Reviews for Compound


Booklist Reviews 2008 April #2
Ever since their world was destroyed by a nuclear attack, 15-year-old Eli and his family have lived in the Compound, a state-of-the-art bomb shelter built by his billionaire father. Despite having every comfort, Eli is haunted by the fact that his twin and his grandmother were left behind. He also begins to question his father's sanity after an inventory miscalculation threatens their survival, and his dad hatches a morally corrupt plan to "enhance their food supply." Eli's worst suspicions are confirmed when he discovers a live Internet signal using an old laptop. Did the world really end six years ago? Why else would Eli's father want to keep his family underground? Debut novelist Bodeen effectively builds the claustrophobic suspense with each chapter as readers slowly discover the Compound is not the refuge it seems. Combining elements of Margaret Peterson Haddix's Running Out of Time (1995) and Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go (2005), published for adults, this postapocalyptic thriller will also pique the interest of Nancy Werlin and L. J. Adlington fans. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

----------------------
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Fall
When Eli was nine, his autocratic billionaire father led his family into the Compound, an extravagant underground bunker built to protect them against nuclear war. After receiving word that a strike had been launched, they had forty minutes to get inside and lock the door behind them (a door only Eli's father can open again). In the chaos, Eli's twin Eddy was left behind, and Eli, the self-identified "evil twin," spends the next six years in bitter guilt and loneliness. Now fifteen and worried about the dwindling food supply and his father's disquieting plans for supplementing it, he begins to question the one constant of his restricted existence: is the outside world really gone? To follow the clues, he must work through not just his father's suspicious habits but his own selfish, even cruel, tendencies. Bodeen's straightforward, action-packed writing conveys through apt detail the Compound environment -- physical and emotional -- and its subtly debilitative effects. As the plot builds from unease to intrigue to outright peril, Eli believably and satisfyingly grows from a spoiled, disturbed bully to the persuasive and empathetic (if still disturbed) man of the family. Taking full advantage of a unique premise, this tense portrait of a family in crisis probes the psychological and moral costs of survival. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

----------------------
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2008 #3
When Eli was nine, his autocratic billionaire father led his family into the Compound, an extravagant underground bunker built to protect them against nuclear war. After receiving word that a strike had been launched, they had forty minutes to get inside and lock the door behind them (a door only Eli's father can open again). In the chaos, Eli's twin Eddy was left behind, and Eli, the self-identified "evil twin," spends the next six years in bitter guilt and loneliness. Now fifteen and worried about the dwindling food supply and his father's disquieting plans for supplementing it, he begins to question the one constant of his restricted existence: is the outside world really gone? To follow the clues, he must work through not just his father's suspicious habits but his own selfish, even cruel, tendencies. Bodeen's straightforward, action-packed writing conveys through apt detail the Compound environment -- physical and emotional -- and its subtly debilitative effects. As the plot builds from unease to intrigue to outright peril, Eli believably and satisfyingly grows from a spoiled, disturbed bully to the persuasive and empathetic (if still disturbed) man of the family. Taking full advantage of a unique premise, this tense portrait of a family in crisis probes the psychological and moral costs of survival. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

----------------------
Kirkus Reviews 2008 April #1
A teen questions the world his father has created and finds some shocking answers. Fifteen-year-old Eli and his family live in the Compound, a state-of-the-art underground shelter designed by their billionaire father to withstand a nuclear attack and protect them for the "next fifteen years in luxurious comfort." After six years of isolation, Eli still thinks about his twin brother Eddy and his grandmother, who were "accidentally" left behind the fateful night his father herded everyone else into the Compound and locked the door. Eli wonders why his mother keeps producing children, why his father stays in his locked study and why certain supplies are running out. When Eli unexpectedly connects to the Internet, he discovers his father has sealed them away from the real world. As his awareness of reality grows, Eli matures from a callow kid into a caring person who knows it's up to him to save his family. Suspenseful and riveting, this debut novel raises serious issues about what it means to survive. (Fiction. 12+) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

----------------------
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 June #1

Bodeen, acclaimed as the writer of such picture books as Elizabeti's Doll, turns out a high-wire act of a first novel, a thriller that exerts an ever-tighter grip on readers. Eli, the 15-year-old son of a billionaire techno-preneur, has spent the last six years with his family in the massive underground shelter his father has built, knowing that nuclear war has destroyed the world he knows--and killed his grandmother and his twin brother, who couldn't reach the compound in time. With nine years to go before the air outside will be safe to breathe again, the food supply shows signs of running out, but Eli's father has a solution--provided they jettison all morals and ethics. Repulsed and already suspicious, Eli begins investigating his father's claims, and sets up a family death match against a man who grows increasingly irrational and sinister but no less powerful. As far-fetched as the premise may be, Bodeen keeps Eli's actions true to life and uses clues planted fairly and in plain sight. The audience will feel the pressure closing in on them as they, like the characters, race through hairpin turns in the plot toward a breathless climax. Ages 12-up. (June)

[Page 47]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

----------------------
School Library Journal Reviews 2008 July

Gr 7 Up-- In a burst of panic about a nuclear attack, nine-year-old Eli, his sisters, and his parents move into an underground bunker built by Eli's billionaire father. It's an enormous complex, with rooms similar to those in the family's Seattle mansion. Only his grandmother and twin brother don't make it in. The first six years of the planned 15 have been fairly routine, but now some food has spoiled, and certain things just don't seem right, or even possible. Eli is starting to have doubts about his father's motives, explanations, and sanity. Readers might find the first third of the novel to be slow as a lot of time is spent developing Eli's character as a spoiled, self-centered child. There is considerable foreshadowing, and astute readers will likely figure out the ending. As the years pass, Eli is full of teen angst and anger that develops into a realization of what he must do in order to help his family survive. The novel becomes full of tension and suspense and turns into a true edge-of-the-seat thriller. There are numerous social issues addressed that could lead to great classroom discussions.--Dylan Thomarie, Johnstown High School, NY

[Page 94]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

----------------------
VOYA Reviews 2008 June
Eli Yanakakis is only nine when his family seeks shelter from a nuclear disaster in a private underground compound. Eli's twin brother and grandmother were locked out before the doors shut, and six years later, Eli still harbors guilt over an undisclosed role he played in their delay. The compound's plush environment has turned into a prison. Cooped up and cut off from any news of the outside world, tensions simmer, but Eli's father will not let them leave for another nine years. When some of their food supplies become contaminated, Eli's father plans some truly gruesome survival measures, beginning with tricking the children into drinking their mother's pumped breast milk. Eli begins to wonder exactly how far he will go to survive, just as his father's odd behavior makes him question whether or not the nuclear disaster was real. This creepy psychological thriller features a refreshingly flawed protagonist in Eli, who matures through his ordeals and learns to stand up to his overbearing father. Most of the family dynamics are realistic: Sibling squabbles do not preclude occasional tenderness. It is difficult to imagine why Eli's mother initially complies with her husband's bizarre plans, although Bodeen offers a somewhat convincing backstory to explain it. The suspense builds gradually to a satisfying conclusion that leaves room for a sequel. Offer it to fans of Life as We Knew It (Harcourt, 2006/VOYA October 2006), The Shining (Doubleday, 1977), and older fans of City of Ember (Random House, 2003/VOYA June 2003).-Tracy Piombo 4Q 3P J S Copyright 2008 Voya Reviews.

----------------------