International Writers Magazine: Young Adult Fiction Review:
Carbon Diaries 2015 by Saci Lloyd
Published Sept 04 2008
Sam North review
is the UK and Europes future. Carbon rationing, civil disobedience,
petty officials running your life, the death of consumerism and
cheap holidays, any holidays abroad as the economy collapses with
no energy to keep it going.
This is Laura Browns
world, 16, living with a dysfunctional family, lusting after the geek
Ravi Datta next door, hating her anti-social sister who longs for Ibiza,
but ends up in the Carbon Offenders Recovery Programme. Her Dad teaches
Travel and Tourism at College and with no one travelling anymore, hes
made redundant. His whole life disintegrates. Her mother discovers she
cant stand her Dad and vice versa and schools a mess with
Laura failing everything. Everyone in the household has these electronic
carbon ration cards and when its empty, youre out of luck,
unless youre friends with Tracey down the road whos running
a black market in energy.
Laura cant even charge her mobile without the smart meters installed
in every house finding out. Laura hates rationing and envies Europe
where life is still free.
This is an all too plausible picture of the UK that may well come to
this well before 2015, as all the nuclear reactors pass their sell by
date and the Russians turn off the gas and oil. On top of which, with
climate change, it completely stops raining and turns the whole country
into a desert. Laura cant even shower anymore.
Its gritty, depressing and real and should be read by any teen
worried about the future of the UK and Europe. Lauras whole life
disintegrates all around her, but through it and with the aide of Arthur
(89) next door who remembers rationing from the war, she finds strength
and exactly who her real friends are. Her dad discovers gardening and
swaps her mothers car for a pig and some chickens. Everyone has
to survive anyway you can. This just isnt cool for a girl who
plays bass in a wannabe famous hard punk band Dirty Angels. In this
new world you literally sink or swim and Laura tries to make sense of
it, along with Kim, her sister, Adi, the boy in her band Dirty Angels
and Ravi, the boy next door, who perhaps isnt right for her after
all. Laura has a year to grow up or give up as life literally turns
to crap all around her.
This is her daily diary. It is frank, honest and gripping. And when
the drought finally ends the rain goes on forever and life gets even
Staci has brought all the key problems facing the UK together in a fascinating
narrative, with an all too real scenario, that perhaps topples over
too much with the Thames Barrier failing as well. (There were enough
problems with family melt down, no energy and drought). But its
a fast compulsive read and offers genuine insight into the British psyche.
Perhaps we all enjoy misery too much to deserve better. Nevertheless,
whats a girl to do, even as the world turns on her, Laura is still
looking for love and affection, she has needs these things will
never change and she has a good heart. You find yourself liking her,
even though she finds it hard to adjust to this arid existence. It makes
you think, well how would you cope?
The Carbon Diaries should instantly be put onto the GCSE reading
list. Kids need to know what it will be like in the next decade and
get involved now.
© Sam North September 1st 2008
Sam Norths new young adult novel Mean
Tide was published in the summer of 2008.
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