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The Waning Age

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  383 ratings  ·  85 reviews
In a parallel present San Francisco, Natalia Peña works as a hotel maid, practices martial arts, and cares for her eleven-year-old brother, Calvino. In this version of our world, all children start to "wane" when they reach Cal's age; by their teen years, they've lost their ability to feel emotion. But Cal isn't waning. When a mysterious corporation kidnaps him for testing ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by Viking Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.33  · 
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 ·  383 ratings  ·  85 reviews

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Katherine Moore
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, 2018-read
It's present-day San Francisco, and ’The Waning Age’ is 10 years old. This means that at that age, it's expected that you will lose your ability to feel emotions. You will not only lose the ability to feel sadness, but also joy and everything in between.

Natalia Peña is the main character in this engaging novel, written as dated entries in a journal, and she has already waned. But her younger brother Calvino, who she calls Cal, has not, and he doesn't seem to show any signs that he will. Since th
Sara (A Gingerly Review)
What, and I mean this next part, the f*ck.

This book made little to no sense.
Melanie  Brinkman
Sep 19, 2019 added it
Shelves: own-g
What are we without our emotions?

In a parallel San Francisco, Natalia works as a hotel maid, practices martial arts, and cares for her eleven year old brother, Cal. In their world children begin to "wane" when they reach their teen years. When Cal doesn't, it sets him apart, causing a mysterious corporation to kidnap him. To her surprise, Nat's crushed. The path she stumbles down to save him is more dangerous than she ever imagined.

Trigger warnings for violence and recreational drug use.

A story
Kate Crabtree
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
What did I just read? The premise is interesting, but it turns out that reading about characters that supposedly don’t have emotions is painful. And, there was lots of telling and not enough showing. I almost DNF this but I’m not a quitter.

Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
The premise was good...?
I feel like it's hard to pull of a world where people do not have emotions, and though I feel like the author didn't do a good job I still give her credit for trying.
That wasn't the issue.
My problems with this book:
#1: The main character was perfect. I HATE characters that don't have any flaws because it's annoying to have the character ALWAYS do the right thing. I feel like Nat lacked depth.
#2: It was disturbing. And disgusting. And not in a good way. There were sever
Feb 17, 2019 rated it liked it
⭐️⭐️⭐️/5. I loved this author’s Mapmakers Trilogy (it is seriously one of me all-time favorites), and I was excited to see something new from her. This one was just okay though. It’s a future where people start “waning”, i.e., losing emotions, at the age of ten. But Natalia’s brother isn’t waning. She isn’t worried, as the age can vary by about a year, until he is taken to a pharmaceutical corporation for testing and never returns. She gets caught up in trying to infiltrate the company and take ...more
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
a story about people without emotions is a bit difficult to relate to. oddly I thought there would be some interesting philosophy or scientific discussion to the lack of emotions, but both the definitions of how people can still laugh and form personal connections without emotions as well as the lengthy science dissertations left me with more questions than answers.
Forever Young Adult
Graded By: Brian
Cover Story: Yawn
Drinking Buddy: Warm Water
Testosterone Estrogen Level: Typical YA Dystopia
Talky Talk: Emotionless
Bonus Factors: The Joy of Sects, We
Bromance Status: A Book That I Have Read

Read the full book report here.
Sarah Dawson
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-dystopian
A very interesting and difficult to write concept. I particularly liked Cal's explanations
Fun neo noir/hard boiled detective novel with philosophical undertones.
Kryssi D'Eredita
Feb 21, 2019 rated it liked it
2.5 it contradicted itself constantly
Apr 13, 2019 rated it liked it
So, I want to start off by saying that S. E. Grove has come out with one of the most interesting middle grade trilogies I have ever read, which is saying a lot, so when I got the opportunity to read this ARC I was ecstatic. The concept of this novel is just as interesting as her previous series, plus there’s (kinda sorta) S C I E N C E. I can’t really explain why I really liked this concept of waning, but I think it’s because it deals with people becoming desensitized with not only violence but ...more
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
I think this book just lost me. It also didn’t seem like the story built up to a climatic ending. It seemed muted or tonal maybe. The storyline seemed like it was going to hold my interest but halfway through I found myself looking at the page numbers and wondering how much longer can the story go on.
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
A Black Mirror-esque standalone with terrific worldbuilding, The Waning Age will appeal to anyone with a taste for the unusual. Nat, a maid in a futuristic city, cares for her younger brother diligently and devotedly, despite the fact that her "waning" means she is devoid of emotion. When her brother is abducted, Nat is confused by the determination that arises in her but there's only one solution: to get him back.
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
In the present day of S.E. Grove’s THE WANING AGE, people no longer feel anything. Due to unknown reasons and phenomenon, people lose all of their emotions starting around their teens in a process called “waning.” Society is now made up of adults without any emotion or feelings whatsoever, and kids who are just waiting for their own waning to occur. The only means in which one can experience emotion are synaffs, synthetic drugs that replicate the feelings of emotions, ranging from blissful highs ...more
Lenna the Unicorn Cat
You can read my review, and others like it on my blog at:

I tried. I really did try with this book. Many reviewers who marked this book down (as it stands currently at a 3.37 average rating on Goodreads) did so because the world-building was utterly confusing for them. I can see that, but I wasn't fully bothered by it since it is an alternate reality. Some parts had me second-guessing, like how each person had an era that they stuck with (some loved the 70
Devon H
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book reminded me of the books I was drawn into as a kid, but more mature. I remember being enveloped in the concept of the book, and enthralled with the characters. This is a feeling I haven't felt often lately, but this book definitely fulfilled those needs. Grove is masterful in finding and drawing out emotions, drawing readers into the world of her characters.

