The Compound by S. A. Bodeen

The Compound by S. A. Bodeen

Fifteen-year-old Eli has been in an isolated, underground bunker since the nuclear war hit Earth six years ago.  His millionaire father had always been paranoid about a nuclear holocaust, and the multimillionaire spent years secretly building the shelter.  When the bomb hit, Eli’s twin brother Eddy and their grandmother didn’t make it to the bunker on time, and ended up dying in the nuclear holocaust.  Eli has never gotten over the guilt of feeling this was his fault, and has become increasingly isolated and hostile towards his parents and two sisters during the past six years.  Even though Eli’s father seemed to have planned meticulously for their supplies to last for the fifteen years it would take for the outside air to be safe to breathe again, certain supplies seem to be running low.  And Eli’s father has been planning some gruesome, if not depraved methods for them to be able to survive the next nine years.  Eli, his mother and his sisters are beginning to wonder if they are better off in this “prison” than they would be taking their chances with the nuclear fallout.

I found this book to be really interesting, if not somewhat bleak.  Even though the main character Eli is extremely unsympathetic, readers will find themselves rooting for him as he tries to make sense of the inconsistencies he begins to discover in his father’s behavior and planning.  Although the ending will not come as a complete surprise to careful readers, it was satisfying and definitely worth readers’ time.  I recommend this book to teens looking for a fast, compelling read, science fiction and suspense fans, and readers who enjoyed Bodeen’s other book, The Gardener.

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