Book Reviews: The Compound (The Compound #1) & The Fallout (The Compound #2) by S.A. Bodeen

Posted December 9, 2013 by Melissa in Book Review | 5 Comments




Title: The Compound
Series: The Compound #1
Author:  S.A. Bodeen
Age Group:  Young Adult
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 248
Publisher:Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: April 29th 2008
Available Formats: Paperback, E-book, Audio
Find it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
Source: Publisher


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?

My Thoughts

I completely devoured The Compound in no time at all.  Despite feeling like a younger YA novel, I could just not get enough. This was one of those novels that I literally could not put down until I finished it.  The writing was simple yet incredibly effective.  The picture that Bodeen paints is one incredibly detailed.  And incredibly creepy and disturbing.  The plot is simply fascinating  and very creative. Within pages, I was on the edge of my seat and stayed there until I finished the last word.

All of the characters are well drawn…you love some and you love to hate others. And in the case of Eli’s mom…you just wonder and wonder. (I’m still wondering to be honest.) Eli himself is incredibly detached and pretty focused on himself as the book begins but throughout experiences a great deal of growth and takes on a great deal of responsibility. This is a very dysfunctional family struggling to survive…and perhaps more importantly…struggling to live.  When Eli starts thinking for himself…starts questioning his father…a tipping point is reached and there is only one inevitable conclusion…and that conclusion might just surprise you.

Aside from all that, this book really makes you think.  I’ve never watched any of those programs about doomsday preppers…but while reading this book and long after I thought a lot about whether I should be doing something to prepare. I’m one of those…fill up the bathtub as the hurricane descends and hope for the best type of people.  I know I’ll never survive a real emergency let alone an apocalyptic event!

SPOILER ALERT:The synopsis and my review of The Fallout may contain spoilers for The Compound.


Title: Fallout
Series: The Compound #2
Author: S. A. Bodeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 336
Publisher:Macmillan/Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: September 24th 2013
Available Formats: Hardcover, E-Book
Find It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
Source:  Publisher


In this long-awaited sequel to The Compound, Eli and his family can run but they can’t hide.

After barely escaping from the compound where Eli’s dad kept his family for six years, they’re learning to acclimate to “normal” life—whatever that is for them. It seems like the entire world wants to know what happened to this high profile family.

Slowly they begin to make their way back into the world, but Eli can’t escape the creeping feeling that they’re being watched everywhere they go. But by who?

Eli’s anxiety is heightened as unnerving information continually surfaces about Eli’s dad’s company. Not to mention the sketchy new friend his twin brother Eddy has. Nothing seems to be “normal” anymore. New people are entering their lives—but who can Eli and his family trust?

My Thoughts

The Fallout is a great followup to Bodeen’s The Compound.  While I didn’t find it to be as much of a page turner…it definitely held my attention.  Seeing how all of the family members dealt with rejoining society and all that entailed was fascinating.  I loved being able to see things afresh through their eyes.  Things of course are not going to be simple for this family and the need to hide out from the media while trying to fit back into society is very challenging.  Add in to that the need for the reunited family to get to know each other and rebuild their relationships and you almost have a powder keg without any need for outside help. Eli’s character still leaves something to be desired…but I can imagine that anyone growing up as he did would have some emotional issues.

Things seem to start pretty slowly with this one but by the end have really picked up pace as new mysteries and some pretty crazy science fiction is thrown into the mix.  I’ll not discuss too much as I don’t want to spoil anything, but the realism of book one was a huge part of what I loved about this story…and the science that’s added into the sequel did leave me shaking my head most of the time.  Suspension of disbelief elluded me.

All in all though, I would definitely recommend this series.  I loved the male POV and loved how thought provoking it was from start to finish.  I’m not sure if a third book is in the works, but I’ll definitely be reading it if there is.

Were They Worth My Time?

4 Timepieces each!

About S. A. Bodeen

S.A. Bodeen

S.A. Bodeen grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. She graduated from UW-River Falls with a degree in Secondary Ed., then joined the Peace Corps with her husband and went to Tanzania, East Africa. Her first picture book, Elizabeti’s Doll (written as Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen) was published in 1998, followed by six other picture books.Her first YA novel written as S.A. Bodeen, the award-winning The Compound, came out from Feiwel and Friends in 2008. The novel count is up to five, with two more releasing in 2015. She has lived in eight states, two African countries, and an insular possession. Currently, she lives in the Midwest with her husband and two daughters.

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5 responses to “Book Reviews: The Compound (The Compound #1) & The Fallout (The Compound #2) by S.A. Bodeen

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