The Age of Miracles is a well-written novel that explores the awkward start of middle school through the lens of a natural disaster.
I picked up the book because of the fascinating what-if premise that explores the ways that life is very slenderly tied to the precise ways the earth rotates. If the rotation lengthened, even by a tiny bit, what would happen? The book doesn’t get too far into scientific details, but it reads as well thought out and believable.
Against the backdrop of increasing peril, the main character, Julia, is enduring the sixth grade, and narrating her memories from the vantage point of her early 20s. Remember sixth grade? How it is kind of awkward and some girls are already pretty and some are still like eight year olds and everyone is trying to figure out how to be a teenager? The author manages to convey a lot of the uncertainty of that time of life and illustrate it with the physical events in the novel, without devolving into a YA-ish book. I thought the writing was clear and sympathetic without being cloying, which I think can be difficult to achieve when you’re writing about the pre-teen/teen thing.
The author also did a nice job of tying the themes going on in the wider world after “the slowing” with what Julia is going through: themes of being an outsider, not knowing how to fit in, realizing the subtext that is going on in adult interactions, and the uncertainty of growing up. If you’re interested in how setting can echo character themes, this would be a good story to consider.
The Age of Miracles is an engaging book, fast-paced and engaging, and I would recommend it.
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