Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Carbon Diaries 2015

The Carbon Diaries 2015

Saci Lloyd
For ages 14 and up
Holiday House, 2009   ISBN: 0823421902

Laura has, up until now, had a reasonably average life. She lives in an average house in an average neighborhood. She has a family that is dysfunctional in an average way. Then, quite suddenly, everything changes. After the Great Storm - which was fueled by the ongoing environmental crisis - causes havoc across the country, the British government decides that drastic measures are needed. They impose a carbon ration on everyone. If you use up more carbon than is your due, then you will get into serious trouble with the authorities.

The drastic changes that the rationing imposes on the British strains people to their limit. Rioting breaks out, a carbon black market flourishes, and Laura’s family falls apart. All she wants is a normal life; she wants to play with her band the Dirty Angels, and she wants the boy next door to notice her. Is this too much to ask?

Apparently it is, because the situation goes from bad to worse. Fierce winter storms are followed by drought and wild fires. Water is rationed, jobs are lost, and anarchy is barely contained. What will the future be like if the present is such a mess?

In this powerful, moving, sometimes funny and sometimes sad story, Saci Lloyd gives her readers a picture of what our future could be like. Hers is a cautionary tale, but it is also a portrait of a teenager who is simply trying to get on with the business of growing up. She wants normalcy, security, love, and friendship. She wants to fit in and belong. Unfortunately she lives in troubled times and normalcy is not easy to find.

With its meaningful message, its wonderful characters, and its compelling story, this is a title that everyone should read at some point.