The Last Equation of Isaac Severy

The Last Equation of Isaac Severy

*Book of the Month Club Selection*Indie Next Pick“Hugely entertaining… The Last Equation of Isaac Severy is full of delight. Though Ms. Jacobs’s writing has echoes of Thomas Pynchon, Nathanael West and J.D. Salinger, her terrific book displays in abundance a magic all its own.” —The Wall Street Journal The Family Fang meets The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry in this literary m...

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Title:The Last Equation of Isaac Severy
Author:Nova Jacobs
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Last Equation of Isaac Severy Reviews

  • Nova Jacobs

    Gotta love Goodreads for letting me rate my own book. It’s been such a thrilling launch. Much appreciation to all the Book of the Month Club members who chose Isaac Severy (and are posting such gorgeous pictures!), and to all the readers out there who took a chance on the Severy family. Thank you!

  • Leslie Ray

    This book begins with an intriguing opening line, "On the morning he was to die, the old man woke early and set about making breakfast". The book did not fail to deliver and I found myself not wanting to put it down but yet wanting to make it last as long as possible. A famous mathematician, Isaac Severy, is found dead, but leaves a cryptic note to his granddaughter Hazel with instructions regarding the last equation he was working on. This equation is of interest to several people as it proves

    This book begins with an intriguing opening line, "On the morning he was to die, the old man woke early and set about making breakfast". The book did not fail to deliver and I found myself not wanting to put it down but yet wanting to make it last as long as possible. A famous mathematician, Isaac Severy, is found dead, but leaves a cryptic note to his granddaughter Hazel with instructions regarding the last equation he was working on. This equation is of interest to several people as it proves that everything is predetermined, including the exact time of death. There appear to be side plots involving several of the family members but as you read it, you come to realize it has all been intricately woven by the author with a setting in contemporary Los Angeles. One of the reviewers mentioned that she started this book all over once she finished it. I could have done the same thing. I look forward to future books from this author as this was truly an enjoyable read.

  • Fran

    Mathematical genius and patriarch of the dysfunctional Severy family has died of apparent suicide by electrocution. The Severy family of geniuses is undone by Isaac Severy's sudden death. Adopted granddaughter Hazel receives a letter, dated before his death, asking her to perform a daunting task. Isaac entrusts her with a cryptic assignment. She is asked to safely deliver his final equation to a trusted colleague whose favorite pattern is herringbone. Is this note the disjoint ruminations of an

    Mathematical genius and patriarch of the dysfunctional Severy family has died of apparent suicide by electrocution. The Severy family of geniuses is undone by Isaac Severy's sudden death. Adopted granddaughter Hazel receives a letter, dated before his death, asking her to perform a daunting task. Isaac entrusts her with a cryptic assignment. She is asked to safely deliver his final equation to a trusted colleague whose favorite pattern is herringbone. Is this note the disjoint ruminations of an unstable genius? Should Hazel disregard the request?

    Hazel Severy feels a debt of obligation to Isaac. Isaac and wife, Lily rescued Hazel and brother Gregory from abusive foster parent, Tom who is currently jailed in L.A. She always felt uncomfortable in the company of the Severy math geniuses. She was non-mathematical. Why would Isaac trust her with this job? This is what Isaac's letter states.....I am being followed....work in room 137 must be destroyed and hard drives reformatted....do not visit the house past October....three will die...me first....tell no one. Hazel must find and unravel hidden "clues" to locate the equation secreted in a surprising place! Hazel is not the only one searching for the equation. Family members, business associates, even virtual strangers want to aid or block Hazel's efforts.

    "The Last Equation of Isaac Severy: A Novel in Clues" by Nova Jacobs is an excellent debut novel. That said, this reader felt that there were too many Severy family members to follow. The novel might have been enhanced by more in-depth discussion using less characters. Nova Jacobs has provided a fun read. I look forward to her future writing.

    Thank you Touchstone and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review "The Last Equation of Isaac Severy".

  • Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)

    You can read this and all of my reviews at

    .

    is a delightfully fresh literary mystery. It was just the thing to get me out of a the little slump I'd been in. I wasn't in the mood for something terribly heavy or terribly morbid. I'm always up for quirky characters. No matter that the quirkiest character was deceased prior to Chapter One. (Of an apparent suicide. In a hot tub. With a string of Christmas lights.)

