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The Age of Miracles
An incredible amount of hype surrounds this slim, intimate tale of a possible end of the world scenario. My hope is that readers will be able to put that aside and enjoy this lovely coming of age novel without too many preconceived notions.
That said, when a New York Times review compares a book to a Ray Bradbury short story (“All Summer in a Day”) raised expectations are to be, well, expected.
Karen Thompson Walker gives interesting interviews on Goodreads and in a Shelf Awareness Maximum Shelf feature, and talks about her novel in the U.K. book trailer.
The Age of Miracles would make an excellent, thoughtful student bookgroup pick, and Random House has kindly provided a Reader’s Guide.
Walker will be participating in the SLJ SummerTeen webinar. Join us!
And finally, this novel was included on a great genre summer reading list created by the ALA RUSA-CODES Reading List Council Members, and published in Library Journal. The list includes two books in each genre, one new, one from the past. The Age of Miracles is the current SF pick, with Into the Forest by Jean Hegland as its counterpart. Another wonderful crossover novel! Two young sisters are living on their on in a forest in California after society breaks down. What a great pairing.
* WALKER, Karen Thompson. The Age of Miracles: A Novel. 269p. Random. June 2012. Tr $27. ISBN 978-0-8129-9297-7. LC 2011040664.
Adult/High School–Just before Julia’s 12th birthday, scientists announce that the Earth’s rotation is slowing. Bit by bit, the days and nights increase in length. Gravity takes a greater hold on the planet, making it hard to run, or kick a soccer ball. As this is happening, Julia struggles with the betrayal of her best friend, ominous cracks in her parents’ relationship, and Seth Moreno, a gorgeous yet distant boy in her math class. The enormous drama of Earth’s inexplicable behavior intrudes on every aspect of her young life, changing the way Julia and her peers think about their lives and their imaginable future. Like the adults, the sensation of impending doom casts a shadow of reckless abandon over ordinary events. When Julia falls in love, she falls completely. While the plot elements of the novel may seem familiar, particularly in light of the current flood of dystopian literature aimed at the young adult audience, readers will find themselves swept wholeheartedly into Julia’s story. The writing elegantly focuses on the unraveling of life on Earth from the perspective of one girl living in an ordinary, even tedious, cul-de-sac in a California neighborhood. But from this perspective, Walker portrays the horror and pain of an entire civilization facing extinction. Like Shirley Jackson, Walker blends the blandness of the everyday with the encroachment of something very terrible. Teen fans of dystopian literature should go for this one. However, the novel is multi-dimensional enough to appeal to readers of romance and mystery as well.–Diane Colson, Palm Harbor Library,FL
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About Angela Carstensen
Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.
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