The Square Root of Summer 3/5 stars. It was imaginative, thought-provoking, and incited excellent conversation, but there were a few things that held me back.