Thursday, January 3, 2013

BLOG TOUR: EMPTY by K.M. Walton (Review, Interview, Giveaway)

Genre:Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction,  
Publication.Date  January 1st 2013
Published By:  Simon Pulse | 
WebsiteK.M. Walton

EMPTY on Goodreads
My review copy:Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:

Dell is used to disappointment. Ever since her dad left, it’s been one let down after another. But no one—not even her best friend—gets all the pain she’s going through. So Dell hides behind self-deprecating jokes and forced smiles.

Then the one person she trusts betrays her. Dell is beyond devastated. Without anyone to turn to for comfort, her depression and self-loathing spin out of control. But just how far will she go to make all of the heartbreak and name-calling stop?


There are things I’d like to vanish from my life—maybe even a person or two. I’m not talking about killing anyone, but having them gone would be sweet.
Dreams of my future have shriveled into tiny bits of pain. The rest of my walk to school I pretend each pebble I kick is one of my dried-up dreams. It ends up being stupidly unsatisfying because the pebbles are too small. I need stones - solid and strong enough to break windows. My withered-pebble dreams are useless. Empty and weak.
Like me.
I want to feel the surge of pride that comes with hard work and success. How could I have let myself fall apart like this?
I may be a dreamer, but I am not an idiot.

I LIKE THE IDEA OF MAKING THINGS DISAPPEAR. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

     Harrowing, powerful and dark, Empty is, quite simply, an unforgettable read. It's a story of a girl who founds herself in a downward spiral of depression. A bleak and disturbing tale of desperation, bullying, rejection, self-loathing, betrayal, abuse and negligence. An irrefutably authentic, utterly engrossing and supremely readable novel that will leave you tear-streaked and emotionally drained. You absolutely can't afford to miss it.

     Dell is overweight. Since last summer she has gained over 70 pounds. Her life is a big mess. When her father checked out on her and her mom, Dell's "emotional eating" started. She turned to food for comfort and stress relief. Unsurprisingly, this has only made matters worse. Her weight quickly became an out-of-control problem, resulting in even more stress. Her plans for the future and carrier dreams were shattered when she got cut from the school's softball team. The only thing that's keeping her alive is her best friend, Cara, but she, too, seems to be getting more and more distant. Between problems at home and being ostracised at school, Dell finds herself in a very dark place. She is a tough girl. She puts on a brave face and pretends all the cruel jokes, mean remarks, stares and name-calling don't bother her, but on the inside she is crumbling.

     Wow, what an incredibly affecting novel! I feel like my heart has been wrung out like a Shamwow! This one here is going on my-top-favorite shelf and I can definitely see myself coming back to it over and over again.

     Dell's narrative voice is raw, realistic and infused with real emotions. She makes witty jokes and hides behind a mask of confidence and cynicism, but if you look closely you can easily see through her act. You can practically taste the sadness, the fear and the pain this girl is experiencing. You can hear her silent screams. You can feel her desperation and just how lost she is. And you end up genuinely caring for her. K.M. Walton's character development is masterful. All her characters - especially Dell - are convincing, complex and well-drawn. It's virtually impossible not to get emotionally involved in the unfolding events. This book sucks you right in and keeps you hooked on until the very end. I absolutely loved it.

     It's not a secret that I appreciate well-written issue books that explore meaningful (and often difficult) subjects. And Empty is one of the best issue books I have ever read. It's poignant, thoughtful, intelligent and brutally honest. K.M. Walton does not hold back. This book is not for the faint hearted or overly sensitive people. It contains scenes of violence, abuse and some coarse language. And while it's a thought-provoking and eye-opening read, because of it's overpowering darkness I would not recommend it to people struggling with depression or eating disorders. It's just too depressing to stomach when being in a difficult place yourself.

     Overall, Empty was a truly breathtaking and memorable read that will stay with me for a very long time. K.M Walton is undoubtedly a supremely gifted writer and I'll be sure to follow her writing carrier closely !

Interview with K.M. Walton

1. Welcome to Bookish Kate, I'm honored to have you with us today! Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself? 

Thank you very much for hosting me today, Evie. I taught for twelve years and made the transition to full-time author a year ago. I’m married to an incredible guy who I met when I was nineteen, and we have two sons, who are equally as incredible.

2. Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind Empty

EMPTY took a long time to brew, because it was a culmination of my life’s experiences. Back when I was teaching middle school my mission was to make the invisible and forgotten students feel special and seen. Actually I wanted each and every one of my students to feel that way, but I put extra effort into the students no one else seemed to care about. My main character, Dell, is one of those students.

A hideous story in the news shocked me to my core, adding more to the “story brew”: a teenaged girl was bullied to the point that she took her own life. One of her bullies typed in “Mission Accomplished” on the victim’s facebook wall. I just couldn’t wrap my brain around that kind of evil, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. In EMPTY, I wanted to explore the power of negative words. I also wanted to give a voice to the bullied (I did that in CRACKED as well—it alternates POV between the victim and the bully.).

3. Have you always wanted to be a writer? At what point in your life did you decide that writing is something you want to do? 

My answer to this question has morphed over the past year. I used to say that reading certain books inspired me to become a writer. While that will always be part of the recipe, I’ve had some time to dig deeper and really identify the moment I became a writer. It all goes back to an organization I had the privilege to become involved with when I was in the classroom: The Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project (PAWLP). PAWLP is part of the National Writing Project, which is an organization dedicated to educating teachers of language arts to become powerful/effective teachers of language arts. I was lucky enough to take many, many classes through PAWLP, and I became intimately familiar with the power of the written word (both in writing and reading it). PAWLP believes that in order for language arts teachers to be truly effective they must read and write along with their students (it was that belief that changed me forever). When I started writing in my PAWLP classes, and along with my students, a writer was born.

