Empty

Empty

3.9 64
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… See more details below

Overview

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)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545328821
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
10/01/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
147,608
File size:
0 MB
Age Range:
12 Years

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