Mathematical Relationships

Perspective is a subjective thing. Mathematics, more objective. You can mix the two and get some interesting theories–just look at Einstein. But when mathematics seeps in to reality creating wormholes, life can go a bit wonky, like it does in Harriet Reuter Hapgood’s The Square Root of Summer. 

Gottie Oppenheimer’s 18th summer is upon her and it’s been a year since her life was dramatically changed after the death of her grandfather, Grey, and her secret boyfriend, Jason, left. With the return of Jason and her best friend, Thomas, into her life, Gottie’s past collides with her present and future. Traveling through the wormholes and reexperiencing parts of her life or finding herself in an alternate timeline, Gottie confronts her emotions surrounding the losses she’s experienced in her young life.

I am not a math person, but the way that mathematical and physics principles are incorporated into the story are well done and equally well explained for laymen. The sprinkling of images throughout the text helps to provide visual explanations of the mathematical principles, which can help further explain the relevance of its inclusion in the story. I wasn’t too keen on the overused plot of grieving girl doesn’t understand how others around her have been dealing with their grief, but Gottie’s slow realization and acceptance was believable.

Overall, I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.


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