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The Age of Miracles

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  66,450 Ratings  ·  10,135 Reviews
People O: The Oprah Magazine Financial Times Kansas City Star BookPage Kirkus Reviews Publishers Weekly Booklist

With a voice as distinctive and original as that of The Lovely Bones, and for the fans of the speculative fiction of Margaret Atwood, Karen Thompson Walker’s The Age of Miracles is a luminous, haunting, and unforge
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 26th 2012 by Random House (first published June 21st 2012)
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Crystal Osborne "This was middle school, the age of miracles, the time when kids shot up three inches over the summer, when breasts bloomed from nothing, when voices…more"This was middle school, the age of miracles, the time when kids shot up three inches over the summer, when breasts bloomed from nothing, when voices dipped and dove. Our first flaws were emerging, but they were being corrected. Blurry vision could be fixed invisibly with the magic of contact lenses. Crooked teeth were pulled straight with braces. Spotty skin could be chemically cleared. Some girls were turning beautiful. A few boys were growing tall. I knew I still looked like a child."
This is actually one of my favorite passages from the book.
Dwight Okita Personally, I think there are two answers to why miracles are in the title. The big miracle is that time is slowing down. The smaller miracles I think…morePersonally, I think there are two answers to why miracles are in the title. The big miracle is that time is slowing down. The smaller miracles I think are the miracles of growing up, falling in love, losing friends, facing your death, etc.(less)
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2013 Tournament of Books Watch List
12th out of 63 books — 395 voters
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Beach Reads 2012
47th out of 220 books — 165 voters

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Community Reviews

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Dwight Okita
Mar 09, 2016 Dwight Okita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I read it in one 24 hour period. Great example of soft sci-fi/fabulist fiction. It's like a cross between Alice Sebold's book The Lovely Bones and Lars Van Trier's film Melancholia. In some ways, I also thought about Diary of Anne Frank. A young girl faces a possible apocalypse in MIRACLES. It's YA dystopia but more charming and whimsical than, say, The Hunger Games. Ultimately it is a book that celebrates life with one hand, as it erases life with the other.

The language of th
Emily May

This is yet another rating I really struggled with because, though I can't say I really enjoyed it, the novel is beautifully written in a very evocative way that makes you want to write down a quote every few pages. But it comes back to that whole writing vs story matter that has stopped me from giving many prettily-worded books a high rating.

The dystopian aspect of The Age of Miracles creeps in slowly and in a mostly subtle and non-threatening manner. Basically, the normal 24 hour day begin
Dec 04, 2013 Jared rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Starts off well but quickly fizzles into a pretty benign coming of age story. Also, while I'm not necessarily a stickler for hard science in my sci fi, it seemed like the author was too lazy to research the actual effects of the Earth slowing and just ignores the basic laws of the physical sciences. So much so that it really did take away from the story.
The whole apocalypse angle was incidental and unnecessary to the plot. A bland story all dressed up with nowhere to go.
Jan 02, 2014 Mark rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Let me start by stating that Karen Thompson Walker received a $1 million dollar advance for this manuscript in the U.S., and another million in the U.K. That's the launch point for this review; whether or not it warrants those astronomical price tags.

[Some spoilers beware]

Before I'd even heard the hype of this book, I was just online researching for more "Semi-Unique End of the World" novels--because I'm probably a misanthrope.

After reading Everything Matters! and Galapagos, I just wanted somet
Emily Crowe
This is the story of how we begin to remember. Well, no, not really. But that particular Paul Simon lyric has been swirling in my head this morning and I was just itching to use it. This is actually the story of the day the earth stood still, uhh, slowed down. And the days after that, and the days after that. Nobody knows why the earth's rotation has slowed, but Julia is eleven the day this discovery is announced on the news, with varying degrees of panic.

At first the effect is subtle, resulting
Sheena Lambert
Feb 03, 2013 Sheena Lambert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most books I read a book serve as a form of escapism, a little welcome holiday from life.
But some books get inside your head, altering how you see your own life, even as you are reading them. Changing your perspective on the real world.
The Age of Miracles is one of those books. The Da Vinci COde had a little of the same effect - I never looked at his paintings in the same way again. But the Age of Miracles did it better. Without spoiling anything, I can say that the book begins with the mass-re
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Read This Review & More Like It On My Blog!

I love when books can surprise you. I had a general idea of what to expect with Karen Thompson Walker's meandering, character and thought-driven novel about the end of the world, but I had no idea how bittersweetly she could spin this science fiction-adjacent tale of change, hope, young love, and death. I somehow assumed that this thoughtful exploration of the Earth's "slowing" would be a young-adult effort, but though protagonist and narrator Julia
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
When John Donne wrote "Busy old fool, unruly sun, Why dost thou thus?" he wasn't thinking of the end of the world. But what if the earth began misbehaving so badly that it made the sun appear unruly indeed? What if the end of life as we know it came not with the Biblical Apocalypse or Armageddon, but instead with a slow unraveling of the diurnal cycle? And what if this happened when you were eleven-going-on-twelve, and just trying to navigate the 6th grade social scene?

