The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
Julia is a typical eleven year old living in Southern California. She has a crush on a boy, problems with friends, and sometimes doesn’t understand her parents. Then one day the slowing is announced. The world isn’t turning the way it used to. Days are getting longer, and longer, and it’s getting really obvious that life is changing. When a day reaches past 30 hours the government steps in and announces that the world will be living on clock time. Days are still considered to be 24-hours but sometimes that means Julia is going to school in pitch darkness and going to sleep in bright sunlight. There are those who feel life is meant to be lived by the rising and setting of the sun and there is some fighting between the clock-timers and the real-timers. All Julia wants to do is survive middle school but the slowing is really making life difficult.
Global catastrophe through the eyes of a pre-teen is an interesting concept. She fills us in on the troubles of the wider world (a rotation of the earth climbing towards 48 hours, wheat crop failures, radiation fears) but she is mostly focused on what is going on in her immediate universe. How her best friend has left, the boy she likes is mad at her and her mother is suffering from the newly coined gravity sickness.
Never oppressive or depressing, it is food for thought. How would you handle something so devastating? How would you choose to live your life? And really, are the things we worry about every day actually worth worrying so much about?