The Compound

The Compound

4.3 340
by S. A. Bodeen

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Eli and his family have lived in the underground Compound for six years. The world they knew is gone, and they've become accustomed to their new life. Accustomed, but not happy. No amount of luxury can stifle the dull routine of living in the same place, with only his two sisters, only his father and mother, doing the same thing day after day after day. As problems

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Eli and his family have lived in the underground Compound for six years. The world they knew is gone, and they've become accustomed to their new life. Accustomed, but not happy. No amount of luxury can stifle the dull routine of living in the same place, with only his two sisters, only his father and mother, doing the same thing day after day after day. As problems with their carefully planned existence threaten to destroy their sanctuary—and their sanity—Eli can't help but wonder if he'd rather take his chances outside. Eli's father built the Compound to keep them safe. But are they safe—really?

The Compound is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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)

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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

Kirkus Reviews
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+)

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.

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Product Details

Square Fish
Publication date:
Compound Series, #1
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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?”

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The Compound 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 340 reviews.
Taya Conlon More than 1 year ago
I just couldnt put this one down. Looking for something to quench my insatiable thirst after the hunger games trilogy, the maze runner and ender's game--this one did it! Very well written. Short enough and quick enough in plot development to keep any reader's attention at all times, and yet chock full of enough detail to paint a full and everlasting picture without getting bogged down in it. A satisfying quick fix for a newly addicted sci-fi/fantasy/future dystopic society junkie!
Michael_McBride More than 1 year ago
It's an excellent book. Very read-able if you're into incredible plot twists, confinement, rich guys, nuclear fallout, cliffhangers, and inhuman experiments. I was flippin' papers all night. I'd recommend it for ages 13+. -Michael McBride Timber Creek High School Class of 2012
STran More than 1 year ago
I have recently read "The Compound" for a certain project. It was a good, mysterious book about a boy named Eli. At the beginning of the novel, he is nine years old. There was 'apparently' a disaster going on with nuclear explosions, so his dad took his family to escape to a secret compound. The compound is very safe, and no one can open it without a secret code, although no one even knows about it. Eli's brother, Eddy, and their grandma are left behind, so they are seemingly dead. In my opinion, "The Compound" is a great story. It gives you an intense image while reading. As more secrets are discovered, the reader would want to keep reading. There are many twists and turns to the story, as well as many unexpected outcomes. This is a great story to try out. "The Compound" will entertain almost all readers with its mysterious nature and excitement. Here is one little spoiler: everything is a total lie. Given that, and the plot summary above, you'd really be wondering how things could work out. I'll tell you only one thing, just read the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was definitely an easy read. Some say it is slow in the beginning, however I don't completely agree. Sure there isn't much action, but it was still interesting and necessary for the plot. I do agree that everything felt a bit rushed once Eli began questioning his father and investigating. The end sequence was also rushed and left me wishing the plot was more suspenseful. Overall though, a great read and supremely interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
when I first read this, my mind totally exploded. this book is the best I have read out of all the other ones. you have to check this out!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book because i had just recently read the Hunger Games, and loved them. I have always been into science fiction and was looking for a good read to get hooked on, just as i did with the Hunger Games trilogy. This book has plenty of twists and turns, but personally i felt like i was not in love with this book because the author did not make you feel as if you knew the characters. The story line was strange, and altogether i feel like the main thing that is lacking is details to move the story along. I was never hooked on this book, but finished because i dont like not finishing things once i start. If you are a reader that gets bored easily if nothing exciting happens at first, i dont reccomend buying this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the best books i have ever read. It is amazingly well-written, with a cliffhanger at the end of every chapter. I read this book in a matter of hours! This book will appeal to all!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a heart-pumping experience that will keep you on the edge of your seat for the whole ride. There are many twists and turns as young adult Eli's world is abruptly stopped from living the rich and easy life style. He must now learn to adapt to his new lifestyle, trust family, and enter the compound to escape a nuclear fallout. He must now find out is he safe, or sorry?
Annibebe More than 1 year ago
I don't know what to say about this book. Read the synopsis of the book on B&N and then dive in! A little bit of a cliche, but with some unexpected turns thrown in!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book defines the word secret. I just finished this book last night I tried to put it down but howerver could not... I loooovvvee to read and it hurt that this book ended. The passion and heart put in this book is amazing. The journey you take with Eli and his family is quite shocking and even disturbing, but my praise for this book never will stop...If you pick up this book you will not have any regrets TRUST ME! I wish there could be a sequel to this amazing novel.I HIGHLY reccommend this book!!! 'Love it like I did' You'll love page 190 btw...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this is an awesome book its mysterious and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The only time i wasnt reading it was when i was sleeping. If you know whats good for u youll read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an awsome book. Its mysterious and leaves you on the edge of your seat. You wont want to stop reading it. You wont know whats coming next. Its easy to read, Recommended for teens. Bianca J. Timber Creek High School Class of 2014
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a suspensful novel about a trillionaire family who builds a compound to prepare for the worst. Then the worst happens a "bomb" supposebly drops so they are locked in the compound. The kids soon findout that there was no bomb dropped and that there dad was crazy. The dad and mom secretly had a baby that whenhe got big enough they would eat him. When the kids find this out they get out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This may sound dumb but I don't know it the main character is a boy or a girl. Very poor job done by the author.
Tavin Dotson More than 1 year ago
I give this book two thumbs up!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If the whole world you used to know vanished in the blink of an eye and you had to live in a bunker for 15 years on spam and warm water. With no one but your annoying and literally psychotic family. How would you make it for 15 long years? This is what Eli has to go through. His father made the compound in case of a nuclear attack and that very so happened to the city of Seattle. Now he has been in the compound for 6 years now, wanting a way out. Will he be able to escape? Will he be killed? Or suffer from radiation poisoning? In the book, The Compound, there are parts where people might eat other people and cloning also may occur which may be offensive to some people. Mainly teens and young adults would probably like this book along with people who like realistic fiction books. This book reminds me of how the United States nuked Hiroshima, Japan. As well, to me it was great hearing about the things Eli must go through without beef jerky and a sane family. The Compound teaches us how we take so many things for granted. Sure he has a gym and a TV but no meat and fresh chocolate. This book is breath taking; Tons of people are fans of The Compound. I'd rate this book a five out of five. Will Eli survive in The Compound? If he can how on earth can you get out of a door that's opened by punching in 1,000,000,000 numbers anyway? Who knows, he is a quite bright kid.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very goo book or young adult reading levels. Good plot an sequal is good as well. Anyone who read this will enjoy it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But so far it's a good book. I'm trying to finish because, from what S.A. Bodeen herself said, it's a book that took forever to finish to perfection, and I want to show support. And, yes, I actually got to meet Ms. Bodeen for our book club at my school, where we read Shipwreck Island. She signed my copy of Shipwreck Island, The Raft, and The Compound!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ive read the raft and loved it my pages if thiz book..would apperciate it if someone would gt back to me thanks.:-)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I liked it very much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My son LOVES this book! He cant get enough of it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the second book first.
TylerSzabries More than 1 year ago
The Compound by S.A. Bodeen follows a boy named Eli and his family during a nuclear war and how they handle living in an underground nuclear shelter. The book is wonderful, i just couldn't put it down because of the good word choice, the thrilling plot and amazing character development,  I highly recommend for a quick read.