The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

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This one was a let down for me.

One morning pre-teen Julia and the rest of the world wake up to some alarming news – the Earth’s rotation has slowed by 56 minutes, and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping. They don’t know how long it will go on, or what’s causing it, but the days are getting longer. Julia and her family try to adjust to this new Earth.

There’s one key phrase in the blurb on the book jacket that should have told me I wasn’t going to particularly enjoy this book – “coming of age”. Coming of age novelsΒ hardly everΒ work out well for me. Julia is about 11 and just coming into those teenage years, so this book focuses a lot more on her being lonely and friendless, her first crush on the stereotypical skater boy with a tragic story, on her family dynamics, and so on. The huge effects of the Earth’s rotation slowing were kind of going on in the background, so if that’s what makes this book sound interesting to you, I’d skip it.

I guess my problem with this book is just that it was slow-paced and there wasn’t a whole lot happening. I’m sure this was intentional, to match the gradualΒ slowing of the Earth’s spin, but it made for kind of a boring read. And while the focus on Julia and her life make this seem like a YA book, it’s not quite written as one – the language and prose is a lot more mature, because Julia is actually telling the story as an adult later on, looking back at that time in her life.

Once again, an interesting premise that just could have been done better, I think.

Sarah Says: 2.5 stars

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10 comments

  1. Agreed. THis book was a let down for me, and the ending made no sense whatsoever: if things were THAT drastic when she was 12, how on earth did the Earth survive long enough for her to tell the story from her 20-something perspective?

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    1. Right??? Like okay, I’m sure SOME people made it because they were super prepared and had awesome underground bomb shelters or something, but she was young and her parents were kind of stupid, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have lasted that long.

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  2. I had the same feeling about this book. The premise started off so well, but it should have been front and center, not background for the day-to-day struggles of a normal 11-year-old. When they went to the desert colony near the end I thought it was finally going to get interesting, but no luck…

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  3. Boo to your review! I loved this book! I did not feel like it was slow at all! But I read a few other reviews where people said the same thing. I think what got me hooked was that this could actually happen. I don’t like when there’s magic or super duper far fetched occurrences, but I am scared when things happen like this!

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    1. The idea that it totally could happen was really interesting and what made me want to read it, so I think I was disappointed that it focused so much more on this young girl and her “coming of age” problems.

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      1. I understand where you’re coming from! πŸ™‚ And I think that when people disagree, it’s much better for book discussion.

        Who wants convo to go: I liked that book. I also liked that book. She also liked that book. Booooooring!

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      2. Oh absolutely. In fact, it’s sad but sometimes I enjoy writing about books that I didn’t like more than ones I like. For some reason criticism just comes more naturally to me, I guess. (I’m sure that’s a bad thing… crap.)

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      3. Please, did you see my P&P post? Pride & Prejudice was my most controversial post since I said I didn’t like it! Honestly, you would have thought it was a post advocating something horrific. It made me laugh, though!!! And I still smile about it because I had the most comments on that post than any other. Maybe I should say I dislike more classic books, it seems to be a good way to start conversation!

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      4. Yes! The controversial “I didn’t like this book” posts always get the most attention! And I think it’s because it gives commenters something to say in return, other than “Oh yeah I liked that book too”.

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