4. What was the most difficult part of the book for you to write? 

The ending. I can’t really go into detail as to why because I don’t want to give anything away.

5. What do you hope readers will take away from reading Empty

I hope readers will see the power of words, hateful words in particular. If a reader has been cruel to anyone in their life, I hope Dell’s story moves to the forefront of their consciousness and they choose kindness instead. There is tremendous power in human kindness (I gave a TEDx talk on the subject of human kindness, which can be seen here:;search%3AK.%20M.%20Walton). 

Here is a quote from my author’s note at the back of EMPTY: I intended Dell’s story to serve as a window into her soul—the soul of a broken human being. I wanted you, precious reader, to feel the pain of the bullied, the neglected, the heartbroken, and the humiliated. I wanted you to experience the absolute power of hateful words – whether said or typed online. Words count.

6. What's next in line for you? Are you working on a new book now? 

I’m currently revising a new contemporary YA about a sixteen-year-old girl whose family and personal life implode. She’s angry, bitter, and a bully. But it’s ultimately a story about growth, self-discovery, and redemption.

K.M. Walton

Bio: K. M. Walton is the author of Cracked (Simon Pulse ~ Simon & Schuster 2012), Empty (Simon Pulse ~ Simon & Schuster 1-1-2013) and the co-author of Teaching Numeracy: 9 Critical Habits to Ignite Mathematical Thinking (Corwin Press 2011 - lead author Margie Pearse) for mathematics teachers K - 8. As a former middle-school language-arts teacher she's passionate about education and ending peer bullying. She gives school presentations on the topic "The Power of Human Kindness." She lives in PA with her husband, two sons, cat, and turtle.


Open to: US Only, 13+

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dates: January 1st – January 6

January 1st – Release Day Blast including – Review, Playlist, Excerpt, Info and Giveaway

January 2nd – Review and Author Interview at Libby Blog with Ange Schmelzer

January 3rd – Review and Author Interview at Bookish with Evie Seo

January 4th – Review and Author Interview at Kaidan’s Seduction with Taneesha

January 5th – Review at Uniquely Moi Books with Jodie Baker

January 6 – Review at Novel Thoughts Blog with Jennifer Dee


roro said...

aww usa allowed
tnx 4 the review

Sara @ Forever 17 Books said...

I can't wait to read this one! I like issue books but I haven't read a lot of them. Speak will always stand out though.

Thank you for the giveaway! That post-it dispenser is awesome! lol :)

Bonnie said...

Evie this book sounds incredible. I just finished a book about bullying that unfortunately missed the mark but this sounds like it would be definitely worth the read. Absolutely beautiful review.

Patty Nightdream said...

Well, that's a tough question. I like a lot of books, but probably the most Fallen by Lauren Kate. On that I'm totally addicted. :o)
Thanks for the giveaway.

Ana Naghi said...

The book is very ineteresting, i sure want to read it!Thanks for the giveaway!

Ana Naghi said...

Tough question...mmmm, let's say Sanctus by Simon Toyne

Unknown said...

This was one of the emotional books that I have read. I was sobbing when I finished. One that I won't ever forget.

Amy said...

What a fantastic review!! I definitely want to read this book. It sounds so amazing and I am a big fan of issue book. The more dark and emotional the better. I love when a book can pull out all of my emotions. This one is going on my TBR list for sure!

erin said...

Sounds fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

Andrea @ Cozy Up said...

Wow, sounds beautiful! I'm really interested in the fact that the narrative voice is so real and emotional. I can't wait to read this book now. Lovely review, as always (Miss you!)

Tammy said...

One of my favorite tough issue book is Sweetest Taboo by Eva Marquez.

Thank you for the great giveaway!


Christine said...

I love books that deal with heavier issues.
Some books that I love are The Fault in Our Stars, Something Like Normal, Pushing the Limits, This is Not a Test, To Kill a Mockingbird (duh!), and Sing Me to Sleep.

Dayle said...

My favourite book with a tough issue is Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. I adore the prose so much, and the story.

Unknown said...

My favorite tough issue book is Willow by Julia Hoban. I loved every minute of reading this book. I cant wait to read Empty, the auhtor's work is amazing.

Thank you for this giveaway.

I hope that you have a happy and blessed New Year!

Lasha Rudder

pointy star said...

I really loved Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and Ballads of Surburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert.

Jamie Leigh Martin said...

Dancing on the Edge: Han Nolan.

Unknown said...

I Talk Pretty One Day is such a wonderful book!

Unknown said...

Oops!!! It is actually titled Me Talk Pretty One Day – By David Sedaris. It has been many years since I have read it.

Steph said...

I really loved Scars by Cheryl Rainfield. Thanks for the great giveaway!!

Unknown said...

Wow. That's a really hard question. I'd have to say Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler. Or maybe Rage. Actually the whole series.

BrittanyUtley said...

Scars by Cheryl Rainfield

alicia marie said...

I've read quite a few I've liked, but I think I'd have to say probably either Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson or Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara is my favorite. Both definitely tore me apart and had me sobbing at times.

Megan said...

I honestly haven't read any tough issue books. Not that I can remember, at least. I will be reading Crank by Ellen Hopkins for the United States of YA challenge and this book sounds really good :) Can't wait to read it. Great giveaway!

Megan @ Megz Madd Readz

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