STARRED REVIEW
March 2018

Post-mortem pop quiz

By Nova Jacobs

Hazel Severy isn’t a math person. While the rest of her adoptive clan revels in the art of quantum mathematics, Hazel would rather be running her beloved bookstore or reading F. Scott Fitzgerald. But when her grandfather, Isaac, dies under questionable circumstances, Hazel is thrust into a bizarre puzzle. Isaac has entrusted Hazel with his top-secret equation, one that could have a catastrophic impact if it falls into the wrong hands. Now Hazel must weed through the mathematics of Isaac’s clues—without any help from her genius family—to make sure her grandfather’s final wishes are honored before it’s too late.

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Hazel Severy isn’t a math person. While the rest of her adoptive clan revels in the art of quantum mathematics, Hazel would rather be running her beloved bookstore or reading F. Scott Fitzgerald. But when her grandfather, Isaac, dies under questionable circumstances, Hazel is thrust into a bizarre puzzle. Isaac has entrusted Hazel with his top-secret equation, one that could have a catastrophic impact if it falls into the wrong hands. Now Hazel must weed through the mathematics of Isaac’s clues—without any help from her genius family—to make sure her grandfather’s final wishes are honored before it’s too late.

As the Severy family mourns their patriarch’s death, each is in service of his or her own agenda. Why is Hazel’s police officer brother behaving suspiciously? What burden is Isaac’s professor son keeping from his wife and child? What is the motive behind Hazel’s estranged cousin’s extended stay? Most importantly, why are additional family members starting to die?

Each member of the charmingly odd Severy family is a work in (completely relatable) progress as they struggle to secure their place in the shadow of the legend that was Isaac Severy. Keeping up with their individual trials may seem daunting at first, but the effort is rewarded at the end of their respective dramas.

Debut novelist Nova Jacobs has plotted an elaborate riddle within a multifaceted exploration of family and identity. This genre-bending story will appeal to lovers of family dramas such as Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You, as well as readers who prefer their stories full of intellectual suspense.

 

This article was originally published in the March 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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The Last Equation of Isaac Severy

The Last Equation of Isaac Severy

By Nova Jacobs
Touchstone
ISBN 9781501175121

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