Monday, August 4, 2014

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Release Date: June 26, 2012
Info about the author: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Random House
Age Group: YA/Adult (the main character is 11 years old, but I feel like this was more an adult read than a YA read)
Pages: 284
Buy the Book: Amazon - Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

“It’s never the disasters you see coming that finally come to pass—it’s the ones you don’t expect at all,” says Julia, in this spellbinding novel of catastrophe and survival by a superb new writer. Luminous, suspenseful, unforgettable, The Age of Miracles tells the haunting and beautiful story of Julia and her family as they struggle to live in a time of extraordinary change.

On an ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia awakes to discover that something has happened to the rotation of the earth. The days and nights are growing longer and longer; gravity is affected; the birds, the tides, human behavior, and cosmic rhythms are thrown into disarray. In a world that seems filled with danger and loss, Julia also must face surprising developments in herself, and in her personal world—divisions widening between her parents, strange behavior by her friends, the pain and vulnerability of first love, a growing sense of isolation, and a surprising, rebellious new strength. With crystalline prose and the indelible magic of a born storyteller, Karen Thompson Walker gives us a breathtaking portrait of people finding ways to go on in an ever-evolving world.




MY THOUGHTS:

Age of Miracles was one of those books I kind of "had" to buy just to get the 3 for 5 pounds sale at Works. The cover looked interesting and the little blurb in the back sounded like something I might be interested in. When I was looking for a short read, I picked this up from the shelf and started reading. Quite fast I realized that it can also be considered as an young adult/coming-of-age story, which was a nice surprise.

On an ordinary Saturday, like any other Saturday before it, 11-old Julia, our narrator, wakes up with her best friend and her family to discover from news that the rotation of the earth has slowed down. First, the slowing down does not seem like a very life changing occurrence - some people think it is a hoax, some just don't want to believe it. When her best friend leaves California, Julia starts to realize that maybe the change in the rotation really does make things more complicated. As time processes, the days and nights start to get longer and things like gravity, which we are so used to, starts to work in different way, making people sick. The people are divided into two camps - "real timers" and "clock timers" and the governments of the world do not seem to be able to find any answers to the questions of the population.

Even though the book has this science-fiction/dystopian element on it, I really liked the fact that it centered more on the problems of Julia - both the ones caused by the change and ones caused by other factors. Her best friend leaves, her grandfather is acting very weird and it seems that her father has some secrets he is not willing to share with the rest of the family. There is also Seth, the boy Julia has a crush on, but who does not seem to see Julia the way she sees him. 

I have recently read quite a lot of dystopian/science fiction literature and even though I love the ravaged new societies and new government structures, it was refreshing to read something with a setting that is familiar. Also the change that happens seems like something very simple, but once time processes, you start to actually realize how drastically the world would change if the rotation of the earth would slow down.

The pacing of the novel is brilliant. The story is told by Julia as an adult and foreshadowing is used quite to an extent to build up the story and to keep the reader interested. The way the change to the rhythm and the norm is described is also brilliantly done - it becomes highly realistic and believable, which made it easier for me to get into the story. Julia is a likable narrator and it is interesting to follow the changes in her caused by the phenomena that takes place. 

I really want to recommend The Age of Miracles for all the fans of dystopian young adult fiction. It might not seem like the most adventure filled, exciting read, but if you are looking for something more "realistic", this is the perfect read for you.


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