Author: Suzanne Weyn
Genre: YA / Dystopian
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.
Teens like Nicki, Tom, and Gwen may find what they need to survive. But their lives are never going to be the same again. [via GoodReads]
I know (thanks to Al Gore) about the crisis that our world is in when it comes to our non-renewable resources. But I never really thought of exactly what would happen if we ran out of oil. The things we take for granted... I get the point! It was amazing to read how many things are made with oil. And I'm not even talking about the major things we use it for... I'm talking something as insubstantial as shampoo, lipstick, etc. It was eye-opening.
In Empty we get the three perspectives of teens Gwen, Tom and Nicki. Gwen lives with her older brother Luke, who through his (ahem) connections, can get all sorts of black market items... gasoline, food, etc. Her neighbor Tom (and the boy she's crushing on) lives alone with his mother now that his father passed away. Although money is the least of their worries, it seems that getting a decent meal at the local supermarket is a thing of the past. Nicki is the popular cheerleader, she lives in a mansion in a very upscale neighborhood. Her town is barely feeling the effects of the oil shortage but eventually reality starts trickling in.
Empty is a story that realistically depicts our reliance on petroleum and how the world falls apart when it's finally gone. I truly loved the premise of this story and I had very high hopes for it. In the end, I really didn't feel a connection with the characters and felt some of the dialogue was just unreal for teenagers. I mean, I didn't know half the stuff these kids knew at that age. The story is fast-paced and I do have to say that I learned a thing or two from it. I must forewarn though, it did feel a bit like propaganda on US's dependence on oil. Putting that aside, this cautionary tale definitely gets its point across.