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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 7 November 2016
The hours in a natural day lengthen bit by bit, and 11-year-old Julia's relatively sheltered life in a suburban neighbourhood along the coast of California turns topsy turvy. Walker juxtaposes the already seismic shifts in Julia's preteen stratosphere (whether she is navigating the treacherous social minefield at school, or getting a hold on her friendship with BFF Hanna, or suffering the pangs of her first crush on a fellow skateboarding classmate at the bus stop) with the planetary upheaval.

At turns a dystopian sf novel, and a family drama, Walker melds the two genres with a child's perspective (complicated by an adult Julia recounting this episode), which means that the reader never gets weighed down by opaque theories on the unexplained phenomenon. This could be a plus or a minus, depending on your persuasion. Rather, we share Julia's bewilderment and alternating moments of hope and despair as the earth suffers the slow devastation of the change in tides, and the magnetic fields are altered and radiation threatens to burn off exposed skin as the extended stretches of daylight throws off the life cycles of plants and animals and they begin to die off.

The majority of the population stick to clock time regardless of the length of the sunlight hours, to retain some control over their lives, while others stubbornly decide to abide by the rise and setting of the sun, and are called the real-timers. These people are deemed deviants and are soon either forced out of their neighbourhoods or willingly seek out new renegade communities. All well and good, except that a global phenomenon as earth shattering as this also seems suspiciously insulated within California, save some news reports Julia chances upon, usually second-hand from her high-strung mother, reduced to a two-dimensional caricature of a nail-biting, nagging and helpless character throughout most of the novel.

There are poignant moments in this novel, most often found in Julia's relationship with her parents and her grandfather, but my main quarrel with this book is that it moves at a snail's pace, arguably to keep pace with the gradually lengthening days being recounted. And while Walker is far from a mediocre writer, she relies a tad too much on foreshadowing as a narrative device, giving Julia a wistful yet sagely tone at the close of each chapter, signalling to the reader that the worst is yet to come, if she only knew better then.
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on 29 September 2013
One of the best books I've read this year - perhaps ever. I can't recommend it enough, the story has stayed with me weeks after reading. The premise of the world slowing down is fascinating but don't be put off if you don't like sci fi because it's so beautifully written and about so much more. For me this book is about being human at a very basic level, and how human beings react and feel when everything they have ever known, loved and taken for granted is threatened or lost to them. Written through the eyes of an adolescent girl, this works on a personal loss (youth, love, parents) and a wider, more global loss. The writing is so perceptive you are immediately part of this young girl's world and so all that happens feels real and possible. The writing is quite beautiful and evocative, without being pretentious or over the top. I eagerly await this talented author's next book.
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on 29 April 2017
It was a great read and was very realistic. This book is for all ages
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on 21 July 2015
I absolutely LOVED this book and it stayed with me for a long time after. I recommended it to two friends who both equally loved it. The story is worryingly easy to believe and its really well written.
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on 9 August 2017
Thrilling and chillingly sad. To me it describes what the future holds unless we do more to care for Earth
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on 22 March 2017
A well paced and original story with painful nostalgia and a girl's growing up that I'm sure rings true for many people. The constant melancholy and threat only adds to the atmosphere.
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on 8 December 2014
Just loved it! Such an 'odd' little book about an 'odd' occurrence written in such a normal journalistic type way... I couldn't put it down... Not an exciting book but a very interesting and a good read.
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on 3 July 2013
Thought provoking but story slowes with the planet slowing theme....maybe we should all consider building bunkers snd stacking peanut butter...rather not actually.
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on 22 February 2013
I love the premise of the book, although I wasn't particularly fussed on the ending, however I do understand why it was written that way
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on 12 September 2013
I am normally skeptical of Richard and Judy Book Club pics, however this one proved to be worth such a high profile recommendation. The writing is flawless, with just the right note of sentimentality. It's a tale of a normal family in small-town America, who are woken from their slumbering, impervious lives to find that the world has changed forever, and they are forced to confront head-on potentially cataclysmic events, while at the same time being forced to evaluate their relationships with each other and themselves, now that sleep-walking through life is no longer an option.

Walker follows the KISS guide to writing - Keep It Simple Stupid. While the book is simple in both it's premise and writing style, the sum of its parts equal so much more and you find yourself being quite moved and even questioning what you would do in the same situation. It's also got just enough suspense and pace to keep you up at night reading past bedtime. And the evocative childhood experiences that we all can relate to are very sweet too.

Overall a very good read that isn't too taxing. Fans of 'The Help' will like it I expect as there are some similarities. Highly recommend.
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