“WARNING: This is a young adult book. Which is fine, I enjoy YA. But no one has tagged it as such and it is being marketed as an adult book, but honestly it is YA. Calling a rose by any other name does not prevent it from being a rose. It just results in skewed expectations. I expected something classically beautiful and elegant with the unexpected ferocity of thorns, but instead got a daisy. Still pretty but but in a plain way with so surprising pinpricks and more cute than elegant.
The impossible has happened. The world has slowed on it's axis. Days are getting longer by many minutes - and sometimes even hours - a day. What does this mean for society? What does this mean weather patterns? What does this mean for crops? But most of all, what does this mean for Julia? Eleven year old Julia narrates the uncertainty, fear, and eventual struggle to have some semblance of normalcy in the face of the elongation of the days against a backdrop of turmoil between her parents, the losing and gaining of friends, first crushes, and coming of age.
First of all, I greatly enjoyed this book! Hence, the heart. I thought it was an absolute page turner and I thought Walker did a brilliant job of unfolding the story. At first, who is going to notice a day that is 90 minutes longer? No one. She told the initial report of slowing through media sensationalization, proceeded through people's panic, and progressed the story through changes to the Earth as we know it through ever more dramatic events. I thought it was an insightful parallel to what the world is currently facing: we see changes to the Earth's climate but in such small increments that many people refuse to acknowledge the change. At what point will drastic things start to happen and we will be helpless to do anything but watch? For a YA book, this one actually made me think. I loved that.
What I didn't like was that I had different expectations. I read reviews where Ms. Walker was compared to Margaret Atwood and I pictured an Oryx and Crake-like saga rife with science and complex relationships. While this book was good, please don't insult Ms. Atwood with this comparison. I wanted more science! (Said possibly the only person ever.) I was okay with not knowing the big overarching "why" and "how", but scientists could tell why some things were happening. Also, the slowing of the Earth would increase gravity, which was discussed a bit, but I thought it was really glossed over. The relationships were not complex, as most 11 year old female relationships are not, and I felt like Walker stunted the growth of her own debut novel by picking too young of a protagonist. Plus, Julia read as a few years older than 11...more like 13 or 14, which I think would have allowed so much more depth while keeping the story YA.
Again, I REALLY enjoyed this book despite how the end of my review sounds. I just wanted so much more! And, I saw the potential for so much more in Ms. Walker's debut novel. I hope her next effort is truly an adult fiction (or at least properly marketed) and I will be first in line to read it.”