Wednesday, May 11, 2011

ARC Review: Compulsion by Heidi Ayarbe


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?

Acclaimed author Heidi Ayarbe has created an honest and riveting portrait of a teen struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder in this courageous and breathtaking novel.


To be published May 1st 2011 by Balzer + Bray

The Elliott Review:

I wanted to read this book because the main character suffers from OCD, and I was curious to see how that would play out in terms of character development. Ayarbe really does a great job of depicting Jake and his obsession with numbers and counting as well as realistically portraying his compulsions. At first, his perspective was so alien to me that I was persplexed. I view numbers as another language like Greek or something, so I was like, "Stop counting already!" As I read, I felt the crippling sense of self-doubt and fear that plague him as well as the toll it takes on his life and how frustrating it is for people around him.

Jake's life is filled with secrecy. He knows that his counting is unrealistic, and he feels crazy. Like any OCDer, he has thoughts that disturb him, but he doesn't want to let people know about them because he knows that these thoughts aren't "right." Having an insiders view on his thoughts and his compulsions, I was surprised tht Jake was able to function at all - let alone be Magic Martin, the soccer star. The suspense really intensified as the control he has built around him starts to crumble.

The family situation that Jake has is really compelling and heart-breaking. His mother obviously suffers from her own brand of OCD, too, and his father's frustration with her keeps Jake from being open about himself, causing him to worry that he only has the option to go the way she has. I found myself just wanting to shake him and hug him and tell him what his deal was and how there is help for him!!!

Filled with compelling characters and strong emotion, this book is definitely a must-read, especially for those who have an interest in psychology or who have some kind of experience with OCD.

Source: Thanks to Kari at The Teen {Book} Scene for organizing this tour. You can view other stops on the tour here.

1 comment:

  1. Great review! I thought the same thing, with regards to getting inside Jake's mind. His character is so broken. It was fascinating getting what felt like a first hand glance at what it's like to live a life ruled by compulsions.