    Hazel, adopted granddaughter of Isaac

    You can read this and all of my reviews at

    .

    is a delightfully fresh literary mystery. It was just the thing to get me out of a the little slump I'd been in. I wasn't in the mood for something terribly heavy or terribly morbid. I'm always up for quirky characters. No matter that the quirkiest character was deceased prior to Chapter One. (Of an apparent suicide. In a hot tub. With a string of Christmas lights.)

    Hazel, adopted granddaughter of Isaac Severy, famed mathematician, receives a cryptic letter upon his death. It's written by Isaac and in it he asks that she complete a series of tasks. She must tell no one. She must decipher a series of clues in oder to fulfill her grandfather's last wishes. It's not going to be an easy task. Hazel is not as scientifically-minded as her grandfather. Hazel has no idea why she has been chosen to complete these tasks. More importantly, she has no idea

     her grandfather wants this particular set of tasks to be completed in the first place.

    As we follow Hazel on her journey to carry out Isaac's last wishes, we learn more about how Hazel and her brother came to be part of the Severy family.  They are an eclectic and somewhat dysfuctional bunch. All of the members of Isaac's family were carefully and fully developed. Each had a particular set of flaws and weaknesses. In most cases, these were balanced with a set of more likable traits. I really enjoyed the family drama aspect of this book; both the parts that were central to the plot and those that were not. Nova Jacobs did a remarkable job of balancing the whimsy and lightness of this book with serious issues many families face.

    There was a subplot that was as intriguing as the plot. The author did a fabulous job of keeping both going at just the right pace. The farther I read into the book, the harder it was to walk away from.

    As one might expect, there was a fair amount of math-y language throughout the book. String theory this and chaos theory that. If I'm honest, that was all blah, blah, blah to me but I fully appreciated what it meant to Isaac, his family, and his colleagues. I thought it added a unique twist. We read about all manner of professions and hobbies, why not mathematics?

    Overall, I found

    to be a thoroughly enjoyable read. As a debut, it's even more impressive. I'm definitely looking forward to hearing what Nova Jacobs has in store for us in the future.

    4.25/5 stars

    Many thanks to Touchstone for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Maxwell

    This book totally surprised me. I was expecting a fun, lighthearted adventure/mystery story—which it definitely was—but also got a novel about death and the universe and family. The main characters (because the story focuses on more than just Hazel like the blurb leads you to believe) are flawed and complex and relatable. I particularly liked Philip's storyline, though I loved Hazel and Gregory too. And the mystery aspect of this novel definitely had me turning pages and guessing at what would h

    This book totally surprised me. I was expecting a fun, lighthearted adventure/mystery story—which it definitely was—but also got a novel about death and the universe and family. The main characters (because the story focuses on more than just Hazel like the blurb leads you to believe) are flawed and complex and relatable. I particularly liked Philip's storyline, though I loved Hazel and Gregory too. And the mystery aspect of this novel definitely had me turning pages and guessing at what would happen next. All in all this was a delightfully fun and thought-provoking read that exceeded my expectations.

  • Diane S ☔

    When I first started reading this, it seemed as if was going to be a treasure hunt of a novel. The treasure belonging to a highly touted mathametician, and the treasure a brilliant equation, which many seek. When Isaac died under suspicious circumstances his granddaughter is left a letter containing clues as to where this equation is, and also to whom he wants it given.

    But....this is not exactly a treasure hunt, it is also or maybe more about a family with the majority of family members having a

    When I first started reading this, it seemed as if was going to be a treasure hunt of a novel. The treasure belonging to a highly touted mathametician, and the treasure a brilliant equation, which many seek. When Isaac died under suspicious circumstances his granddaughter is left a letter containing clues as to where this equation is, and also to whom he wants it given.

    But....this is not exactly a treasure hunt, it is also or maybe more about a family with the majority of family members having a certain type of genius. The few that don't are somewhat dismissed, not valued as highly. Many of them have secrets, are more or less than they seem. A rather dysfunctional group of characters.

