China Mieville writes a form of science fiction categorized under the heading weird. This is his first book for young people.
Unlondon is an alternative world where all of London's waste is dumped. Here are used milk cartons as pets, flying buses, half-ghosts and all sorts of delightful characters. Here are apartment towers known as moils made of such items as used computers.
And here a powerful enemy trickster is taking over the world using smog. A book of prophecy foretells of a heroine swazzy coming with a klinnaract (clean air act) to save everyone. But the book got quite a lot wrong and only bits right. Swazzy wasn't at all brave when she turned the wheel that transported her and her friend Deeba from London to Unlondon. After several harrowing adventures Deeba manages to get herself and swazzy both back home. But Deeba has formed friendships with some of the wacky inhabitants of Unlondon and wants to save them and Unlondon from the smog. So, she climbs a library ladder up and up until she is back in Unlondon. Several false starts including trying to follow a series of seven tasks slow down her attempts to save the world. Since the evil one is someone everyone trusted Deeba has an even harder task of convincing folks that he is the enemy and she is right. Deeba is strong and determined and eventually saved the day in this wacky adventure/ecological disaster science fiction story. Deeba is no hero though when all is over she just wants to go home. Loved this book. JDW 8/27/09