Compromised is written by Heidi Ayarbe. It was published in 2010 by HarperTeen. Ayarbe’s website can be found here.
Genre: Realistic, Tough Read, Young Adult
“Maya’s life has always been chaotic. Living with a con-man dad, she’s spent half her life on the run. Whenever her father’s schemes go wrong, Maya finds a scientific way to fix it. But when her dad ends up in prison and foster care fails, Maya grasps at her last possible hope of a home: a long-lost aunt, who may not even exist.
So Maya formulates a plan, and with her wits, two unlikely allies, and twenty dollars in her pocket, she sets off in search of this aunt, navigating the unpredictable four hundred miles from Reno to Boise. Life on the streets, though, becomes a struggle for survival—those scientific laws Maya has relied on her whole life just don’t apply. And with each passing day, Maya’s definitions of right and wrong are turned upside down when she’s confronted with the realities and dangers of life as a runaway. She can’t help but wonder if trying to find her aunt—and some semblance of stability—is worth the harrowing journey or if she should compromise and find a way to survive on her own.”
I hate when that happens, when the observer becomes the prey. I wonder how I’ll deflect the attack when I blurt out, “This is definitely an issue of territorialism.”
The three of them stare.
“You know,” I say. “When an animal stakes its claim to an area. It has to suss out its possibilities to win the battle, depending on the size of the other animal, maturity, which one already possesses the territory, and value of the territory in relation to other available locations.” They continue to stare, so I continue to talk, never taking my eyes from Nicole. It’s like we’re in some kind of staring contest.
I won’t lose.
“This is kinda fun.” Nicole adds another stick to the fire. The man dropped us off at a campground on the outskirts of Boise. We were pretty lucky that he took us all the way from McCall to Boise. That’s like a hundred miles. In Nevada, that took Nic and me about three days to cover. We never got real long rides.
The only thing that sucked was crouching down in the back of a metal truck bed for two hours, trying to keep from freezing in the wind. We huddled to cover Klon and tried to protect his chest. I can’t believe I didn’t steal those cough drops.
Warnings: Swearing, violence, description of abuse
Recommended Age Range: 16+
What I Liked:
I’ve noticed that each viewpoint character in Ayarbe’s books so far have some sort of obsession or in-depth knowledge about something. In Freeze Frame, it was movies; Compulsion, numbers; and in Compromised, it’s science.
The ending was super sweet. Loved it.
I suppose Ayarbe was trying to show what it’s like in foster care and what it’s like to be a runaway, and she definitely succeeded. It’s just downhill from the moment Maya decides to run away.
What I Didn’t Like:
What the heck does Ayarbe have against Christians? Every (named or in some way significant) Christian in this book was some sort of abusive maniac. I’m not saying that Christians are all angels of goodness and light (unfortunately), but still. Put some balance and subtlety in there so it’s not so obvious that you’re trying to rag on Christians.
This book was overall meh. It wasn’t as gut-punching or sad as the other two books I’ve read by Ayarbe. It wasn’t really that thrilling or exciting, either. It wasn’t memorable, and it wasn’t bad enough to get me ranting about how bad it was. It was plain vanilla; that’s it.
Compromised will probably evoke some sort of feeling in you about foster kids and runaways, but overall, it was uneventful and forgettable. It was so forgettable that I’m having trouble finding words to write this. You know what? Forget it.
Coming Up Next: A special one-year anniversary post on Friday! Then, Sapphique by Catherine Fisher