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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 29 November 2008
The Carbon Diaries are based on a fascinating premise - that a switch from twenty-first century lives (cars, mobiles, laptops, foreign holidays, rampant consumerism etc.) to an austere restriction on each individual's carbon footprint takes place on an arbitrary date (1/1/2015) in a drastic attempt to stop global warming and its building consequences. Already European winters are longer and more bitter, whilst summer temperatures and droughts cause different but equally terrible problems for society.
Aimed at teenagers, the tale of 17 year old school-girl and spare-time band-member Laura, and her increasingly dysfunctional family, is told through diary entries that are both amusing yet haunting. The book is generally light-hearted and many entries are very funny as her parents crack up, as she tries to help the elderly gentleman next door and so on. However, it is disconcerting for the reader to realise how very quickly today's society could slide into something very different indeed if, for example, life-threatening flooding and other freak weather conditions become more commonplace so that water and electricity become unreliable or scare resources.
While the cover is appropriately austere, fitting perfectly with a green message and "back to basics" outlook, combined with its similarly plain title this book looks rather like a governmental treatise or academic study which is a shame. I would never have noticed it on the shelf if my friendly and helpful local bookseller hadn't personally recommended it. I'm just very glad they did - and, on buying, so will you be.
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on 4 July 2010
It is 2015 and in an effort to reduce the effects of global warming, carbon rationing as been introduced. This book follows the story of teenage Laura as she and her family struggle to deal with the effect that this has on all their lives.

Parts of this book were enjoyable and easy to read but I then in other parts I found myself losing interest and struggling to keep going. The diary format of the book did make it easy to read but sometimes I stuggled to read the 'newspaper clippings' that had been included as the text was so small! (Maybe that is just me and I perhaps need an eye test!)

This is quite an original plot so I would like to have given a higher rating and perhaps I am being a little harsh as this is aimed at teens and not 30yr olds with failing eyesight like myself!
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on 28 August 2012
I love dystopian YA fiction and was excited to read this because the premise sounded realistic and interesting. Unfortunately the writing let it down in a big way. I found the characters' voices inauthentic, and the storytelling flat and unconvincing in many places.

The diary format can be used to such great effect (and within the dystopian YA genre: see Life As We Knew It: Our world ends tonight (The Last Survivors), a fantastic book) but here Lloyd seems to use it as an excuse for shallow, unimaginative writing. She also seems heavily influenced by the Adrian Mole books, lifting phrases like 'dead passionate kissing' which don't fit with the author's own style, such as it is.

I found it difficult to care about Laura, and agree with other reviewers that the 'street talk' was grating. The tone swung wildly between what the author seems to think 'the kids' talk like, and more straightforward language.

I'd have loved to have read this book written by someone better. Sorry, Saci!
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on 25 January 2009
Really interesting read, enjoyed the diary aspect of the novel as it made it easy to pick up and put down so great for reading on the train, also loved the story. Very original and didn't dumb itself down because it is aimed a the teen market.

Will be recommending this for our teen awards in the library i work in.
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on 17 September 2008
I saw my little sister reading a book for the first time ever (it seems all she does now days is play with the wii) so I thought I'd have a look at what all the fuss was about. I was so hooked after reading th first couple of pages I ended up going out and buying my own copy. It's brilliant. The subject is really something people of all ages should be discussing and it's written in a way that is accessible to the younger generation yet still very amusingly addictive and cleverly written for the older folk about.

Go and buy it.
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on 12 March 2011
The Carbon Diaries is about a girl that writes in her diary to express the changing world around her. It's set in 2015 which isn't long away. This is a scary thought as the book shows how the future could turn out. It has a good message to people to try and stop this from happening, and a good believable character. However in some parts of the book it seems to be a bit slow, and repeats itself. The character had a really negative attitude to things but that would be expected under the things she has to go through the book. I found it a good read, and am looking forward to reading the next one. I recommend this to teens.
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on 22 October 2009
Laura Brown is a teenager in Britain 2015. She has all kinds of stuff to deal with; a dysfunctional family, sulky and difficult friends, the pain of unrequited love, trouble with teachers and trying to make a success of her band. All of these problems are compounded by ensuing climate chaos and the advent of personal carbon rationing as a response. Britain is leading the way in Europe following a tragic storm in 2012 when over 8000 people died. Laura chronicles everyday teenage angst alongside bitter winters, floods, droughts and water and power shortages and the reader gets to see these world changing events through the lens of the mundane and daily happenings in the Brown family. The adults here seem as confused as the adolescents and, although they try to take back control, they are in uncharted waters and their children soon recognise this.

This book brings home very clearly how quickly society can shift with many of the things we now take for granted suddenly becoming scarce. The science underpinning this possible future is well considered and doesn't pull any punches with regard to how soon the impacts of climate change may be felt. Despite this difficult message, Saci Lloyd has written a book that is both serious and humorous at the same time, and created a memorable heroine in Laura, whose dry wit and understandable confusion and exasperation with the world around her is vividly brought to life. Some of the funniest moments in the book relate to Laura's parents attempts to `find themselves' and the embarrassment they cause to their daughters in the process.The message of this book is unsparing and bleak yet leaves you with a sense of optimism as communities are reunited and humanity shines through. Laura Brown could well become the Adrian Mole for a post-carbon society.
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on 17 September 2008
I picked up this book after recommendations from friends, and couldn't put it down till the very last page!

The characters are brilliant, its really funny and also weirdly real. Reminded me a bit of vintage Adrian Mole.
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on 31 December 2014
It is great because it is very descriptive and gives us a truthful, if slightly worrying insight into the near future. 5 stars, I recommend it to any teenagers or children over ten who like reading about everyday problems alongside global issues.
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on 7 October 2011
My students love it! It generates a lot of dscussions in class and it certainly raises awareness about global warming, carbon footprint and the part we play in protecting the environment.
Very well written and soooooooo realistic!
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