The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

The Age of Miracles by
Hardcover, 271 pages
The Age of Miracles
Rating: 9/10


It came on suddenly: one morning pre-teen Julia and her family woke up to the news that the earth's rotation had slowed. A day was now 24 hours and fifty-six minutes. No one knows what is causing the slowing that is making each subsequent day longer, or if it will stop before it is too late for human survival. First comes the disbelief, then the panic, and then the conflict, all while Julia is facing all of the other challenges of growing up - friends who outgrow you, crushes, parents who have their own secret lives.

Reason for Reading

A buzz-book.

Why you should read this book

This book snuck up on me so completely - I was actually reading something else, but thought I'd check out the first few pages to see what I might pick up next, and suddenly four or five hours had passed and I was finished. The idea of our planet's rotation slowing, causing nature to go off-course and causing sickness to some of the planet's inhabitants, is a fascinating one. Set in the current day, there is a sense of urgency to the book, this being a scenario so unthinkable in our concepts of global disasters that the book is pervaded with a deep sense of helplessness, giving a dark edge to Julia's attempts to carry on with a regular adolescence. It's a good coming-of-age story, dealing with Julie's hardships of a first crush, and her starting to realize her parents might not be the same people out in the world as they are around her, especially when their potential doom doesn't exactly bring up their best qualities. The tension and drama come from both Julia's inner turmoil and from society heading down a road to collapse, making this unusual book an unexpectedly great read.

Why you should avoid this book

You really have to go into this book being okay with the focus being on a young girl's life and not just a dystopian fiction, which is sure to divide people who go into the book looking for something specific. Also in terms of splitting camps, I've seen arguments that this is a book for young teens because of the young narrator, but I'm not sure a younger audience would be thrilled that answers to everything aren't always forthcoming.

Opening Paragraph

We didn't notice right away. We couldn't feel it.
We did not sense at first the extra time, bulging from the smooth edge of each day like a tumor blooming beneath skin.

Fabulous quotes

'Think of the dinosaurs,' he continued. 'They died out because they couldn't adapt to a changed environment.'
Mr Jensen had a ponytail and a beard. He wore a lot of tie-dye. He rode a bike to school, and it was rumored that he cooked his meals on the Bunsen burners in the back of the classroom and slept in a sleeping bag under his desk. He wore hiking boots to school every day. He looked like he could live for many months in the desert with only a compass and a pocketknife and a canteen.
'But of course,' he added, clasping his hands together, 'we're very different from the dinosaurs.' I could tell he was hoping not to scare us, but that was the thing: We kids were not as afraid as we should have been. We were too young to be scared, too immersed in our own small worlds, too convinced of our own permanence.
'Holy shit,' said Kai. He was staring at a glass case on the far wall, inside of which hung two rifles and seven sheathed knives. Six boxes of bullets sat stacked beneath the guns.
'What is all this?' I asked.
'What does it look like?' said Josh.
He was handing out beers. I held mine with two fingers by the neck. I didn't even know how to handle the bottle.
'His dad thinks that the end of the world is coming,' said Michaela, 'so he put all this stuff in here.'

Also by

The Age of Miracles is Walker's first book.

Fun Tidbit

Walker wrote The Age of Miracles in the mornings before work, sometimes on the subway.

Would I read more by ?

I'm already looking forward to her second book.

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