Set against the backdrop of a brutal Toronto summer heatwave, seventeen-year-old Jamilah Monsour makes plans for what she’s certain is the beginning of the climate change catastrophe that will end the world. Luckily, Jamilah knows what has to be done to save her family: transform the back alley garage into a bunker. Reluctantly her parents allow the bunker, but they draw the line when she announces she’s going to skip university and instead use the money they had saved for her education to buy solar panels and a generator.
When an electricity blackout strikes, Jamilah’s climate change anxiety kicks into high gear and she ends up staying out all night, infuriating her father who is done with all this doomsday nonsense. Tension at home erupts and Jamilah runs away and joins a climate change protest where she learns about solidarity and agency, giving her hope for the future. When she returns home, her parents see just how deep Jamilah’s climate change convictions run and the family discusses her attending university to study environmental science, a plan they can all agree on. But Jamilah still plans on buying a generator, just in case.
MARY-LOU ZEITOUN is a Palestinian-Canadian author, essayist, arts journalist and activist. Her novel 13 was the YA winner of the 2008 New England Book Festival award and she has had fiction published in Taddle Creek magazine and Canadian Notes and Queries. She divides her time between Toronto and Ottawa, Ontario.
"Climate anxiety is serious, but Jamilah’s witty and at times downright hilarious narration keeps the novel light-hearted."
"An appealing title for environmentally minded reluctant readers."