The Carbon Diaries 2017 by Saci Lloyd
|The Carbon Diaries 2017 by Saci Lloyd|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Superb follow up to Lloyd's first diary-style novel about a future with climate change. With her audience nicely warmed up, Lloyd makes it darker and more political than the first, but loses none of the entertainment value. Fantastic stuff.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 416||Date: January 2010|
It's been a year since we read a diary entry from Laura Brown. We left her with a boyfriend and just about adjusted to a Britain in the full throes of carbon rationing. Her nu-punk band, dirty angels, hadn't quite made it, but things were looking rather promising for its future.
Laura's now at uni. Her parents are in Abingdon, trying to become self-sufficient. dirty angels are gigging all over the place. Boyfriend Adi seems distant, though. He's more political, too. And it's no wonder. An increasingly authoritarian government is facing drought in Africa and Europe and the resulting flood (argh, pun, sorry) of immigrants together with the social unrest it creates. The UF aren't happy about all these Johnny Foreigners arriving and using resources, and the 2 aren't happy about them, their implied racism, or the government's lack of attention to the problems faced by the man in the street. The government's response? A violent police crackdown.
dirty angels bag a place on a European tour and Laura looks on it, at least in part, as a chance to escape the horrors of home. She's soon disobliged of that notion - she's actually thrown even more deeply into the spiral of destructive events created by climate change. And if that wasn't enough, Adi seems more interested in Monica than Laura, and Sam turns out to be an excellent kisser...
I absolutely loved Saci Lloyd's first book about Laura and I love this one even more. It continues with the blend of teen chicklit and dystopian sci-fi, but it is quite a bit darker. 2015 was all about losing the luxuries and home comforts of a carbon-heavy lifestyle. 2017 is all about showing how precarious society is, how easy it is for law and order to break down, and how difficult our lives would be if it ever came to pass. If Laura got a rude awakening in book one, she's getting an absolutely vicious one in book two. Lloyd particularly highlights the dangers of water shortages in the future - and climate change combined with population growth without doubt make this a severely under-reported issue in terms of its consequences for us.
But y'know, this book is so not a downer. It's funny and smart and sassy and if it's relevant on the political issues, it's as apropos to the preoccupations of its readership. As Laura tracks Adi across Europe, she's as intent on their relationship as she is on any of the riots or protests she gets involved with. She and her friends fall in and fall out and are impulsive and foolish and kind and, well, alive. They truly are a charimsatic bunch and the teen drama aspects of the book aren't in any way diminished by the overriding theme.
It'll make them think. It'll make them laugh. Will there be a 2019? I sure do hope so.
My thanks to the good people at Hodder for sending the book.
Britain in an authoritarian future is covered by The Witness by James Jauncey and The Declaration by Gemma Malley. Bad Faith by Gillian Philip covers religious fundamentalism rather than climate change, but it has huge appeal. One more step removed, but equally great is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - set in a post-apocalyptic America.
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