HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Compound
Author: S. A. Bodeen
Cover Artist: Rick Deas
Publisher: Square Fish, republished 2009
ISBN-13: 978-0312370152 Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0312370156 Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-0312578602 Paperback
ISBN-10: 0312578601 Paperback
Related website(s): http://www.scholastic.com (publisher)
Language level: 4
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Said to be for ages 12 – 18 but I would say 16 and up
Rating: *** 3 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Bodeen, S. A. The Compound (Published in 2008 Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York City, NY 10010; republished in 2014 by Scholastic Inc., 557 Broadway, New York City, NY 10012). Eli Yanakakis is the son of billionaire high tech businessman Rex Yanakakis of Seattle, WA. When Eli was nine years old, his entire family was camping on land owned by Mr. Yanakakis in eastern Washington state. Reports of a nuclear attack forced them–Dad, Mom, eleven year old Lexie, Eli, and six year old Terese– into a completely furnished underground compound that the father had built for just such a possibility. Unfortunately Eli’s twin brother Eddy and their Gram, Mom’s mother, didn’t make it, and Eli blames himself for their loss. The survivors have to remain sealed in for fifteen years, but everything they could need or even possibly want had been provided.
However, after six years, various problems arise. Besides the dull routine of living in the same place, doing the same thing day after day after day, the food supply shows signs of running out. And Eli’s father is growing increasingly strange and irrational. So Eli, now fifteen years old, begins investigating his father’s claims and slowly discovers that the Compound is not the refuge it seems. What actually happened that night six years ago? Eli’s father built the Compound to keep them safe, but are they really safe? Will they ever be able to get out? This post-apocalyptic novel is a thriller full of tension and suspense. Unfortunately for a “children’s book,” it has an awful lot of bad language. Eli, who narrates the story, uses the “h” and “d” words quite a bit, and nearly everyone says, “My God,” as an exclamation. Also some near-vulgar slang is found.
While there is no sex or real violence in this story, it is rather dark, somewhat depressing, and very disturbing in parts, especially the father’s plans to address the family’s impending food-crisis, known as the Supplements held behind the yellow door—provided they jettison all morals and ethics. The very idea of having babies just to eat them when their food runs out, with talk of cloning even more for that same purpose, is downright revolting. One might wonder why an author would include such in a book geared for young people. For that reason, I would not recommend it for those under 16 but save it for a more mature reader. At the same time, it’s this very situation that leads Eli to take a strong stand for right against wrong, which is why I give it a fair rather than a poor rating. There is a sequel, The Fallout (2014).