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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

#Book #Review: 2 out of 5 stars for Compulsion by Heidi Ayarbe @BalzerandBray

TITLE: Compulsion
AUTHORS: Heidi Ayarbe
PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 304 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Mental Illness
ISBN: 9780061993862

Today has to be perfect.


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 sustaining 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 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 the magic doesn't stay?

What if the numbers never leave?

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


Jake Martin has a form of OCD that I hadn’t heard of before. He is obsessed with prime numbers. If he can’t add-subtract-multiply-divide the digits shown by the current time down to prime numbers, he can’t function. Everything he does is methodical and governed by routine (such as tapping the flamingo’s beak before he enters the house), but it’s his obsession with whittling down the time into prime numbers that really interferes with his day-to-day function.

Jake is the star player on the soccer team, and everything is riding on him to lead the team to victory for the third (see? prime number) state soccer championship. There will be scouts at the game, ready to offer university scholarships. The win is not just for the team but for his own future as well. Jake also believes that his compulsion with prime numbers will cease after the third win. He hopes then he will become “normal.”

Jake’s mom has her own OCD issues. She always thinks she has hit an animal or a person on the road and killed them, and Jake or his dad have to take their mom to retrace her steps to prove to her that she didn’t hit anyone or anything and to show her the front of the car has no evidence of damage.

I do enjoy stories with mental health issues. The story itself is compelling and shows how someone with mental health issues can become paralyzed if anything messes with their routine. However, I was very put off by all the F-bombs and swears in this book. This is supposed to be a Young Adult novel, and I see no reason why the inappropriate language needs to be there. The first chapter is 13 pages, and I took the time to count all the swears: 19 F-bombs, 1 @sshole, 2 G*ddamns, 4 shits, and 1 Jesus. Add to the swears the crude references to hard-ons and copping feels. Really, this is appropriate for a Young Adult novel?? 27 swears in the first 13 pages? I can assure you that the statistics don’t improve from there!! I was going to rate this book three stars, but I have to knock off a star for the grossly inappropriate language in what is supposed to be geared for teens. While I did finish the book out of mere curiosity if the foul language would persist (and it did), I really have no desire to read anything more from this author. All the swearing actually took away from the story, and it interfered with my enjoyment. This is not a book that I would want my kids to read.

2 stars!! Meh, it was just "okay."

This book qualifies as:


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