Author: Suzanne Weyn
Release Date: October 2010
Published By: Scholastic
Goodreads Rating: 3.14 stars
Review: It's the near future - the very near future - and fossil fuels are running out. No driving. No heat. Supermarkets and malls are empty. No one ever expected the end to come so quickly, and in the small town of Spring Valley, decisions that were once easy are now life-and-death. There is hope, but only at the price of sacrifices that would force society to rethink itself.
EMPTY brought a frighteningly realistic concept to life in novel form and painted an apocalyptic future in a time not far at all from our present day. This concept itself was interesting to read about, but I felt that by and large, the apocalyptic elements didn't really stand out from other books in the genre. That's not to say I didn't like it, because I did enjoy reading it, but it just wasn't as unique as it could have been.
I also felt that at certain parts of the novel, the story diverged into something a bit too preachy. Perhaps this was just my perception and other readers might feel differently, but the story itself told enough about the dangers of relying too much on fossil fuels. Certain bits of dialogue felt like they were just woodenly expounding on this fact rather than directly contributing to the story.
However, I did find that the characters were well-written and developed nicely. Rather than being flat, each of Tom, Gwen, and Nicki had their own distinct personalities and although they were quite likeable, they still had realistic flaws. Nicki was difficult to relate to at first, but over time, I became more and more sympathetic towards her.
All in all, EMPTY brings an intriguing concept to life, complete with interesting, three-dimensional characters. Unfortunately, this book isn't particularly memorable and doesn't stand out too much among dystopian books, and also sometimes bordered on preachy. I would still recommend this to anyone who really enjoys apocalyptic novels.