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3.9 66
by Suzanne Weyn

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A dystopic look at what happens to one American town when all the fossil fuels run out... It's the near future - the very near future - and the fossil fuels are running out. No gas. No oil. Which means no driving. No heat. Supermarkets are empty. Malls have shut down. Life has just become more local than we ever knew it could be. Nobody expected the end to


A dystopic look at what happens to one American town when all the fossil fuels run out... It's the near future - the very near future - and the fossil fuels are running out. No gas. No oil. Which means no driving. No heat. Supermarkets are empty. Malls have shut down. Life has just become more local than we ever knew it could be. Nobody expected the end to come this fast. And in the small town of Spring Valley, decisions that once seemed easy are quickly becoming matters of life and death. There is hope - there has to be hope - just there are also sacrifices that need to be made, and a whole society that needs to be rethought.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Weyn's near-future novel avoids many of the traditional dystopian trappings in favor of looking at a handful of teens just as the world runs out of usable oil--"It was right in front of everybody's faces, but they pretended it wasn't happening." Goth outcast Gwen, living with her petty criminal brother after being abandoned by their parents, has a crush on her neighbor, Tom. Tom, in turn, wants to date vain cheerleader Niki. They all find their traditional teenage concerns overshadowed (if not obviated) by the growing oil crisis, which has led to insanely high gas prices, shortages of everyday products such as ballpoint pens, and a looming war with Venezuela. As the situation escalates, the lack of oil leads to food and power shortages, creating a snowballing series of crises. Weyn (Distant Waves) nicely handles the teen romance and the attempts to deal with the crisis, but clumsy exposition and infodumps often drag down the first half of the book. Readers who persevere will find the ending somewhat rushed and tainted by deus ex machina. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

Praise for Empty:

"The realistic and thought-provoking scenario is packaged into a speedy read" - Booklist

"Weyn's future has a grimly plausible feeling to it that will draw in readers." - SLJ

Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
Ten short years from now the world is running out of oil, and starting to pay a very high price—more than money—for its unbridled consumption of fossil fuels. Ever since their mother ran off with her boyfriend, seventeen-year-old Gwen and older brother Luke have been living in a rundown house inherited from their grandfather, keeping up the facade that their mom is just bedridden. She has distanced herself from former friends to keep their secret. Hiding behind her Goth makeup, clothes, and hairstyle, Gwen confides only in home-schooled, Mohawk-headed friend Hector. Though she will not readily admit it, even to herself, Gwen longs for the kind of normal life others seem to have, like Tom, the handsome football player whose backyard she can see from her favorite rooftop perch. In a matter of a few short weeks, the "temporary shortage" of oil-dependent products—gasoline, electricity, cosmetics, fresh produce—reaches crisis proportions. Initially, only the rich can maintain their lifestyle, and the gaps widen. Niki, head of the cheerleading squad at Gwen and Tom's high school, is the only one still maintaining her perfectly coifed hair and driving—instead of walking or biking—to school. Polite society begins to crumble and then everything falls apart, socially and physically, when a "superhurricane" devastates the area. The message is not unrelentingly bleak, however, for the end of the old world introduces a new one that the young are poised to embrace. In spite of somewhat lackluster writing and heavy-handed moralizing, the characters are believable and there are timely and important topics for discussion offered here. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Everyone knows that we will eventually run out of oil. Weyn takes readers 10 years into the future to the small New York town of Sage Valley to show just how that might feel. Gwen, Tom, Carlos, Niki, Brock, Hector, and Luke have the same problems as many typical teens. Outsiders Gwen and Luke have never known their father and now their mother has gone missing. Rich cheerleader Niki is trying to choose between two guys. In their world, though, gas is 40 dollars a gallon and rising. America has invaded Venezuela, the last country on Earth thought to have oil reserves. Food and medicine are scarce, the economy is a shambles, electricity can't be counted on, and now Hurricanes Oscar and Pearl have combined to form a superhurricane that is headed up the East Coast. Weyn's future has a grimly plausible feeling to it that will draw in readers. She does resort to a deus ex machina to save the day, and the characters and situations aren't fully fleshed out. Still, this should be of interest to those who appreciated Saci Lloyd's Carbon Diaries 2015 (2009) and Carbon Diaries 2017 (2010, both Holiday House) and any teens who wonder just what the world that they will inherit might look like.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Kirkus Reviews
A likely scenario driving this eco-disaster doesn't quite compensate for a heavy agenda and a wonderfully convenient plot twist. "Ten years from now," five young Hudson Valley residents led by Gwen, a parentally abandoned teen hiding behind a punk persona, struggle to conduct normal social lives as dwindling petroleum resources shoot the price of gas toward triple figures, even basic commodities become locally hard to get, the United States invades Venezuela and, to cap it off, a superhurricane blasts up the eastern seaboard leaving massive destruction in its wake. How lucky it is for her friends and devastated community that during the storm Gwen takes shelter in an abandoned mine and discovers a secret, uninhabited, self-sufficient model home complete with large greenhouse garden and alternative-energy power generator! Along with this happy chance, news items and info-dumps that often read like student reports coexist uneasily in Weyn's narrative of teen breakups and make-ups, dealing with domestic and self-confidence issues and finding ways to cope with change. This effort, though worthy, is unlikely to be taken seriously by its intended audience. (Science fiction. 11-13)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sold by:
Scholastic, Inc.
Sales rank:
File size:
443 KB
Age Range:
12 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Suzanne Weyn has written many books for young adults including Distant Waves, Reincarnation, Empty, and Invisible World. She lives in New York, and you can find her at www.suzanneweynbooks.com.

