Discussion Guide: The Age of Miracles

1. As readers, why do you think we’re  drawn to stories  about the  end of the world? What special pleasures  do these  kinds of narratives offer? And how do you think this element works in The Age of Miracles?

2. Julia is an only child.  How  does this fact affect who she is and how  she  sees the world? How would her experience  of the slowing  be different  if she  had  a sibling? How would her experience of middle  school be different?

3. How much do you think  the slowing alters Julia’s experience of adolescence? If the slowing  had never happened, in what ways would her childhood  have been different?  In what ways would  it have been the same?

4.  Julia’s parents’ marriage becomes increasingly  strained  over the course of the book. Why do you think they stay together? Do you think it’s the right choice? How much do you think Julia’s mother does or does not know about Sylvia?

5. Julia’s father tells several crucial lies. Discuss  these lies and consider which ones, if any, are justified and which  ones are not.  Is lying  ever the right  thing  to do? If so, when?

6. How  would  the  book change if it were  narrated by Julia’s mother? What if it were narrated by Julia’s father? Or her grandfather?

7. Why do you think Julia is so drawn to Seth? Why do you think he is drawn to her?

8. Did you identify more with the clock-timers or with the real-timers? Which would you be and why?

9. The slowing affects the whole planet, but the book is set in southern  California.  How  does the setting  affect the book? How important is it that  the story  takes place in California?

10. How  do you feel about the way the book ends? What  do you think lies ahead for  Julia,  for  her  parents,  and for  the world?

11. The slowing throws the natural world into disarray. Plants and animals   die  and there  are changes in the  weather. Did this book make you think about the threats that face our own natural world? Do you think the book has something  to say about climate change?

12. If you woke up tomorrow  to the news that the rotation  of the earth had significantly  slowed, how do you think you would respond? What is the first thing  you would do?