Answer these questions an
I'm always wishing for more hours in the day.
More time to spend with family.
Time to finish all those stupid craft projects I've started over the years.
An extra hour or two to set aside just for reading.

But the slowing of the earth's rotation to gain more time...that's not exactly what I had in mind.

In 2010, I watched a show called Aftermath: When the Earth Stops Spinning on the National Geographic channel. (You can watch it on YouTube)
It scared the hell out of me!
As the simulated planet's rotat
Look. I don't live in a vacuum. I know this is one of the most talked about books of the summer. Big displays in bookstores, frequent author appearances on my favorite public radio station cultural programming, reviews in my newspapers and journals of choice (that I didn't read - by the way - so I wouldn't spoil my experience). So hard I did try to consider this book on its own merits, without expectations. But I'm human. Given the hype, I'm gonna hope for a miracle.

Okay, maybe not a miracle. B
Will Byrnes
Growing from pre to teen is tough enough, but when the entire planet slows down, it makes the transition a whole lot tougher. Julia is a charming every-girl living an average life in southern California. Her coming of age joins with a slow-apocalypse vision in a merging of genres.

The ARE volume I read includes no explanation for why the earth’s rotation suddenly begins slowing. [Unless of course, I am an older, blinder coot that I realized, and just missed it] I have read that the cause was sup
The Age of Miracles was both beautiful and extremely frustrating. Beautiful because the writing was exquisite; Karen Thompson Walker writes simply but succinctly. She's very expressive and knows her way around the written word. While I don't think it was as beautifully written as The Art of Fielding, her writing was sophisticated, evocative and nuanced; without trying too hard, her words successfully evoked the images and emotions needed to further her narrative, something which many other write ...more
Nov 13, 2014 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I want you to think how smart humans are. Think of everything humans ever invented. Rocket ships, computers, artificial hearts. We solve problems, you know? We always solve the big problems. We do." -- The Age of Miracles

For a book that is about the end of the world, this is a surprisingly quiet and slow-moving story. 11-year-old Julia wakes up one morning to learn that the earth's rotation has slowed, adding minutes and then hours to every day. The daylight stretches and stretches, and then th
Thanks for the wonderful review that lead me to this, Ceridwen!

I chose to give myself the amazing luxury of taking most of a day to read this weekend. This was the perfect book to do it with. It probably took me all of four or five hours to read, and I surfaced only once or twice, very unwillingly.

The premise of this one is that one day in a time contemporary to our own, the earth’s rotation suddenly alters in a phenomenon that quickly becomes known as “the slowing.” The time periods we are acc
Genia Lukin
Moves from 1.5 to 2.5 stars.

Here's the thing. This book is not badly written, or bad. it's actually entertaining, in a haphazard sort of way. The style is well-crafted, there's a story, and so on. I would recommend the book for a brainless evening on the couch, or for a train ride, or just for someone who needs some light reading, any time. On the other hand, now that I've finished detailing the okay things that prevented a 1-star review, I shall move directly on.

For one, the well-crafted writin
Karen Thompson Walker reportedly received a million dollar advance for The Age of Miracles, her debut novel - an unimaginable sum for a first work, which naturally helped spark a considerable interest in it. The six figure advance and the the anticipation reminded me of waiting for Justin Cronin's The Passage - a novel dealing with the fate of the world after an outbreak of a vampire virus. Ultimately, the reactions were mixed - you can read my review here.

While Cronin aimed at reviving the - if
Kate Z
Jul 10, 2012 Kate Z rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was drawn to this book as a kind of "apocalyptic fiction" (when we come to the "end of the world" how will people adapt and carry on?) but it was more of a YA-type coming of age book.

The book is told from the point of view of 12 year old Julia who lives in San Diego when the earth's rotation slowly begins to slow down. Over the course of the novel a day on earth stretches from 24 hours to over one hundred which means there are 60 hours of day followed by 60 hours of darness or night. The magne
I started listening to this book on Audible, and I can highly recommend the audio - the narrator was very good. However, I got so into the story that when my husband came home from the store with a copy of the book, I quickly put the audio down and dug in to the print. I needed to find out how the story ended. When I started the book, I expected it to be another work of dystopian fiction. I expected a cross between Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeiffer and The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I quic ...more
Apr 18, 2013 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2013
This was either a YA book and I didn't realize it, or it was written for an undemanding audience. Nevertheless, it came at a time when I really needed a short, captivating and mild read. You know, a stress reliving book for the middle of the night. And for an apocalypse novel, this was as chilled out as it gets.

