The Carbon Diaries 2015 review

The Carbon Diaries 2015 by Saci Lloyd

Holiday House, 2009. 978-0-8234-2190-9

Synopsis: Global warming has ravaged the environment, and in the year 2015, England decides to introduce carbon rationing as a measure toward saving the Earth. Fifteen-year-old Laura’s diary chronicles the first year of carbon rationing and its effects on the country and on her family. She is doing her best to keep her grades up, hold her band the dirty angels together, and see if she can’t get the boy next door to notice her. With storms are ravaging the country and her family is tearing apart at the seams, Laura’s only wish is that things will go back to normal.

Why I picked it up: I lived in Portland, Oregon for a while, and they are really passionate about going green, but what sold me was the sort of science fiction element to go with the environmentalism.

Why I finished it: Laura is a charismatic narrator that immediately draws the reader into the chaotic, enviro-driven world on London in the near future. Within her entries are scattered pictures of her drawings, blurry cell phone photos, copies of her school essays, and email correspondences from her cousin Amy in America. Lloyd has managed to successfully capture a combination of teenage angst, drama, and romance set against a backdrop of the world quite literally falling apart and the strange mix of going green agendas with a sort of science fiction feel helped to color the setting. The story is set in London and Lloyd herself is British, so some of the language and the geography are likely to go over American readers’ heads if they don’t already have some familiarity with British culture. There is a helpful glossary at the end of the book that explains some of the jargon Laura uses in her entries and a bit about the British school system. Also included is an index of websites that promote living green.

Other related materials: The Carbon Diaries 2017 (sequel) by Saci Lloyd; Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi; The Place of Lions by Eric Campbell; Blue Water, Blue Island by Michael T. Barbour; Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose; Life as We Knew It by Sarah Beth Pfeffer; Scat by Carl Hiaasen; Little Brother by Cory Doctorow; Matched by Ally Condie; Numbers books by Rachel Ward; Green Thumb by Rob Thomas; Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French

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