    I thought this was written very well, in fact the writing drew me in more consistently than the story. The story itself, started out strong, kind of lagged and lost me in the middle, and then picked up again in the latter third. Except for a few, I found the majority of characters unlikable. All in all for me it was an okay read, a different read, with some wonderful writing.

    ARC from Netgalley.

  • Victoria

    Imaginative premise and superb writing could not save this story from being overwhelmed by its themes. Predictive mathematical models, chaos theory, dysfunctional family dynamics, child abuse, vigilante justice and a pseudo-incestuous relationship just to name a few. Throw in a multitude of characters and an exploration of fate and you have a muddled tale I could not decipher. This is another book that I kept reading for its ambition and I thought it would all make sense in the end. Instead I wa

    Imaginative premise and superb writing could not save this story from being overwhelmed by its themes. Predictive mathematical models, chaos theory, dysfunctional family dynamics, child abuse, vigilante justice and a pseudo-incestuous relationship just to name a few. Throw in a multitude of characters and an exploration of fate and you have a muddled tale I could not decipher. This is another book that I kept reading for its ambition and I thought it would all make sense in the end. Instead I was left with only one word, more a sound really…huh.

    While beset with too many plot points and more drama than detecting, I’m bumping a 2.5 experience to three stars for the stellar writing and intrigue. For a debut there was much that was impressive and I’m willing to give this author another try.

  • jessica

    i dont normally pick up books randomly, but this was showcased at my local library and i have been in a mood for mystery books this past week - so i thought ‘why not?’

    for this book to be described as ‘a novel in clues,’ i was expecting more of a ‘whodunnit’ like premise, but it felt more like general contemporary fiction to me. the writing style and storytelling reminded me a lot of jonathan tropper and cynthia d’aprix sweeney. i wish there had been more of a mystery element to this, but the fa

    i dont normally pick up books randomly, but this was showcased at my local library and i have been in a mood for mystery books this past week - so i thought ‘why not?’

    for this book to be described as ‘a novel in clues,’ i was expecting more of a ‘whodunnit’ like premise, but it felt more like general contemporary fiction to me. the writing style and storytelling reminded me a lot of jonathan tropper and cynthia d’aprix sweeney. i wish there had been more of a mystery element to this, but the family dynamics and drama in this book werent too bad. for a debut book, i was quite content with this.

  • Book of the Month

    Why I Love It

    By BOTM Guest Judge Sophia Bush

    Everything in nature follows mathematical patterns: Planets follow elliptical orbits, flowers follow the Fibonacci sequence, and snowflakes crystallize with complex symmetrical elegance. Clues to the intricacy of the universe, if you will, and there’s nothing I like better than a finely-crafted succession of clues. Which brings me to this engaging, clever book.

    Never fear, this is no tale of dry mathematical theory. It’s a sharp puzzle mystery, full of

    Why I Love It

    By BOTM Guest Judge Sophia Bush

    Everything in nature follows mathematical patterns: Planets follow elliptical orbits, flowers follow the Fibonacci sequence, and snowflakes crystallize with complex symmetrical elegance. Clues to the intricacy of the universe, if you will, and there’s nothing I like better than a finely-crafted succession of clues. Which brings me to this engaging, clever book.

    Never fear, this is no tale of dry mathematical theory. It’s a sharp puzzle mystery, full of stimulating questions that make it impossible to stop turning the pages. Isaac Severy, the book’s namesake, is dead before the story has even begun. In the first chapter, his heirs—an intelligent, quirky, and fractured Californian family—have gathered to pay their last respects. What they don’t know is that, before he died, Professor Severy created a world-changing mathematical equation and left the only clue to its whereabouts with his beloved granddaughter, Hazel.

    Following Hazel on her quest to find the equation is like speeding through the winding canyons of the Hollywood Hills (which does happen in this book, although no one seems to get stuck in as much traffic as I generally do). The sinister organization on Hazel’s tail keeps tension high, and the love interest she may or may not be able to trust keeps us guessing. Watching her navigate the tumultuous dramas of family, fate, and formulas had me glued to the story until the end. Isaac Severy left me with the lasting realization that mathematics is a love language. Well done, professor.

    Read more at

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