This was a very thought provoking look at the near future in a world where the Great Storm has led to the UK becoming the first country in the world to introduce a form of rationing on energy consumption to try and combat the effects of global climate change. An innocuous enough start to the year with Laura’s family having to make changes to their usual lifestyle such as virtually eliminating car use, significantly reducing the time they spend watching TV and using the computer, and cutting back on the central heating. Gradually, Laura’s story reveals how much the changes affect her and her family, her friends, college, neighbourhood and society in general. Newspaper clippings, printed emails, leaflets and posters are “stuck” in, adding an authenticity to the diary format.
Incredibly accessible, this book has some great science and climatology without being too scientific, facts, figures and theories are put forward in a way that neither preaches nor condescends, and the mixture of teenage life, the changing climate and the sociological implications of the situation give a well balanced story that I can imagine causing some interesting discussions in a classroom environment. What I think it does most, is ask the reader to question the “facts” we are given in the media and to think about the implications of the short term decisions made in society today.
I would say that it is definitely a YA book. I like books for this demographic, and I think that while there is plenty for adults to enjoy, there is content designed to appeal to teenagers (relationships, rebellion, peer pressure, etc.) which might put some people off, but for me I felt that it added to the authenticity of Laura’s world, showing that no matter what the situation, some of the things that teenagers go through will always stay the same.
There is a second instalment “The Carbon Diaries 2017” out now, and I will definitely be looking to get hold of a copy to see how Laura and the world are coping another year into the future.