Reviewed by Jennifer Jensen

In a future that could possibly become ours, a group of teenagers suffer the consequences of a world that has exhausted its non-renewable resources. Shallow teenager Niki’s biggest concern when the United States goes to war with Venezuela over the remaining oil is that she can’t wear contacts anymore and now has to be seen in her glasses. Second-string football player Tom, who has always had a thing for Niki, finally gets a shot at trying to date her now that the world is quickly falling apart and she is vulnerable. Social outcast Gwen finally gets the opportunity to talk to Tom, whom she has been crushing on for a really long time.

These three teenagers are the main characters in Empty by Suzanne Weyn. Because of natural circumstances that throw the world as they know it out of control, they must work together to once again unite the community of Sage Valley and keep hope alive. While the adults around them give in to their most primal instincts, Tom does a tremendous kindness to his friends and neighbors by seeing that those in need the most get the food and supplies to keep them alive. After Gwen’s home is burned to the ground, she seeks shelter in an abandoned cave. The secret she finds there will give the world a way to start over–if the adults can stop fighting for one moment to hear the voices of their children.

Empty is a bit of a departure from the previous book I have read by Suzanne Weyn. I loved her retelling of Anastasia in The Diamond Secret for the Once Upon a Time series (even if it did too closely follow the animated WB cartoon), and I have another of her books on my shelf to read called The Bar Code Tattoo. I couldn’t resist getting a copy of this book since Weyn is an author I am growing to admire more and more with each book of hers that I read.

At just 192 pages, Empty is a wake up call for all of humanity. It’s a fact that the world is running out of oil and that we need to develop ways to keep our electricity going and our cars running that do not involve fossil fuels. Though this book is geared for ages 12 and up, it is one that parents should read with their children. Then the parents of those children should recommend it to their own friends, until everyone has read this–especially those in positions of power who can begin the change that we need to survive as a race.

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

Review and giveaway copies were provided free of any obligation by Scholastic Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.