Publisher: Random House
Release Date: June 26th, 2012
Genre: Adult Fiction, Science Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours, Publisher
*FTC: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Blurb: On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life—the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.
Review: The Age of Miracles is a beautifully written book. The prose is gorgeous and vivid with some great imagery, but it never goes over the top. The plotting is subtle, and the book is definitely more about the characters than what happens to the world they are living in. That is not to say there isn’t a plot, but it is definitely not a plot-heavy story. It also has some very interesting and well-executed coming-of-age aspects. Make no mistake though. This is not a YA book. It does have a little crossover appeal because the protagonist is eleven, but at the same time, some of the topics covered and underlying themes are more geared towards an adult reader. Most YA books have a very distinctive plot and medium to fast pacing, and I felt this book had more of a meandering style. Definitely a literary book.
It’s also a little difficult to shelve. But to talk about that, you have to understand the setting and plot a bit. Basically, Julia and her family are living in modern times. Then one day, the earth’s rotation starts to slow. It starts to rotate slower and slower, and gradually, over time, the world and Julia’s family starts to fall apart. The days lengthen, the nights lengthen, and suddenly 3:00 A.M. happens in broad daylight, and 3:00 in the afternoon falls in the pitch dark. It messes with everyone’s equilibrium and some people continue to live their lives by the 24 hour a day clock, while others start living on real-time. That is to say they get up with the sun and go to sleep when the sun sets, even when the days grow longer. Scientists have said that our bodies would eventually adjust to a changing world (it’s called a circadian rhythm) but I don’t know about that. Anyway, so that’s what is going on in the world. But the main plot is more about what happens to Julia and her family while all this is going down. That’s the summary in a nutshell. The reason why I say it is difficult to shelve is because it is clearly NOT a dystopian novel, but at the same time, even though the world is ending, it’s not exactly post-apocalyptic either. So it just goes under Adult Fiction and Contemporary for now, even though there is more to it than that. Got it? GOOD.
I don’t really have much else to say. I’m going to leave you with a few passages from the book that I thought were absolutely gorgeous, but I feel like this book needs to be experienced, and there is not a lot I can say that hasn’t already been said. If what I have stated above has you interested in the book, then I definitely think you should read it. But I also think it’s not a book for everyone. There are a lot of the-world-is-ending books out there right now. But this book doesn’t really fit with those books. Even though it’s the same genre, it’s very different. So I can’t say, “If you loved those books you will love this one,” because that is not necessarily true. Here are some quotes from the book that I fell in love with.
When we finally understood what was happening that morning, Hannah and I rushed outside to check the sky for evidence. But the sky was just the sky–an average, cloudless, blue. The sun shone unchanged. A familiar breeze was blowing from the direction of the sea, and the air smelled the way it always did back then, like cut grass and honeysuckle and chlorine. The eucalyptus trees were fluttering like sea anemones in the wind, and my mother’s jug of sun tea looked nearly dark enough to drink.
After the slowing, every action required a little more force than it used to. The physics had changed. Take, for example, the slightly increased drag of a hand on a knife or a finger on a trigger. From then on, we all had a little more time to decide what NOT to do. And who knows how fast a second-guess can travel? Who has ever measured the exact speed of regret?
Gorgeous writing. The whole book is like that. I hope you pick it up if it sounds like something you might enjoy.