This is really where this book shines. Yes, I love the characterization, but I think many readers could overlook bad characterization in this novel because of the plot. There’s always a new twist, that’s foreshadowed enough for it to make sense and yet still deliver impact. I will say my one less-positive thing about this book is that the foreshadowing is quite overt in times; sometimes the “twists” can be see coming. However, because of what those twists are(some of which are truly horrifying), its impact is not diminished.
Unfortunately, this is where this book lost its fifth star for me. Throughout most of the book, the pacing is great, but towards the end everything starts to seem rushed and the main character gets into a situation that should take a bit of time to solve, and instead more or less breezes through it. It’s a sequence of events that goes just a little too fast to make me as a reader feel there was any actual conflict.
OTHER ELEMENTS I ENJOYED
The writing. It’s simple, but effective.
The opening line, “T.S. Eliot was wrong. My world ended with a bang the minute we entered the Compound and that silver door closed behind us.” Aside from being just a really great opening, the T.S. Eliot reference was enough to hook me.
The lack of romance. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for romance when it’s called for, but it’s nice to know that Young Adult books can be written without authors thinking it’s a necessary ingredient.
Final Impression: I thought this was an amazing book all around, with one exception in the pacing area. It’s not quite what I was expecting, but I think that’s why I loved it so much. I am now determined to read some of Bodeen’s other books. I give it a 4.5/5 stars.
The novel starts with a little boy named Eli Yanakakis being hustled into a huge fallout shelter his dad built, known as the Compound, as nuclear war breaks out. Unfortunately, his identical twin brother Eddy and his grandma were left outside to die by accident.
Seven years later, Eli, now fifteen, still lives with the guilt that his brother's and grandma's deaths may have been his fault. He has not had a haircut in all this time, he refuses to let anyone touch him, and he does not get along very well with his remaining family at all - his father is too cold and unsociable, his mother tries her best but can never get through to him, his sisters irritate him to no end, and let's not get started on his baby brothers Lucas and Quinn - whom Eli derisively dubs "The Supplements."
For his fifteenth birthday, Eli receives a music CD from his dad's pre-war stash. But the CD is not a writable copy as he is led to believe - that facade is pasted onto a real music CD, dated after the war. Not only that, but Eli is able to open a brief Internet connection outside the Compound - and even gets to chat with the supposedly dead Eddy. Then, Eli and the girls realize the world outside is still intact and try to get outside - something the head of household is adamantly against.
Thrilling though this novel is, it suffers from a certain degree of predictability. I also had a problem with the subplot about the Supplements - half the time the novel implies they are clones of their older siblings - Lucas in particular is said to look exactly like Eli - and the other half it seems as if they were merely bred to be extra food in case the food supply ran out - which, by the way, it nearly does, due to fungal contamination (Eli's dad eats some of the toxic food and suffers from some NASTY side effects). Read it, but you probably won't enjoy it unless you like predictable and/or overly complex action stories.
I picked up this book because it was reccomended for people who liked The Hunger Games, I read the summary, and decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did. This book is really good. throughout the story the plot doesn't move all that quickly, but I was constantly making new discoveries about their life in the compound that kept me reading until the end. I liked the way that Bodeen made living in a place like the compound a realistic idea. The characters dealt with things that would really be a problem for people if anyone had attempted to live like this. Bodeen almost made it seem possible. There were also a few things that brought an added level of suspense to the story. As, the story progresses you really see what sacrifices must be made if Eli and his family are going to survive in the compound.
Eli is a really self centered at the beginning of the book. As he deals with life in the compound and everything he misses from his old life had becomes less close to the rest of his family over the years. I really came to like him though and thought he really changed toward the end.
The climax of the story was tense. I continued to be surprised up until the very end. There were alot of things happening at once and it was suspenseful and exciting. I don't think I would have enjoyed this book as much if there hadn't been always been that shadow of doubt as to whether they are doing the right thing.
My only problem was that I wish there had been more information about what happened at the end. I felt like it ended a little bit to soon. Overall, though this book was good and you should really pick this one up if your looking for a suspenseful read.
After a nuclear attack six years ago, Eli and his family have been surviving underground in a bomb shelter. The bomb shelter is amazing because Eli's father spent years and tons of money creating it. However Eli cannot be happy that he lived because during the rush to the shelter, his twin brother and grandmother, who he loved dearly, were left behind. And it was his fault.
Eli struggles with his relationships with all of his family members, battles with his conscience over "the supplements", and worries that his dad is going crazy. Then he gets an errant wi-fi signal and finds someone who may be his brother on IM. Was it all a hoax? Is his brother alive? Or is someone messing with Eli?
This is a great book for those who like mild sci-fi or fantasy. It still takes place in "our" world, but in an alternate reality. This book is a major page-turner, and will keep you up late to finish and find out the truth!