Saturday, May 14, 2011

Review: Compulsion by Heidi Ayarbe

CompulsionTitle: Compulsion
Author: Heidi Ayarbe
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 304
Published: Available now from Balzer + Bray
ISBN: 9780061993862
Source: Arranged tour by Teen Book Scene

Description: Today has to be perfect. Magic. I look at the clock. 10:14 am. Ten fourteen. One plus one is two plus four is six plus ten is sixteen minus one is fifteen minus two is thirteen. OK. I turn from the clock and walk into the hallway. "Ready.”  Saturday will be the third state soccer championship in a row for Jake Martin. Three. A good number. Prime. With Jake on the field, Carson City High can’t lose, because Jake has the magic: a self-created protection generated by his obsession with prime numbers. It’s the magic that has every top soccer university recruiting Jake, the magic that keeps his family safe, and the magic that suppresses his anxiety attacks. But the magic is Jake’s prison, because getting it means his compulsions take over nearly every aspect of his life.  Jake’s convinced the magic will be permanent after Saturday, the perfect day, when every prime has converged. Once the game is over, he won’t have to rely on his sister, Kasey, to concoct excuses for his odd rituals. His dad will stop treating him like he is some freak. Maybe he’ll even make a friend other than Luc.  But what if it doesn’t work?  What if the numbers never go away? 

I Give This ...

I'm draw to books about mental illness.  Maybe that's what having a degree in psychology does to you.  So, I immediately wanted to read this book based on the OCD fact alone.  While, I had a hard time getting into the story, it did not disappoint.

While I was intrigued be Jake, I had a hard time with him at first.  I didn't understand his OCD and what he was doing to calm himself.  And, I was really confused by the "magic".  For a little bit I was afraid it was going to have a paranormal accept.  It seemed like Jake believed that the numbers actually gave him a magical element.  Turns out I was wrong on the fact and then the OCD begins to make sense.  He has his rituals which he must go through everyday before he can leave the house.  Plus, any time he sees a number (on the clock, etc), he has to add/subtract/ whatever to make it a prime number.  It's really crippling him because its starting to effect his everyday life.  As the all important soccer game draws closer, Jake's life goes into a tail spin.  He think that if he can win that big game and earn a college scholarship, his OCD will go away.

But, as with any mental illness, things go crazy.  His OCD has lead to one to many tardies and he's in danger of not being able to play in the big game.  When the morning before the big game doesn't go according to plan, he's forced to skip class so he can start the day right.  But that's not his only problem.  His sister has high social aspirations and wants to cement her place before he goes off to college.  He makes a deal with her, but his OCD basically lands her in the hospital.  

This was roller coaster ride for me.  I really enjoyed watching how Jake's OCD controls him.  I liked watching him get to that point when he realizes he needs help.  I also loved who and how he finally reaches out for that help.  From about half way through the book I was hooked.  So, the 3 rating comes from the slow start and the excessive use of the "F" word.   

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