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Empty 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 66 reviews.
Golden_Reader12 More than 1 year ago
Think about it: no oil which means no gas, a shortage of food that is shipped to us from all around the world, blackouts because electricity has become far too costly, and loss of simple day items such as toothpaste because of the oil goes into making the platic!Its scary how acurate this book COULD be if our society doesn't decide to make some changes, and soon. Suzanne Weyn has took some of the many things that could go wrong (and probably would go wrong) in a futuristic world such as this. However, Weyn does not leave us in a world with no hope, she offers solutions to the problems that everyday people should start investigating before its too late. I read this book in one sitting, only taking me a few hours. It is short but its message is clear. A great book for anyone concerned about our world and what we as humans are doing to it. Weyn is an amazing author and this is a great one to share with friends and family.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a piece of global warming propaganda that has been awkwardly married to a vapid teenage romance novel. The resulting storyline is almost stunningly awful. Major themes include: rich people are bad, but poor people are good; between global warming and the over use of fossil fuels, we are spiraling into a series of cataclysmic events; cheerleader falls for jock who falls for her...but also for emo girl who is pursued by native Amerikan kid who (ironically?) sports a mohawk; adults are too stupid and set in their ways to survive once the earth begins its purge. Skip it.
Sensitivemuse More than 1 year ago
The book had all the things I wanted when I felt like reading about the world going down the drain and what happens when stuff hits the fan. So naturally, I picked this one up. It’s a short read, as it’s less than 200 pages. I wish I could like it more. Yet I couldn’t. Although the situation is realistic and could be very possible, I just couldn’t get into this book. It was dry, and the characters weren’t that great to begin with. There’s also a potential love triangle but the characters just were not likable and there was absolutely no chemistry with any of them that it was almost painful to read. The plot itself was okay, the subject matter interesting but it just did not have enough to really engage me as a reader. It could be also because the bland characters just didn’t do enough to make the plot flow successfully. It does get a little preachy towards the end, with the environment speech - however I have to add that house and how it was made was very interesting and if only houses like that could be made all throughout, perhaps this type of situation could be avoided. I’d say take this book or leave it. It is a short read, but because of the dry plot and the blandness of characters the reading took a bit longer than I expected. The idea is unique but more should have been done to make it a more engaging book to read.
Stephen Adrian More than 1 year ago
This is a must have book. Its a fenominal outlook on what life could be someday.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
If we continue with our wasteful, polluting ways, we might be living on "empty." The residents of Spring Valley may have thought they would always have the luxuries of life, but it is evident now that life has changed even for their exclusive little community. The world's supply of fossil fuels is almost entirely gone. What little oil is left is the subject of wars around the world. Currently, the U.S. is battling Venezuela for control of its remaining reserves. Meanwhile, in the states there are food shortages due to transportation costs, unreliable electrical power, and gas prices at $50+ per gallon. As a result of global warming, the weather has also gone crazy. Temperatures are unusually cool, making some think that the seasons might be reversing. And, to complicate things, two recent hurricanes have joined forces to become one mega-hurricane, wiping out coastal areas and heading farther inland than anyone could ever imagine. Teens in the Spring Valley area are experiencing how living in this new world will be changing life as they know it. Nicki is used to having the best of everything, but now knows the loss of her father's job is going to be one of the easier things to deal with. Tom may be part of the popular crowd at school, but that's not going to keep food on the table and gasoline in his tank. Along with several other teens, they may be able to find a way to begin providing for their community again. Author Suzanne Weyn gives readers a glimpse of a not-too-distant future in EMPTY. If we continue to squander our resources, the end may be near. Reading about how these teens deal with their changing surroundings and lifestyle may encourage us to recognize the error of our ways. At least it provides abundant food for thought.
