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3.27  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,338 Ratings  ·  516 Reviews
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. An
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Scholastic Press
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C.J. Mugleston Bringing politics onto Goodreads.


And by classy I mean very low brow. This is an eventuality for anyone that cares to actually look.…more
Bringing politics onto Goodreads.


And by classy I mean very low brow. This is an eventuality for anyone that cares to actually look. Personally, the writer deserves kudos for being original rather than just going with the cliched. "Ug, thud. Da pollytishuuns nuked dah planet. Dam them."
God and Murica forbid you should ever read anything by Paolo Bacigalupi, award winning novelist he is. You might see social issues in his work.(less)
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Great YA reads for 2011!
44th out of 101 books — 228 voters

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Community Reviews

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Jul 15, 2012 Aleeshas2 rated it did not like it
Empty by Suzzane Weyn was a book that I had to force myself to finish. The overall story bored me to the point that I was skipping many pages at once to get it over with. From the blurb I was expecting a fast moving dystopian sci-fi novel filled with suspense , action and adventure but instead I found a teenage romance novel with yet another love triangle! Don't get me wrong, I do like a good romance novel but the romance was anything but good. It was practically dead and well… plain boring. The ...more
Feb 28, 2011 Claire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: families, middle and high school classes.
The writing is quite straightforward, the characters are consistent, what sings in this novel is the theme. Wake up! We are, for all intents and purposes, out of oil- it is non-renewable!
When the near east, Canada and Alaska run out of oil- the US declares war on Argentina to force opening of new oil fields for our use. Bolivia, holder of lithium, joins Argentina against the US.
At home, 17 year old Gwen is living under the radar, her mom split years ago and she and her older brother Luke are t
Sue Moro
Feb 21, 2012 Sue Moro rated it did not like it
Shelves: ya-books
The blurb on the back, and the cover drew me in, but there wasn't much else to like about this book. The plot sounded interesting, 10 years from now and the planet is running out of fossil fuels. No gas. No oil. No driving means supermarkets are empty. No medicines. No electricity.

The main characters in this book, Tom, Gwen, and Niki are more worried about who is going out with whom, than how they are going to survive. Was a "love triangle" necessary in this book? Their reactions to things, like
I had high hopes when I picked up this book. The plot/scenario sounded interesting - no matter what side of the "green" debate one stands on, I don't think anyone can deny that oil will run out some day, whether it's in the near future or a few generations from now - and I've grown used to young adult books dealing with dystopian, apocalyptic or just plain disaster plots in an intelligent and decently written way.

So, yes, "Empty" held a lot of promise for me. Unfortunately what it turned out to
Apr 04, 2011 Joe rated it liked it
It is 2021. Gas climbs to $40 a gallon, then to $80 a gallon, and then runs out completely. The U.S. has invaded Venezuela in a fruitless bid to corner the last drops of the petro-economy. Not only are people not driving, people are unable to buy any petroleum products including cosmetics, pens, crayons, and a thousand other everyday items. More chillingly, the grocery stores are empty, children are hungry, and America is sinking into anarchy.

Empty follows the experience of some high school stu
Oct 23, 2012 Seth rated it did not like it
Are you an aspiring author who lacks confidence that your manuscript can cut the mustard with a publisher?

Read "Empty" and feel your confidence in your work become FULL.

If this can get published, then surely you can!

I've always lived under the assumption that an author submits a manuscript and then the editor reads it and suggests revisions. I get the impression that in this case, they ran spell check and decided it was good to go.

Our local Borders went belly and so they had a several-weeks clea
Oct 09, 2010 P.M. rated it really liked it
17 year old Gwen Jones worries most about the fact that her mother left her in the care of her older brother Luke and ran off with her boyfriend. If anyone finds out, she knows that she will be put into foster care. That worry becomes lost in the chaos of the US going to war with Venezuela over oil. When that happens, the small town of Sage Valley undergoes major trauma with violence over the availability of gas and the cost. When global warming fuels a superhurricane that devastates the country ...more
Jennifer Rinehart
Feb 28, 2012 Jennifer Rinehart rated it did not like it
I hate to be so harsh, really, I do, I don't give one star reviews without a lot of soul searching (and whining to my pals about what a lovely story this could have been), but Empty is a great big disappointment to me.

