Thursday, August 23, 2012
AGE OF MIRACLES by Karen Thompson Walker
It is no secret that I love a good apocalyptic novel. There seems to be a very large number of new books in this genre coming out in the Young Adult book world lately. Although AGE OF MIRACLES is not technically a young adult title, I think it works most successfully at that level. At first glance, Walker's book appears to be a clever take on the Apocalyptic genre. However, I would argue that this is much more a coming-of-age story that just happens to take place when the world is falling apart.
One morning, Julia awakens to discover that the rotation of the Earth has suddenly begun to slow. At first, everything stays relatively normal as people grapple with the implications of this change. Slowly, however, as the days and nights begin to lengthen, the world must figure out how to adapt. The 24-hour clock no longer applies and living things are beginning to be affected by the change. The world splits into factions as people try to decide how to deal with the changes. As the Earth's rotation continues to slow, normal life is suspended. In the midst of all these changes, Julia deals with the everyday issues of a young teen's life--her parents' struggling marriage, bullying, first love. It is in these moments that the book is most poignant. This period of time in a yong person's life is already fraught with change. To juxtapose this period of growth with the slowing of the Earth's rotation makes for a wonderful story. However, I was left wanting more. I wish Walker had gone in a different direction with some of her storylines. I did really like the idea of the slowing of the Earth's rotation. It is frightening in that no one can escape this catastrophe and it affects everything. Very chilling and very moving.
BOTTOM LINE: Recommended. A lovely coming-of-age tale that takes place in a period of great change and loss. I think this book works best as a young adult title but there is something to enjoy for everyone.