A dystopian thriller that crackles with tension, THE COMPOUND is a stunning debut for YA author S.A Bodeen. In its content, as well as its very existence, this novel is a testament to the power of perseverance: the author wrote nine novels before this one was accepted for publication. Writers: never, ever stop. A similar truth faces Eli, the 15-year old narrator of THE COMPOUND.
Six years ago, Eli’s family entered the Compound as nuclear war broke out across the world. Most of his family, that is. Even in the very opening pages, Bodeen delivers heartbreak and pain as not all the members of Eli’s family make it to the underground lair before the doors are sealed shut.
We jump from that first night to six years later. His family have fallen into their sanity-preserving routines, but the cracks are beginning to show, and there are dark, terrible secrets lurking in the shadows, behind closed doors and in mysterious labs. The Compound was constructed by Eli’s billionaire father, Rex. The family have accepted everything he’s told them thus far. But increasingly, things are not as they seem, and truth always has a way of making itself known.
From these few initial hints and clues, Bodeen spins a tense thriller, keeping the pace pounding and the atmosphere electrifying as Eli digs deeper into the real nature of the Compound, and why they are there. This novel races along, the characters are sharp and authentically awkward, the emotions are shocking, and Bodeen choreographs all the elements into a thrilling finale. It’s hard to stop reading, and impossible to resist immediately picking up the sequel, THE FALLOUT. If you’re looking for a great piece of YA sci-fi that thrums with the power of believing in yourself and your possible future, as well as delivering that page-turning, “what’s going to happen next?” urgency of all great YA, this is the book for you. A fantastic debut indeed. We’re lucky that Bodeen believed in herself and this tenth book enough to write it. You should believe in it too.