The passing of Global Climate Laws of 2030 has at last made an impact on climate change, but 12-year-old Rory has permission to fly with her geologist Mum to the Arctic, where Mum’s new job with a company called Greenlight is finding rare earth metals. Rory has been unhappy at school since her best friend moved away, and her Dad, separated from Mum, has given her a Polaroid-type camera to encourage her to keep track of her adventures. Svalbard, Spitsbergen, Longyearbyen: it’s all very exciting, but when they arrive at Pyramiden, (a real place, an old Russian mining community), they find that Mum has not been given accurate information. The facilities are not great, and there are settlers there, with children, who had nowhere else to go when the mine closed after a terrible disaster. Rory is hopeful of making friends, and eventually breaks down their initial hostility due to her association with Greenlight. The locals are concerned about the number of reindeer dying, and suspect that Greenlight is responsible. The Arctic Council is due to have an inspection, but Mum and her Greenlight bosses deny that anything is wrong. Rory, with her camera, and her new friends set off to prove contamination, and almost get lost in the snow- this is a very exciting part of the story. The ghost of a girl who was killed in the disaster has a significant role in helping Rory to find out the truth and to stay safe.
Rory is vegetarian, and that causes some issues for a community that eats a lot of reindeer meat – there has to be understanding on both sides. Her new friend Mikkal has a pet Arctic fox, Kaiku, who is important, but polar bears are to be avoided and any sightings recorded: it certainly is a very different way of life. Nicola Penfold has written other books set in the future after climate events: Between Sea and Sky finds Pearl living on a floating oyster farm after a series of environmental disasters have left the whole country under water, and Where The World Turns Wild has a family living in a walled city from which nature has been abolished due to a killer disease. The covers of all three books are by Kate Forrester, and will encourage readers to pick them out, and discover unusual stories.