The Carbon Diaries 2015 by Saci Lloyd

33760399Lynn: Laura’s diary is filled with entries that could be found in any teenage girl’s journal: her crush on the boy next door, fights with her older sister, exam worries and her love for music and her band. What sets this book apart are the other entries! In Carbon Diaries 2015 (Holiday House, 2009) global warming has caused intense storms and weather patterns. England, ravaged by the Great Storm, has volunteered to test carbon rationing, issuing each person a carbon card and reducing energy use by 60%. Set in the very near future of 2015, Laura’s chronicles of her family’s struggle to cope with the deteriorating situation is both fascinating and horrifying in its plausibility. Travel or running a car become too costly. Jobs disappear and it is barely possible to heat a few rooms and buy food. The global weather crisis escalates and Laura’s family cracks under the strain.

Setting this story in 2015 was an interesting choice. It is just far enough in the future to let us believe the environmental conditions could exist and close enough to make it feel like impending reality. Lloyd does an outstanding job of describing the world, gradually adding the details not only of the physical situation but also the political and social conditions that develop. It is Laura’s voice that gathers all the details into a compelling and affecting story. There is real authenticity in her baffled yearning for what used to be normal as she tries to cope with the escalating crisis as well as grow up and sort out life, love and friendship. I was reading this on the day we got 8 inches of rain in 24 hours here in Holland and I almost expected to get my carbon card in the mail the next day! Articles and discussions of global warming bombard us these days but there is a distance to them. This is a book that makes this issue feel immediate and will get teens thinking and talking!



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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