FICTION

The Age of Miracles

Random. Jul. 2012. c.288p. ISBN 9780812992977. $27. F
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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.]

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