Author: Karen Thompson Walker
Rating: 4 stars
Review Contains Mild Spoilers
Being an 11-year-old can be such a fragile thing. A kid's mind is still developing and tender right as puberty is inching closer. School/homework, crushes and arguing with parents are main parts of everyone's puberty. 11-year-old Julia gives readers a special point of view when the world starts ending. First of all, this is not the average apocalyptic novel. The end of the world is slow and never really happens (more on that later). Issues and drama are planted like seeds--slowly budding and evolving before exploding before Julia's eyes.
Earth's rotation is slowing down. Days grow longer. Daytime and nighttime flip flop. Gravity is a memory and the environment suffers. All things people take advantage of every day. Julia and her family live in California and are forced to adjust to a different life. Readers also get to see how Julia's neighbors challenge and adapt to new ways of life.
I don't know if it's just me but survival of the fittest came across as the underlying theme. All the characters--whether they oppose or support the new daylight rules--survived based on their will to adapt to their liking.
Despite the end of world coming undone, Julia grows up and experiences heartbreak and wisdom. She loses her best friend. Not to death or disease but the natural growing apart what happens between friends and cliques. Julia's crush turns into a good friend and somewhat of a boyfriend. Her relationship with her grandfather is also tested as he prepares for a fallout, feeding on his own government conspiracies. Julia and her parents are tested as an affair threatens to break them apart.
As the novel ends, Julia and her family overcome obstacles and stay together. Several years have passed since the rotation slowed down and while things get worse, Julia deals with the new normal as well as she can. I wasn't expecting anyone to be alive at the end but maybe the end is not always so definitive. The end of the world will happen, just on its own time. While Age of Miracles ended on a bleak note, the concept felt fresh to me.