Julia and her mom get in a car accident, and Julia recognizes the strength her m0ther has obtained from the slowing, even though at the same time, she is becoming weak too. Her father's affair with Sylvia is continuing, and the guilt he carries with him becomes obvious when Julia gives him a little back talk and his persona remains serene. Julia herself is experiencing a few problems in her own love life when Seth Moreno returns home and she is still no closer to him than she was before he left
A major theme in this story is "Not all people are translucent." This is the case for most characters in The Age Of Miracles, for example; Julia's parents. Both are very hard to "read" in the sense that it seems that Julia thinks she knows her parents until the slowing happens, and she starts to catch a glimpse of the darker sides they have been hiding.
The author gives very "traditional" roles referring to the genders. The woman is usually seen as weak, as in this case with Julia's mother. She is sick and emotionally unstable. Julia's father also fits the traditional gender role of "the man of the house". Usually, it is the father that works late that, after a catastrophe, starts to find refuge in the arms of another person. The stereotypes in this book are very real. You can also see stereotypes in Gabby. She is an example of a troubled teen, including her lawyer mother that she hates.