Forget Harry Potter: Saci Lloyd thrills teenagers with a heroine who battles climate change and extremism.
Not many sixth-form teachers from east London can claim to have said “No” to Johnny Depp, but Saci Lloyd is getting used to her double life. By day, she teaches A-level students at an inner-city college: by night, she is one of Britain’s most successful crusading authors.

Her first book, The Carbon Diaries 2015, shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards last year, already has a slavish following among teenagers in this country and in America. The futuristic story introduced the world to a hapless new heroine, Laura Brown, a figure who now threatens to become as potent in the entertainment industry as Harry Potter.

Depp’s film-making company, Infinitum Nihil, was negotiating in the run-up to Christmas for the right to make a screen version of the book, but Lloyd has finally decided to stick with Company Pictures, which made the television series Skins and Shameless and which will now produce Carbon Diaries for the BBC. “I have turned down Johnny Depp this week and that is not something I ever expected to do,” said Lloyd.

Her new book, a sequel called The Carbon Diaries 2017, is out this month and takes Laura Brown into a frightening era where climate change is busily altering all the norms of modern existence. Laura, a teenager who plays in a band called the Dirty Angels, is the kind of feisty character that readers who are tiring of Potter’s tame school scarf and round glasses will welcome.

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I wonder how Johnny Depp would have done this… Well, I guess we’ll never know. But if you have time and want to try something different, I highly recommend this book; the reviews are good, it’s interesting and and fun, and it gives you a different way of seeing things.

Had you heard of The Carbon Diaries 2015, before?