I got this out of the library as a recorded book, not really knowing any more than the back blurb. (Our library is wonderful, but recorded books run heavily to thrillers, so anything that wasn’t one, I was interested in.)
Happy occasion, that, because I might not have picked this book up had I realized its vague science fiction premise. Jack and I listened to it together down in our cabin away from civilization, as a break from cutting wood and working on some writing and generally chilling out for Christmas.
The book has two main threads tied together as its theme: what if the Earth simply slowed down in its rotations, what would happen to all the ordinary people living ordinary lives? And what’s it like to be a sixth grader with a crush on a boy while the Earth is dying?
Jack commented more than once that he thought this was two separate books pulled together on the advice of a writing teacher – not that he was complaining, because he loved it. But the odd juxtaposition of sixth grade angst and “well, crap, this is the Apocalypse” works well in the way someone occasionally pairs orange and purple on the catwalk, and that works. It’s a compelling read, perhaps reminiscent of How I Live Now, but more carefully constructed. It’s also not really a teen book, but an adult one using a child’s innocence to tone down horror and fear.
It rushes to an ending that you think isn’t going to work, and that is actually pulled back from disaster by a symbolism so lovely, Jack and I cried. If you like “what happens now” books that aren’t driven by heavy action, if you like thoughtful stories about the inner workings of teenagers, if you are interested in the science of disaster, you’ll like this book.
We loved it.