From the Publisher
“* A high-wire act of a first novel, a thriller that exerts an ever-tighter grip on readers. . . . 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.” Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“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 post-apocalyptic thriller will also pique the interest of Nancy Werlin and L.J. Adlington fans.” Booklist
“Suspenseful and riveting, this debut novel raises serious issues about what it means to survive.” Kirkus Reviews
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)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up
Following a nuclear holocaust, nine-year-old Eli and his family race into the underground compound his billionaire father created in this post-apocalyptic novel (Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends, 2008) by S.A. Bodeen. The hatch is slammed shut, but without Eli's twin and their grandmother. The family must stay underground for 15 years until the radiation levels are safe. Fast forward six years and Eli is beginning to have some doubts, as do his two sisters and mother. They have trusted their father, but now he is behaving strangely. Eli believes that his father created the entire scenario as some kind of sick hoax, right down to cloning and creating human babies, The Supplements, who might actually be needed someday as a food supply. Repulsed and frightened, Eli teams with his sisters, his mother, and The Supplements in a race to discover what is really going on, what happened that fateful night, and how to escape the powerful madman who has them trapped. Suspense galore is brought to life by Christopher Lane's masterful reading, fraught with tension, anger, and a gamut of powerful emotions. The taut, fast-moving plot will grip listeners.-Jane P. Fenn, Corning-Painted Post West High School, NY
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+)
Read an Excerpt
I knew what had happened that night. We had been prepared. Other kids got bedtime stories about fairies and dogs. We fell asleep with visions of Weapons of Mass Destruction dancing in our heads. . .
Dad gripped my shoulders and pulled me away from the silver door, twisting me around to follow the rest of my family. What was left of it. I clung to my father’s hand. He rushed ahead of me, his hand dropping mine.
I lifted my hand to my face. It reeked of fuel.
The corridor ended. We paraded through an archway strung with twinkling white lights, then entered an enormous circular room. The place reminded me of a yurt we’d built in school, but about 80 times bigger. The curved walls were made of log beams; the same type which criss-crossed over our heads in an intricate pattern. The roundness of the room was odd yet comforting . . . Dad flicked a switch.
A plasma television dropped down from the ceiling, blank monitor glowing. “I figured we’d be in here a lot.” The blue from the television tinted Dad’s face and blonde hair in a garish way. He startled me when he threw his arms out to the side. “Cozy, yes? What do you think?”
“It’s not what I expected.” Mom’s voice was shaky.
Dad rubbed his jaw. “What did you expect?”