The world is slowing down. Days go on for, well, days. And as we inevitably would, people separate into cliques - those adjusting their sleep cycles to coincide with the light/dark and th
The Age of Miracles details eleven-year-old Julia's coming of age in a California suburb amidst the decline of the earth. The planet spins slower and slower, leading to gravity sickness, shortages of energy, dead birds, and more. In the middle of the chaos Julia comes to terms with the imperfections of her parents, the pains of an awkward adolescence, and her feelings for Seth Moreno, the boy down the street.

Karen Thompson Walker does not focus so much on the science behind the earth's slowing o
Jul 12, 2012 Ellen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, coming-of-age
The world is slowing down, days are getting longer and people continue to live their lives. I kept reading, hoping something would happen or some great insight would be revealed.

Meh. Not sure why this book is getting so much buzz. It could be read (perhaps should be read) by young adults since the main character is 11 going on 12, but even most teens who've read Life As We Know It, would be puzzled.

I guess I suspect to feel something or learn something when reading a book. Disappointed on both
Jan 08, 2016 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good enough that it made me rethink my opinion of Tom Perrotta's similarly themed book The Leftovers, also released this year. In this as well as Perrotta's novel, something like the apocalypse comes to the suburbs. In The Leftovers, the possible rapture vanishes a random assortment of people, many nonchristian. Those left behind continue with their adult suburban lives with the additional problem of militant religious groups (who were not taken away) and a strange doomsday suicide cult.

In the s
The day-lengthening concept and all that the author described with it - coping, survival, etc. - were interesting. I think the (view spoiler)was a bit overdone, but still interesting. The main storyline with Julia, her family, and her friends was never all that interesting to me, though - just okay - kind of felt forced in to the Slowing instead of feeling like a smooth and integral part of everything.
Christine Roberts
This was in interesting take on a young adult, dystopian novel. There are no zombies, no killer viruses, no end of the world catastrophes. Instead of a sudden event, this book explores "the slowing" - an event that changes life on earth forever. It's also a coming of age novel, grappling with training bras, former bffs, and first crushes. Very enjoyable.

I know everyone seems to be reading this novel and I try not to follow the crowd, but this book sounded too good to pass up. The Age of Miracle tells the story of eleven year old Julia and her experience in a drastic change to the world that could be the start of the apocalypse. The world is slowing down and the days are getting longer, first be a few minutes and then by hours. Julia is trying to recount the events of this difficult time; both the end of the world and being a teenager.

This is a
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
On the 6th of October, the earth slows its rotation. Or rather, that's when the scientists share the news with everyone that it had slowed down. It's a Saturday. Julia, an only child, is eleven and at home with her parents and her best friend, Hanna. They have soccer practice later in the day, but everything is abandoned, practice is cancelled, when the news hits. At first, there is panic. Supermarkets are cleaned out of tinned food, bottle water, toilet paper and candles. People pack up and lea ...more
Aug 12, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Eleven-year old Julia is your average junior high school kid in California. She has a best friend. She plays soccer and doesn't practice enough before her piano lessons. She likes a boy who doesn't seem to know that she exists.

Julia and the rest of the world learn that the earth's rotation is slowing down. The scientists don't know why and can't stop it. Days grow longer and longer, nights do as well, and everything -- and everyone -- starts changing.

This book is right up my proverbial alley in
Filipe Dias
Nov 21, 2012 Filipe Dias rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Acabei há minutos de ler este livro. O que me levou a ler, acho que foi maioritariamente a sua introdução, a sinopse. Fala de uma catástrofe natural de larga escala a nível mundial. Eu preocupo-me com o meio ambiente e a sua preservação, logo fiquei interessado neste livro. A capa tem também algo de cativante, assemelhando-se a uma imagem antiga.
Basicamente o que a autora nos conta é a estória de uma rapariga de 11 anos, Júlia, enquanto a catástrofe acontece. Júlia não tem muitos amigos, e os qu
To call The Age of Miracles an apocalyptic book would be quite erroneous indeed, although the premise is just that - the world has slowed down and the day is no longer just 24 hours. The sun no longer rises at 7am and the sun no longer sets in the evenings instead this is a world where 12pm could be as dark as midnight and 3am as bright as day. However while this book is about the slowing of the earth's rotation and all the repercussions that come with it, it is more about an 11 year old girl na ...more
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“How much sweeter life would be if it all happened in reverse, if, after decades of disappointments, you finally arrived at an age when you had conceded nothing, when everything was possible.” 148 likes
“The only thing you have to do in this life is die," said Mrs. Pinsky..."everything else is a choice.” 101 likes
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