The Age of Miracles

(2012)
Book cover: The Age of Miracles

The Age of Miracles is the story of Julia as she comes of age in suburban California, featuring bullies, young love, cliques, loneliness, parental troubles, bra shopping, soccer practice, grandpa, and reading in the library during lunch at school.

I forgot to mention that while Julia suffers the above, the rotation of the Earth is drastically slowing. Circadian rhythms are thrown off by the changing pattern of light and dark, affecting humans as well as birds and other animals. Weather and tidal patterns are altered, and there are other ecological tragedies seen through the eyes of the young narrator. The global problems are enough, but social problems arise from the changes as well--the definition of a day turns very political when you consider that financial markets must close some time, and normalcy in the economy is a requirement to prevent total chaos.

And there's so much more. The narrator is small, but this story is huge, yet somehow the author tells it in fewer than three hundred pages. I am amazed by this book, and it is easily my favorite of this year.

But a warning--this is not an adventure story. This is a coming of age story, told from the perspective of a middle-school student. I've seen criticism that the author could have spent more time and effort on documenting the changes that affect the planet were it to slow, but our narrator is not the scientist played by Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day.

I would, however, love to know what research the author did in constructing her setting. Did she talk to scientists or read reports projecting the outcome of such a situation? Or did she come up with this on her own? Either way, it's very imaginative and I would recommend it to anyone, especially to fans of Cormac McCarthy's The Road on account of the skillful writing and the similarity in placing something normal (a father/son road trip, a girl coming of age) in an apocalyptic setting.

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