The Square Root of Summer is such a quirky book. It contains little illustrations and while it starts off like a contemporary read, it plunges into science fiction through time travel. Time travel in this case doesn’t pertain to fantastical notions of visiting another era. Here things are grounded a bit more in physics, incorporating discussions of the space-time continuum, the speed of light and the effect of gravity on one’s ageing process. If there’s one thing to be said, the main character is exceedingly smart and prides herself in her intelligence.
Reading Beautiful Broken Things struck me on many levels. There were a lot of things I related to her having gone through these myself. I’ve been in Caddy’s shoes. I’ve been in Rosie’s shoes. I’ve had a number of Suzanne’s in my life. I’ve learnt that groups of threes aren’t always the most stable of friend groups. Beautiful Broken Things reminded me of toxic relationships I’ve had, the naïve wishes to be there as a friend unravelled and being pushed aside as I wasn’t included in the plans of two when we should have been three.
Books set in university that aren’t entirely pre-occupied with romance are surprisingly tough to find. During my own undergraduate studies I wished for so many more but had to make do with books set in high school. Maybe “make do” sounds like I didn’t enjoy those books but I did. It’s just that the university setting tends to be rather neglected. That’s why I was pretty excited to learn that Counting Stars featured university students.
Set in Nazi England, 2012–2014, The Big Lie is premised on one question: What if the Nazis had won World War II? With this in mind, The Big Lie is a speculative work of alternative history. While nobody can say for sure how things would’ve turned out, I think the world that Julie Mayhew imagined is a rather plausible outcome. She evidently did her research and wove together the fascist ideals and lifestyles of the 1940s with contemporary ones.