Book Review: Compulsion

Published by: Simon Pulse
Release date: October 28, 2014
Genre: YA paranormal
448 pages
Source: ARC kindly provided by publisher

That gorgeously lush cover is a perfect companion to the story on the inside; it's complexity masquerading as simplicity. The story reveals danger pretending to be innocence as well, as all good Southern Gothic does. If you've ever enjoyed a book in this genre, you are likely to love this book as much as I did.

Compulsion takes several tried-and-true story elements and gives them just the right spin to create something new and wonderfully entertaining. The orphaned main character learns that she has family of which she's never been aware, and goes to live there. The gorgeous boy next door, rather than having her fall all over herself for him, actually irritates the crap out of her. And the creepy paranormal elements. . . well, explaining that point would be a spoiler, but just know: it's good.

Our main character, Barrie Watson, has a gift for finding lost things. Who wouldn't want such a useful and seemingly innocuous gift? Her leading man, Eight Beaufort, has the ability to know exactly what Barrie wants- so he knows just how to make her fall in love with him. These gifts, however wonderful they seem, are the target of much jealousy and speculation in their small community. These are the kids who seem to have everything- but with great privilege comes great responsibility, some of which just might be more than Barrie and Eight can handle.

For me, this story read like a cross between a Nancy Drew novel and a Mary Downing Hahn story. Both are well-constructed, with streamlined plot points taking you to a conclusion that you can't exactly guess, other than you know it's going to be good. Both have very little objectionable material, with scary elements that are really more creepy than horrifying; a little adventure without going too far out of the comfort zone. Both have characters that are pretty clearly good guys and bad guys, but there's likely to be one or two that will surprise you. Both are favorites that tend to be handed from reader to reader- and I suspect this will be true for Compulsion as well.

There are plenty of bits left undiscovered in this fantastic read that can be picked and explained in sequels, which I fully intend to assault with grabby hands as soon as they are available. This is a fictional world that I loved getting lost in, and I fully intend to do so again often. I invite you to join me- I'll be down on the dock, waiting for Eight to return in his sailboat.


All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

"Darkly romantic and steeped in Southern Gothic charm, you'll be compelled to get lost in the Heirs of Watson Island series." -- #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Jennifer L. Armentrout

"A fresh twist on the Southern Gothic — haunting, atmospheric, and absorbing.” -- Claudia Gray, New York Times bestselling author of A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU and the Evernight and Spellcaster series

"Compulsion is a stunningly magical debut with a delicious slow burn to be savored. I want to live in this story world!" -- Wendy Higgins, USA Today and NYT bestselling author of the Sweet Evil Trilogy from HarperTeen

"A star-crossed romance, lush gothic plantations, and an island full of intrigue--COMPULSION was a heart-pounding race to the finish! A thrilling debut!" -- Kimberly Derting, author of The Body Finder series

"Beautifully written, with vivid characters, a generations-old feud, and romance that leaps off the page, this Southern ghost story left me lingering over every word, and yet wanting to race to the compelling finish. Martina Boone's COMPULSION is not to be missed." -- Megan Shepherd, Author of THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER

"Martina Boone's COMPULSION is the perfect southern family saga, charming and steamy on the surface, with cold-blooded secrets buried down deep. What more do you want? More time to read it, that's what." -- Kendare Blake, author of ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD and ANTIGODESS

"A shivery, delicious Southern Gothic with feuding families, dark spirits, ancient curses... and caught up in the middle, a young girl learning to live and love for the first time. Atmospheric and suspenseful, Compulsion will draw you in and hold you until the very last page." -- Leah Cypess, Author of DEATH SWORN

"Ancient spirits, mystery, and Southern charm--COMPULSION mixes dark magic with darker family secrets in a way that'll make you relieved there are two more books. I can't wait to continue reading about Barrie and the rest of Watson island!" -- Kat Zhang, Author of WHAT'S LEFT OF ME


  1. This book is gathering a lot of storm these days, and your review is more than spurning me to read it. Great review.

    Aparajita @Le' Grande Codex

  2. I have been really wanting to get my hands on this so I am really glad to hear you liked it! Great Review!

  3. Thank you both for visiting! I do recommend that you get this one asap if it grabs your interest at all.

  4. I didn't even have to read reviews to know I wanted to read Compulsion. I just knew I had to because of that gorgeous cover! I don't know what it is that draws me to it, but it does. However, now that I know this book is actually gorgeous on the inside as it is on the outside, I really, really, want to read Compulsion and I can only hope that's soon! :D

  5. It was awesome! It definitely was Gothic, but with so many unique elements of magic, and with such wonderful deep characters it was so beautiful!!

    I love how she brought in different elements to make it a unique Gothic :)

    Lovely review :)

  6. LOVE the new mythology in a genre that's so well established. I love how the characters had a kind of magic which you haven't read about, and I love how the setting came alive!!

  7. I loved this book so very much! im glad to see you did as well!

  8. Sounds a little like Beautiful Creatures. I have yet to pick up this book because of its length, but perhaps someday I'll give it a chance.

    1. Honestly, I liked this one more than Beautiful Creatures. It's a little less brooding.

  9. you had me at southern Gothic. Adding this to my pile.

  10. this is one more book thats going to be stacked onto my goodreads to read list

  11. I really enjoyed this book too! I love southern Gothic and I should read more of it. Thanks for the great review.


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