Following are my three reasons for giving this such a low rating;

One, the characters are vehicles for exposing the problem of oil scarcity (a noble goal) but it is so stolidly done that it is hard to like or care for them. Over and over the reader is subjected to the characters lam
Briar Rose
*Review also posted at Briar Rose Reads

I must confess: I am a bit obsessed with dystopian and post-apocalyptic YA fiction. For me, as with most people, it probably started with The Hunger Games, and grew from there. Soon after reading The Hunger Games, I found Carrie Ryan’s haunting, claustrophobic The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and I was hooked. Though those two series are very different, they share a kind of raw desperation that I found beautiful, and I’ve been searching for more of it ever si
Read this review at Smash Attack Reads!

Interest in the book: Any time the new Scholastic catalog is released, I jump at the chance to read any of their titles that have a dystopian or post-apocalyptic setting. I especially loved the idea of Empty, as it poses some really good questions on how the heck life would go on without fossil fuels. Society relies so much on these nonrenewable resources, and it’s downright scary to think about what life would be li
Katy Jane
Jun 01, 2012 Katy Jane rated it it was ok
It took me about 2 weeks to read this. Why?
-The writing style was forced and confusing. One chapter would be in July and then the next would say, "Saturday Gwen got up." But you wouldn't realize it was 2 months later until halfway through the chapter. The very beginning of the book said 10 years from now. Ten years from what date? Not until the middle of the book do we find out that it is 2003. Time references were awful.
-The story was too easy and forced. Gwen went into a mine. She stored a fl
Abby Johnson
Aug 15, 2010 Abby Johnson rated it it was ok
Shelves: blogged
As oil reserves run out and oil prices skyrocket, resulting in shortages of everything, three teens in a small town in New York will have to figure out how to survive. I had such high hopes for this book and I think the premise is really interesting, but stock characters and unrealistic dialog made this one a miss. I think that kids who read it may learn some things about how oil is used that they might not have realized before, so it might have classroom applications. Aside from the cover (whic ...more
No just No. I am starring at the book right this minute and wondering why I let its aesthetic appeal, well, appeal to me. the cover is pretty, the title intriguing, and thats about it. the only character with any semblance of believable human traits is Gwen. thats about it the others are bland and robotic, no teenager I know talks like that. is this dystopian?? I don't even- read this book if you want to be preached over and over and over again. Am going to read some bleach now.
Dec 21, 2014 Jacquelyn rated it did not like it
Ugh. This was such a boring book.. I don't even know what happened and truthfully, I don't care what happened. The characters were so flat and this book was a waste of my time.
Jan 24, 2014 Austin rated it it was amazing
This book is a must read. If you see this book in a library or on the shelf at your local book store, do yourself a favor and pick it up. This is a book that will open your eyes at what could happen in a very near future. It is books like these that I personally love. There is a mix of fiction + possible non-fiction that I love to see in books. I love to see books like this that can open peoples eyes on things that are going on, or could be going on, in the real world but keeps to it's fiction s ...more
Mar 09, 2011 Jayman rated it it was amazing
This book was very good it had a very powerful plot, and it also makes you think about what people might do if we ran out of oil.
Sarah Insomnia
Apr 25, 2012 Sarah Insomnia rated it it was ok
I picked away at this book a few months back, just reading a few pages here and there. Finally I figured there was no excuse for me not to finish it, so I did.

I feel mean giving this book two stars. But I have to be honest- the more I read it, the more the reading felt like a chore, which is why it took me months to get through (because I was more focused on reading more captivating novels). I just never felt like I could find it in me to care about what happened next... The characters were dist
Jan 24, 2012 Sensitivemuse rated it liked it

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 we
Jul 12, 2011 Carolyn rated it it was ok
The idea of this book really reeled me in. The cover was cool, the blurb about the book seemed promising, but once I actually opened the book it went downhill. Maybe it was because I had such high hopes for this book. What I couldn't get over was how obvious the moral and theme of the story was and all the information Mr. and Mrs. Curtin provided sounded like it was right out of a textbook. If I wanted instructions on how to save the planet, I would've opened up my Science textbook. I was lookin ...more
May 18, 2011 Jesus rated it liked it
Well i choose this book to read because i thought it looked interesting and it was it looked like it was a well writen book and i liked it. I could say that this book is realistic fiction because this actually could happen in the future so i would not cosider it non fiction but i believe is realistic fiction because this actually could happen if you see whats going on in the world right now. I believe it takes place in New York but the little town that was mostly the story in was called Sage Val ...more
Feb 15, 2011 Elena rated it really liked it
The End of the World
How do you imagine the world ending? Does everybody die? Does the human race start all over again? In Empty, a science fiction novel by Suzanne Weyn, three normal teens are not prepared for what’s happening around them. Tom, Gwen, and Niki all dwell in present day Sage Valley, New York when global warming finally hits. The world’s oil has run out, and the weather is cooking up some major storms. Along with these problems, they still have to contend with everyday teen i
Isabella Caballero
Mar 28, 2012 Isabella Caballero rated it liked it
Empty, by Suzanne Weyn, tells a story about the world in the future and what human beings have forced it to be like. People like Gwen and Tom must live in a world with no oil, gasoline, and extremely limited power. Seeing as almost everything everyone needs and uses uses oil, the whole world is left in a state of catastrophe. On top of all these problems come the normal, being-a-person, troubles making things even worse. Even food is scarce due to the food not being able to arrive at the places ...more
Rebecca Weimert
Rebecca Weimert
Science Fiction

