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Monday, October 22, 2012

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (269 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Stephantois

“It still amazes me how little we really knew. . . . Maybe everything that happened to me and my family had nothing at all to do with the slowing. It’s possible, I guess. But I doubt it. I doubt it very much.”

On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life—the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.

The Age of Miracles is a story that grabs you from chapter one and has you in its hold until the very last word. It’s told in the first person from the viewpoint of Julia, an eleven year old girl who is not only dealing with growing into a young woman and all the problems that come with it, but also the breakdown of her parent’s once idyllic marriage.

These dilemmas in themselves make for a wonderful read, but this story is more than just a coming of age novel because these two problems are interwoven with yet a bigger one. It quickly becomes a sci-fi novel about what happens to us, society, and the world when the earth slows.

Ms. Thompson Walker did a wonderful job showing us what would happen if the days and nights grew longer. Not only its impact on the environment but relationships with one another, neighbors, and society as a whole.

Each character is well crafted and overall this makes for a very compelling read. Although it’s listed as a young adult novel, (and I know lots of young adults will love it), don't let the listing put you off reading it if you're an adult, or at least borrowing it from your offspring. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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