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The Age of Miracles

by Karen Thompson Walker

Publishers Weekly In this gripping debut, 11-year-old Julia wakes one day to the news that the earth's rotation has started slowing. The immediate effects-no one at soccer practice; relentless broadcasts of the same bewildered scientists-soon feel banal compared to what unfolds. "The slowing" is growing slower still, and soon both day and night are more than twice as long as they once were. When governments decide to stick to the 24-hour schedule (ignoring circadian rhythms), a subversive movement erupts, "real-timers" who disregard the clock and appear to be weathering the slowing better than clock-timers-at first. Thompson's Julia is the perfect narrator. On the brink of adolescence, she's as concerned with buying her first bra as with the birds falling out of the sky. She wants to be popular as badly as she wants her world to remain familiar. While the apocalypse looms large-has in fact already arrived-the narrative remains fiercely grounded in the surreal and horrifying day-to-day and the personal decisions that persist even though no one knows what to do. A triumph of vision, language, and terrifying momentum, the story also feels eerily plausible, as if the problems we've been worrying about all along pale in comparison to what might actually bring our end. Agent: Eric Simonoff, WME Entertainment. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Eleven-year-old Julia awakens on a Saturday morning in her suburban California home to find the world irrevocably altered. Somehow, Earth's rate of rotation has slowed. Julia's physician father and former-actress mother struggle with their own fears as they try to maintain the normalcy of soccer games and piano lessons. Neighborhoods and friendships fracture after families make conflicting choices in coping with the lengthening and unpredictable days. Julia's perspective here is mature because she is looking back on events that began several years in the past, but the accounts of middle-school bullying and cliques ring true, and her coming-of-age struggles are universal even in these heightened circumstances. VERDICT A former editor at Simon & Schuster, Walker sparked a bidding war with this timely and engaging debut. Film rights have already been sold, and the buzz is growing for another entry in child--narrated fiction, which has done well of late (see Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close). This work demands inclusion in any "If You Liked The Hunger Games..." readers' advisory list or discussion and should have the same YA/adult, fiction/sf crossover appeal. [See Prepub Alert, 12/12/11.]-Jenn B. Stidham, Houston Community Coll.-Northeast, TX (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Library Journal This melancholy debut novel examines the impact of a global natural disaster on ordinary people. When the earth's rotation slows to a crawl, resulting in longer days, civilization begins to unravel. Eleven-year-old Julia documents society's steady decline while coping with the challenges of everyday life, such as friendship and first love. VERDICT Beautifully written and with great appeal for both teens and adults, this combination of an end-of-the-world story line with coming-of-age fiction equals a tour de force. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Library Journal The effects on the world-and preteenager Julia-when the earth's rotation slows. Exceptional buzz; Random's Kate Medina declared, "I could not sleep, so excited was I at discovering a new writer to love." (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* This is the way the world ends: by gradually slowing down. When scientists reveal that the earth's rotation has been extended by 56 minutes, there is a minor panic. Twelve-year-old Julia doesn't really recognize what's happening sure, her drama-queen mother starts hoarding food, and she loses some school friends when their families leave town, but at first, life seems to go on as usual. Until the slowdown continues, and it isn't only by an hour anymore the days keep stretching, with no apparent return to normal. The world's governments agree to keep clock time, forcing everyone to stick to a 24-hour schedule, despite sunrise and sunset. Rebels known as real-timers are ostracized and harassed. Some people become afflicted with slowing syndrome, leaving them disoriented and prone to passing out, including Julia's mother, who causes a fatal accident due to a fainting spell. Studies document an increase in impulsive behavior in others, and those seemingly unaffected by the slowing find themselves making bad decisions. All of this has an impact on Julia, who sees her parents, teachers, and neighbors crumbling around her. All at once a coming-of-age story and a tale of a frightening possible future, this is a gem that will charm readers as well as give them the shivers.--Vnuk, Rebecca Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

 

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