Empty follows three teens, Gwen, Nicki, and Tom as they struggle to survive after a super hurricane, and virtually no oil for gas. Gas has risen to $40-100 a gallon and is nearly impossible to find and now the U.S. is in a war with Venezuela over oil. After the hurricane hits Nicki and Tom fight to save their family and themselves from a massive flood, and Gwen is alone in the forest struggling to find a warm dry place to stay, until she discovers a model green home
Lani H
Plot Summary-
"Empty" by Suzanne Weyn is a story about a community called Spring Valley that has to live without oil. When we think of things we can't live without, we think of food, water, and shelter, but no one really realizes the importance of oil. In this world where people had to live their daily lives without oil, they couldn't get to work anymore so many were fired or laid off which left them with no money. Heat and electricity were very hard to get without oil. Lelia is worried about sur
Mar 09, 2011 Avery rated it liked it
This book is such an eyeopener and I actually found myself freaking out more and more while reading it. Imagine that gas becomes scarcer and more expensive than it already is (seriously, within the last couple of days in Southern Ontario gas has increased by 8 cents a liter- great). I never knew to what extent we relied on gas an if it were to become non-existent how it would affect everyday life (seriously, no TV! How would I watch my darling Damon on "The Vampire Diaries"?!? No fresh food/ pro ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

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 contr
When I pick up a dystopic YA novel about the US crumbling when oil slowly runs out, I do not expect to find that two-thirds of the way through I will be introduced to a magical perpetual motion energy generator that was manufactured and put on sale to the general public years ago.

(To clarify: In the book, it's not run on magical power. It's run on magnets that rely on attraction and repulsion to spin around and "produce five times more energy than they consume".)

So that was annoying. Particularl
Sep 12, 2011 Roxy rated it really liked it
Shelves: dystopia
So I actually quite liked this one considering it was so simple and small. Unlike many other dystopians of late this one actually does focus on the events of the world and how this affects communities and how people's behavior might change during disasters and all those other things that dystopian lovers look for. There's romance, but it's not the most important thing in the story. The book is short, so you don't have tons of descriptions and character developments, but the characters do develop ...more
Mar 29, 2012 Hannah rated it really liked it
Recommended to Hannah by: Mansi
This book shows you what could happen in our future. It could possibly not be a problem in our generation, but it will be for our children, and the people after that. Gwen, is in a tragedy. The world is running out of oil. Oil that powers and makes some of the necessities for everyone. People can't use their cars to travel because gas costs so much. It made me think about how my life could be if we don't change things. The enviroment is not that important to us right now, because we have everyth ...more
Jul 05, 2013 Maggie rated it liked it
The premise was very interesting, and I am now completely paranoid about why gas prices are rising, but the dialogue bothered me! It felt stilted and unnatural in many places. This author obviously knows that dialogue is supposed to reveal character or move along the plot, as it was VERY obvious that that is what each line of dialogue did. However, there was no subtlety, and I felt like I was reading stories written by my students after I had given a series of lessons about dialogue. This would ...more
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Who is Tom's girlfriend: Niki or Gwen? 3 10 May 03, 2015 07:50AM  
Taken it further/First dystopia destined to happen (Spoilers) 3 25 Sep 25, 2013 10:56PM  
Books, Books, and...: Empty: June Group Read 10 13 Jun 10, 2012 08:48AM  
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Suzanne Weyn grew up in Williston Park, Long Island, New York. She has three sisters and a brother. As a girl she was very interested in theater and in reading. Louisa May Alcott was her favorite author, but she also read every Sherlock Holmes story. Suzanne lived pretty close to the ocean and going to Jones Beach was one of her favorite activities Even today, if she goes too long without seeing t ...more
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