Karen Thompson Walker
Karen Thompson Walker’s The Age of Miracles, published in 2012, is an apocalyptic coming-of-age story set in the disastrous aftermath of a cosmic event which slows the rotation of the earth. Julia, the teenaged protagonist through which we view this story, must simultaneously grapple not only with problems related to adolescence and her sense of belonging, but also with the consequences of the drastic environmental changes and corresponding societal shifts which define the nebulous time in the early days of the apocalypse. Julia experiences first love and heartbreak and grows distant from her parents and friends as they each struggle to maintain composure, while also adapting to an entirely new social order, system of measuring time, and compounding biological hazards.
The YA genre is no stranger to dystopian and apocalyptic fiction— series such as The Hunger Games and Divergent popularized the pairing of teenage protagonists with imaginative world-building, page turning plots, and overt social critique. While Walker’s novel shares some of these characteristics and would likely appeal broadly to fans of the genre, it lacks the same type of sensationalized violence and propulsive plot-driven arc. Instead this story employs a quieter, more delicate tone— relying on Julia’s rich interiority and tumultuous emotional journey to carry readers through the dramatic, but comparatively slow-moving plot.
CRITICS HAVE SAID
- “A tender coming-of-age novel.”–Maureen Dowd, The New York Times
- “Part speculative fiction, part coming-of-age story…The Age of Miracles could turn Walker into American literature’s next big thing.”–NPR
- “Walker creates lovely, low-key scenes to dramatize her premise…The spirit of Ray Bradbury hovers in the mixture of the portentous and quotidian.”—The New Yorker
IF YOU LOVE THIS BOOK, THEN TRY:
- The Dreamers by Karen Thompsan Walker, 2019
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, 2008
- Divergent by Veronica Roth, 2011