Age of Miracles
by Walker, Karen Thompson

A painstakingly researched debut imagines the coming-of-age story of young Julia, whose world is thrown into upheaval when it is discovered that the Earth's rotation has suddenly begun to slow, posing a catastrophic threat to all life. A first novel. 100,000 first printing.

Karen Thompson Walker is the author of The Age of Miracles, which was a New York Times bestseller. She was born and raised in San Diego and is a graduate of UCLA and the Columbia MFA program. A former editor at Simon & Schuster, she wrote The Age of Miracles in the mornings before work-sometimes while riding the subway. She currently lives in Iowa with her husband.

*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. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

In Walker's stunning debut, a young California girl coming of age in a dystopian near future confronts the inevitability of change on the most personal level as life on earth withers. Sixth-grader Julia, whose mother is a slightly neurotic former actress and whose father is an obstetrician, is living an unremarkable American middle-class childhood. She rides the school bus and takes piano lessons; she has a mild crush on a boy named Seth whose mother has cancer; she enjoys sleepovers with her best friend Hanna, who happens to be a Mormon. Then one October morning there's a news report that scientists have discovered a slowing of the earth's rotation, adding minutes to each day and night. After initial panic, the human tendency to adapt sets in even as the extra minutes increase into hours. Most citizens go along when the government stays on a 24-hour clock, although an underground movement of those living by "real time" sprouts up. Gravity is affected; birds begin to die, and astronauts are stranded on their space station. By November, the "real time" of days has grown to 40 hours, and the actual periods of light and dark only get longer from that point. The world faces crises in communication, health, transportation and food supply. The changes in the planet are profound, but the daily changes in Julia's life, which she might be facing even in a normal day, are equally profound. Hanna's family moves to Utah, leaving Julia without a best friend to help defend against the bullies at the bus stop. She goes through the trials and joys of first love. She begins to see cracks in her parents' marriage and must navigate the currents of loyalty and moral uncertainty. She faces sickness and death of loved ones. But she also witnesses constancy and perseverance. Julia's life is shaped by what happens in the larger world, but it is the only life she knows, and Walker captures each moment, intimate and universal, with magical precision. Riveting, heartbreaking, profoundly moving. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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