Natalia Pena and her brother Calvino live in modern day San Francisco. However, the world is not the same as we experience it; in
Jenni Frencham
Grove, S.E. The Waning Age. Viking BYR, 2019.

In present-day San Francisco but in a parallel universe, people start to "wane," that is, stop experiencing emotions, around the age of ten. Natalia works at a hotel as a maid and takes care of her little brother Calvino at night. Calvino is ten, but he shows no sign of waning. And when a legal loophole allows him to be taken by a corporation that produces artificial emotions for adults, Natalia will do everything she can to get her brother back.

I lov
D. K. Nuray
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Natalia Peña, also known as Nat, has been emotionless for years. That’s as it should be; most kids in her generation “wane” around the age of 10 or 11. Her kid brother, Calvino, is different. No one knows why, but he hasn’t waned yet. He still has all of his emotions and they aren’t going away. Nat isn’t supposed to love him - she has waned. But when he is kidnapped by RealCorp, which sells “drops” that can make people feel emotions again, she will do anything to get him back, and not just becau ...more
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
*DNF at 120*
I didn't connect with this book. I think that the premise was unique and something I've actually thought about, however, I didn't connect with the characters or the writing style.
We were told in the synopsis that Nat is very skilled in martial arts, but we didn't see her use these talents until page 70ish. If you took the scene out of the book however, it wouldn't do anything to the plot. It was filler to show her talents, and it wasn't moving the story.
Nat was very complex, and I
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Hmmm. There were really cool and scary and believable ideas in this book. It was a good premise and sometimes it was carried out. In my opinion, this novel had a great dystopian world with a great dystopian problem.

However, that is the point. This is a NOVEL. A story, with characters. This is where I ran into difficulties.
I actually found the plot to be excellent. I devoured the book in a little more than an afternoon.

The characters, on the other hand, were not as fully-fleshed as they could
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review is based on an Advance Readers' Edition

This dystopic novel explores a couple of lifeways navigating a society in which feelings wane around age 10. For those who can afford it, legal hallucinogenics are available to give specific feels, but there are the haves and have-nots, illegal trade of tainted meds, and rampant abuse (both in the drugs themselves and in the power to dose). There is a weak but annoyingly didactic inference that the waning was ultimately caused by screentime.

A po
Hypable Books
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Read our full review on Hypable!

The Waning Age by S. E. Grove is a dystopian world you need to visit.

In The Waning Age, emotions are a thing of the past; both the world’s and your own. Children are born with the ability to experience the full range of emotions, but around age 10, they start to “wane.” They lose their ability to feel natural emotions, and are forced to either pay for synthetic effects or lead an empty existence driven solely by logic and rules.

The story takes place in a “parallel
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
The Waning Age by S.E. Grove, 333 pages. Viking (Penguin), 2019. $19

Language: R (12 swears, 1 “f”); Mature Content: PG (sexual harassment); Violence: PG-13 (described suicide, bloody fighting)



Natalia lives with her little brother, Cal, in a world where most everyone loses their emotions as they mature. Except that Cal is still the same exuberant young man he has always been. One day Cal is called in for extra testing at school and then he is whis
Flossmoor Public Library (IL)
3 stars

Natalia Pena lives with her brother, Calvino, in a dystopian world where children lose their ability to feel emotion around age ten. This process is known as waning. Nat’s seventeen, so she’s already experienced her waning. She’s dreading the day Cal goes through his process while trying to raise and provide for him as best she can after their mom’s suicide. One day, Nat and her foster moms receive a call from Cal’s school that RealCorp, a company that develops artificial chemical emotion
Mar 04, 2019 rated it liked it
When sibling sacrifice like the Hunger Games meets a dysopian world like Equilibrium (the movie with Christan Bale--only you aren't killed for having emotions, but studied because the population lacks them without sedatives), you get a really good read called The Waning age. Ads for it popped up on my Facebook feed and Insta page so I finally decided to give it a shot. I really enjoyed following the main character, Nat. It gave a new perspective on emotions (or lack thereof) and how we're all co ...more
Destinee Sutton
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: siblings, teen, audio, dystopia
This was a great audiobook! Super job by all three narrators, especially the main one who also narrated We Set the Dark on Fire.

This is the best The Hunger Games read-alike I've read in a while. Nat reminded me strongly of Katniss -- taking care of her little sibling is her number one priority, she kicks ass, she's emotionally detached, it seems like everyone is out to get her, she's beautiful but not vain, she reluctantly takes on very powerful institutions. I could go on and on. Okay, one mor
Michael Mingo
Aug 07, 2019 rated it liked it
On the plus side, Grove has a knack for writing scenes that take advantage of the uncanniness inherent in the premise (a world in which people lose the capacity for emotion during adolescence); the dialogue is always just slightly off, the gestures more like pantomime than life. Further, she does a good job of highlighting multiple ways in which the appearance of emotion can be simulated (acting, metaphor, moral rules, religion, etc.) without leading to the true feeling of emotion. On the minus ...more
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
A dystopia set in a parallel world in which by adolescence people lose the ability to experience emotion, wane, unless they use emotion-enhancing chemicals from which they can pick and choose. It's also a hard-boiled detective novel of the Dashiell Hammitt variety with Sam Spade portrayed by a teenage girl. Her brother, to whom she is irrevocably attached by something that one might suspect is love, is taken for research by a corporate pharmaceutical company that manufactures the emotion produci ...more
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
Maaaaan, I wanted to like this book so much, but I was disappointed. The world building felt incomplete, there were too many characters and most of them were flat, and the plot was so boring that I stopped and started this book like three separate times. Also, I felt like the subplot with the Fish chasing after the MC was just kind of dropped.

The concept of a society living without emotions has sooooo much potential. Maybe part of my problem was that I expected a novel and MC that was more simil
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