My rating: (4 / 5)
A little more well-crafted than her Bar Code Rebellion tales, “Empty” by Suzanne Weyn is a look at what happens when oil reserves begin to run low, perilously close to empty in most regions of the world.
There is significantly less violence in this scenario than I would realistically expect in such a scenario, so it is noticably toned down for YA audiences, but there are still some dramatic moments of fighting and discontent – though these are generally skimmed over or only vaugely mentioned.
There were, on the other hand, some things in the book that made me scratch my head – most noticeably the fact that girls were walking around with dirty hair/bodies because they couldn’t get soap or shampoo made from petroleum products. Come on! Detergent based hygeine products have only been around for so long – I know all the stores to hit up if I want pure soap or shampoo bars, and if I couldn’t get to the stores, I know how to make them myself, and have done in the past. Guess I’ll be valuable after peak oil hits! This was mentioned a few times and made me snort with laughter each time in the book. You’ll know who the hippies are by their shiny hair and lovely smelling, soft skin in this scenario. I guess there’ll be a rush on stores like Lush!
Overall, it’s a fun, quick read and a good way to get kids talking about the realities of where our world may be headed. It may not happen while they are still teenagers, but they may see this kind of world happening to their own teenagers one day, unless they read books like this, think about the consequences, and move on to change the world.