I went in with very big expectations. I know that’s problematic, but there didn’t seem to be any way to avoid it; not any more than I could avoid Walker’s novel itself.
My sister was the first person to mention the novel to me, although I’m sure I had seen its cover in passing. I see so many emails from Amazon and Goodreads, and book mentions on twitter, and trailers at Book Riot that it must have crossed my path at some point. But the one I remember is when my sister told me there was a book blurb that had caught her attention about the rotation of the earth slowing down.
Then my sister Rhi added it to her online TBR and linked it to me. Apparently, she and Kim had colluded: “We want to read this and we know you’ll pay full price for a book!” they said. Hey, I try to go second-hand with my book-buying indulgences, but my resolution this year was to read more new releases…
The clincher came when my co-worker mentioned he was almost finished reading it. What did he think, I asked him. “I didn’t like it,” he said. “It’s written from the perspective of an 11-year-old girl – and I’m an old man!” he laughed, half-serious. He assured me the mechanics and the writing were well executed; he just wanted the intended audience.
I wasn’t surprised when I received an email from the library letting me know my turn in the ebook queue had come up: sometimes the universe just works that way.
A little nervous, I dove into the pages, expecting to enjoy it more than my co-worker. He is an older man – one with good taste, but still. Halfway through the novel, though, I had to admit he was right. The concept was extraordinary and unique, but the writing was a bit uneven. It was depressing, taken in large doses. And even I – she who had just read three YA novels in a row – had to admit that the book didn’t speak to an adult audience as much as I hoped that it would. There were bright spots, though. The action (and consequences) was well thought out and not given to dramatics. It dreamed of the fantastic without ignoring the day-to-day touches to ground it with the tweenage audience. And, my favorite upside of all, while the narrator was indeed an 11-year-old-girl, she was androgynous enough that I thought tween boys might enjoy the book. They might enjoy it immensely. There is such a dearth of books geared towards getting tween boys into reading that when I find out, I pay attention and pass the news along.
Would I recommend the book to others? Sure; if you see it lying around, it’s worth a bit of your time. As long as you understand you won’t become intensely attached and you don’t only read if Disneyfied endings are involved.Age of Miracleswas a decent afternoon’s work. I just can’t shake the what-if results that could have been generated if Ms. Walker had geared her book towards a more adult audience…