Thursday, July 5, 2012

Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Karen Thompson Walker imagines a new kind of ecological disaster in Age of Miracles. Instead of earthquakes, a group of Californians--and the rest of the world--are noticing that days are getting longer. The earth is slowing resulting in famine, gravity sickness, disruption of the magnetic fields, and radiation poisoning.

Amidst the disaster, Walker portrays the ordinary travails and triumphs of a twelve-year-old girl, Julia. Julia has noticed that the calamity has also affected relationships with her friends and family. Once popular, she is now the odd girl out who desperately wants to be noticed by the cool boy on the bus, Seth Moreno.

As the days and nights grow longer, everything is thrown into chaos. The children have later and later school start times. Some go off the clock and live in "real time" communities.

This novel definitely made me appreciate the smaller things in life. At one point, Julia and Seth collect the last few blades of grass in the neighborhood. Sunlight, birds, fresh fruit are small "miracles" that are only noticed when they disappear.

This startling debut that raises many questions will interest both adults and teenagers.