My heart is a kaleidoscope, and when we kiss it makes my world unravel . . .
Last summer, Gottie’s life fell apart. Her beloved grandfather Grey died and Jason left her – the boy to whom she lost her virginity (and her heart) – and he wouldn’t even hold her hand at the funeral! This summer, still reeling from twin heartbreaks, Gottie is lost and alone and burying herself in equations. Until, after five years absence, Thomas comes home: former boy next door. Former best friend. Former everything. And as life turns upside down again she starts to experience strange blips in time – back to last summer, back to what she should have seen then . . .
During one long, hazy summer, Gottie navigates grief, world-stopping kisses and rips in the space-time continuum, as she tries to reconcile her first heartbreak with her last.
Thoughts : It’s very hard to review a book you’ve just put own. Particularly one that made you sob your eyes out but this is something I have to do. I have to talk about this while the feeling is still fresh else it’ll become another impersonal review.
The story is about Gottie(Margot), a girl almost out of her teens, who has had one hell of a terrible year. Her grandfather, Grey, has died rather suddenly and she can’t stop thinking how it’s all her fault. When Gottie has to clean out his room she discovers his diaries, each noting down important moments and occurrences in their lives. A long drive where they had fun, her birthday, slugs…..many things. As a way of dealing with the grief she sits and reads them throughout the summer and this takes her back to more flashes, moments she’d rather forget and things she’d rather not deal with. She calls them screenwipes or wormholes.
Her summer is spent in moments of hatred, mourning and random memory lapses where she’s thinking about (or time travelling) through wormholes into significant moments in her past. Disturbed by these lapses where she’s spend time actually having a conversation and being productive in “real life” while not remembering a second of it, she tries to figure out if time travelling is real. Adding to this confusion is the sudden return of her first boyfriend, her brother’s best friend, Jason and the return of her childhood best friend, Thomas, who just randomly left one day. Confusing, yes? It isn’t confusing when you read the book.
The writing style is absolutely beautiful, taking you through the things Gottie goes through without revealing much more that she knows herself. You’re left confused, feeling vulnerable and utterly determined to find out what’s actually happening. The addition of science instead of magic as time travel tool makes this a very unique read; interesting at places and bewildering at others.
If you have a grandfather who raised you, whom you love, you’ll wail like a baby. Enough to have to put the book down a couple of times and take an emotional break. I’m not sure why but I connected completely with summer Gottie over previous Gottie. She felt more real than any other character I’ve read about for a long time, as did her brother and the other characters. And while I did not personally buy the whole time travel magical realism thing, it might work for someone who adores science. The travel felt more like a forgetful genius who’s grappling with grief, like the Flubber scientist, than a time warp or worm hole, which is why it has one star less than five(4 stars).
This was a magnificent debut filled with family, relationships, death, love and loss of self. I got the book Saturday afternoon, finished it in one sitting (I had to sleep so maybe not one sitting but it still counts, ok?) and I’m writing the review now. You can imagine how much I enjoyed it. Hapgood shows that one need not have ridiculous amounts of drama and plot twists to make a story emotionally rich and I’m going to love seeing what she comes up with next.
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed are my own.