Elena's Reviews > Empty

Empty by Suzanne Weyn
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Feb 15, 2011

really liked it

Empty:
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 issues. Will the town be able to pull out of this struggle? One theme in Empty is that the world needs to change its ways because people need to trust each other, vital resources will run out, and global warming will begin to strike.
One reason why the world needs to change its ways is because people need to trust each other. This is shown a lot in the book by the conflicts between the characters. In times of trouble, people become desperate; they’d do anything to stay alive. A scene that describes this takes place at a grocery store, “‘What’s going on?’ […] ‘They’re fighting over the food. The store is nearly out and closing down. Those who haven’t been able to get any are attacking people as they come out with their bags” (127). If everybody had worked together, they wouldn’t be in this situation. The store could have evenly allocated the food, and there would be no fighting. We need to learn how to cope with each other, so that we can all subsist.
Another reason why the world needs to change its ways is because vital resources are running out. The earth’s natural reserves aren’t endless. Even now, the world is finding out that some supplies are less accessible, and is trying to find alternate energy sources. In the novel, oil had reached a dangerously low point, and was extremely expensive, even a war had started over it! Most towns lost their power. Tom has to deal with it like everyone else, “[He] thought that school might be canceled because of all the blackouts and the hard time people were having finding fuel. Most kids hadn’t been able to charge their tablets, and teachers were being discouraged from using the electric boards” (33). At this point, most of the oil left was fueling the army in Venezuela to try and acquire their oil. That left towns living off of one gas station that they all shared, first come, first serve style.
Lastly, the world needs to change its ways because global warming will begin to strike. The weather will heat up like it did in the book and create disasters. Apparently, there are such things as super hurricanes, which are two separate ones that coalesce together. Unfortunately, Sage Valley was hit pretty critically by one. The town was flooded and people had to travel by boat. Tom witnessed firsthand the tragedy: “Neighbors instantly noticed him and opened their windows. ‘Hey Tom, can you take me to the doctor?’ ‘I have money for food. Can you buy me some?’ ‘Tom, the mold is making my sister sick. She needs to get out of the house’” (118). People were receiving illnesses from the water that was flooding their basements, and keeping them jammed inside. Unless they had a boat, there was no way for them to go anywhere. One guy’s trailer had blown away and he was left homeless. The book shows that we need to stop pollution and global warming before it gets too late.
One theme in Empty is that the world needs to change its ways because people need to trust each other, vital resources will run out, and global warming will begin to strike. I would rate this book four stars because it was excellently written, but it gave me anxiety about the world ending. While reading this book, I noticed that it was very similar to Life As We Knew It. The main characters had to fight to stay alive and not starve when they all ran out of food. Also, in both books the kids had to start to take charge because sometimes the adults didn’t know what to do. After reading this book, I realized that everyone needs to take part in saving the planet. You can’t just say you’re going green, but never actually do anything to help. That’s just being a hypocrite. Buy a hybrid, shorten your showers, walk to school, etc. This topic is a serious matter; don’t ignore the truth before it’s too late.
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