ReadingAngel002 More than 1 year ago
I think Empty had the potential to turn me into one of those crazy paranoid people who hoard food in their basement and build their own power source, and hoard all the necessities like toilet paper, and toothpaste, shampoo, ect. The fact that the complete meltdown of our world, like what happens in this book, is a really possibility for us in the near future, is so so scary! Empty follows along with 3 teens, who live 3 completely different lives, as they deal with the fallout of our society falling apart without oil. From Nicki, the super rich girl, to Tom, the sweet down-to-earth regular guy, to Leila, the self-sufficient hard-core girl who's been taking care of herself for years. It was great to see it from all of the different perspective, and then to see that once it came down to it, the rich fall just as far as the poor. I took it down to 4 butterflies instead of 5 because there were times that it went on a little much about what could be done to fix everything, instead of the action and the fallout everyone was dealing with. Overall though this was a fast paced read that will leave you reeling thinking about how to deal with this very real possibility of our future.
PrincessNary More than 1 year ago
After finishing THG Trilogy, I moved onto this book. All in all, I liked the book. It kept my attention. However, what disappointed me was the way it ended. It seems like the story isn't over. After finishing the book, I was left with questions. The main characters didn't really develop and there wasn't too much background on them; nor the town. The main focus of the book was the issue at hand; relying on non-renewable resources. My conclusion of the book? It left me feeling exactly as the book title states: Empty.
sweet2u22 More than 1 year ago
This book left me wanting something more. I love dystopian novels with a passion, they're my absolute favorite thing to read. I had high hopes for this book but it fell flat. I wouldn't say it's terrible but I wouldn't ever read it again. There was almost no world-building, and very little character development. If you really want to read this, try getting it from a library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got done reading it just a couple of days before superstorm sandy hit that kinda scared me ( anyone whos done with it nos what im talking about)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Empty is the best book ever in a future filled with romance and adventure all wrapped into one awesome book i am sad she didn't write more but owell my favorite chater gwen is so cool i hope you enjoy this as much as me
SUSANNA Goergen More than 1 year ago
its a very good prediction of our future. a great short read from three different view points.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Do not waste your money. This book is very inaccurate . Also bad characters.
Anonymous 10 months ago
Can we rp at res 12 I think you got locked out of are res.
Anonymous 10 months ago
She walks in shyly
Anonymous 11 months ago
Anonymous 11 months ago
Lays in his bed
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At first the book set you up for so much more. I thought that the climax woul have more importance and suspence. This book left me asking if that was all. I did appreciate the style of the book and the author's use of descriptions so i gave the book two stars. Please take no offense but this book is not for people that do higher level reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its a good but not that much
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It seems like the story is missing parts. The auther had a good idea but the book didnt really have a story. It was shorter than i expected and had a lame ending. In the last chapter it seemed like everything was all better and the charters didnt matter. I wish it was more about the charecters the the idea of the book. Very short read. I liked the theme of the book but it didnt play out well. At thr end of the book it was alot less infomationful then the rest of the book and it kept you wondering but not in a good way. Overall i think the author could have did a better job.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Whats up ... no ones here
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No i just got another rl gf..and she has a nook so im with her.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book describes what can be in the future and has a taste of romance in it too. Its a great book that I think everyone 10-18 should read