Monday, March 1, 2010
by S.A. Bodeen
Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan), 2008.
This first novel was surprising. Surprisingly great! The Compound strikes close to home in this era of the Internet and streaming video where news stories hit the net within seconds. Because we are so aware of government coups, upheavals, gorilla warfare, and nukes, we are afraid of something happening as it does in this novel.
Eli and his family are forced into a safe compound underground built by his eccentric billionaire father. Eli's twin and grandmother don't make it before the iron door shuts. They are lost to the family. The world as Eli knew it has been destroyed by nukes and radiation. They are only safe stuck in the compound for the next fifteen years. The vault cannot be opened until fifteen years pass and the world is "safe" from nuclear fall-out. His father has planned this safe haven for years and stockpiled supplies, even medicine and a medical wing. They are prepared for anything. Except the livestock start dying, flour is running short, and they are facing a real food crisis. His father has planned for that. Every year a new Supplement joins the family. These are the offspring of Eli's mother and father--yes, children--, but they are not considered part of the family. They are raised in case the food runs out.
Eli and his sister find shocking news. They discover that their father has been in touch with the outside world through the Internet. They wonder, if there is Internet, people are still alive! And if there is Internet, most of the world must be normal! Eli confronts his father about the lies, and the novel continues to shock. Readers who like thrillers will love this one. Recommended for all YA collections, grades 7 and up.