Later, I would come to think of those first days as the time when we learned as a species that we had worried over the wrong things: the hole in the ozone layer, the melting of the ice caps, West Nile and swine flu and killer bees. But I guess it never is what you worry over that comes to pass in the end. The real catastrophes are always different — unimagined, unprepared for, unknown (p 29).
Walker’s evenly paced adult debut novel about an ordinary sixth-grader coming of age in a time of great change could almost pass for a children’s or YA novel. Julia, as an emerging adult, tells her story in retrospect, tantalizing her reader by foreshadowing extraordinary events and infusing the wisdom of experience and hindsight into the telling of otherwise ordinary events.
Middle school is a tumultuous time under the best of circumstances. When the Earth’s rotation begins to slow and the days and nights gradually lengthen, Julia’s coming of age story becomes harrowing. Around this quiet and gradual cataclysmic change, Walker weaves a beautiful story about a delicate girl with a crush on her classmate, Seth, whose mother is dying of cancer, and about her friendships with other female classmates. Highly readable.