Friday, May 4, 2012

The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

(Advanced Reader Copy)

My reading ears perked up the moment I read the synopsis for this new YA novel a month or two ago. It really appealed to me, and will appeal to others who love dystopian novels, in this case, especially those who love Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life as We Knew It trilogy. The plot is superficially similar, but the female protagonist in this novel is in middle school, 6th grade, that age of miracles.

Julia is a perceptive and reasonably well adjusted child at the start of the novel, with a best friend and two seemingly stable parents. When the completely unexpected news breaks that the earth's rotation has dramatically slowed, adding minutes (at first) to every day, all of their lives change instantly.

Julia is an honest narrator, dealing with her troubles and worries in a fairly direct way, although she hides much of her pain from her suddenly fragile mother. But she tells all to the reader, and as a woman who has much in common with Julia, I found myself really empathizing with this girl on the cusp of adolescence and, an unfortunate push into adulthood. Her father is having an affair with a neighbor, and Julia knows this but her mother does not. This increases Julia's anxiety over what will happen next in a world hardly anyone can understand anymore.

This novel is really well written, the prose is often poetic and beautiful, even when describing scenes that are unsettling and scary. Karen Thompson Walker is very talented, and this book really grabbed me and sucked me in from the very first moment. Julia's only child-ness and awkwardness was something I could completely relate to, and I am happily sharing this book with my 15 year old daughter, since I know she will love it too. Excellent reading, I could hardly put this one down! Definitely well deserved hype.

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