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Compromised Hardcover – May 4, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up The daughter of a con man, Maya's been on the a run all her life, but when her dad's bad deals finally catch up to them, she loses the only family she's ever had and ends up in the Nevada foster-care system. Passionate about science, the 15-year-old seeks to develop a hypothesis and follow the scientific method to get her father out of prison. Realizing this plan's futility, she goes back to the only other thing she really knows how to do: run. Maya formulates a new hypothesis that will hopefully lead her to an aunt in Idaho whom she's never met and some type of normalcy. One variable that she doesn't anticipate, however, is the addition of two other runaways who are also looking for something more. Gritty and realistic in action and language, this novel brings to light the plight of displaced teens. Maya is a strong character who tries to be true to herself while playing the caregiver role she always seems to fall into first to her dad and now to her fellow runaways. The three form a strong bond that rings true even though the setting will likely be unfamiliar to many readers. While sympathy is evoked for the characters, emotions are not overplayed. The quick pace and flesh-and-blood main characters will appeal to avid and reluctant readers alike. Gina Bowling, South Gibson County High School, Medina, TN
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Maya’s narrative of youngster’s who have slipped through the cracks is both heart wrenching and hopeful. An absorbing tale. (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))

With a sharp ear for dialogue and prose propelled by a searing urgency, the author plumbs the depths of her characters’ souls for horrors and treasures alike. A poignant portrait. (Kirkus Reviews)

A gut-wrenching, terrifyingly authentic story and memorably etched, courageous characters. Reminiscent of Adam Rapp’s 33 Snowfish, this challenging read will leave readers holidng out a faint hope for Maya’s future. (Booklist)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; 1 edition (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061728497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061728495
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.4 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,132,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I grew up wanting to be a veterinarian/pilot so I could fly in my bi-plane to everybody's farm and cure sick cows. Yes. Just cows. I also wanted to marry a Labrador retriever. Apparently there's a law against a human marrying a Labrador retriever. Go figure. I was never told by anybody of literary authority that I "should" be a writer, but stubborn by nature decided I "should." With support of my family, friends, an intrepid agent and amazing editors, now I am. (A writer. Not married to a Labrador retriever). Things turned out a whole lot better than I dreamed!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on May 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Maya loves science. She approaches every situation first with a "hypothesis" and then a plan of action. Her life is filled with situations that need her attention.

Raised by a single father after her mother's suicide, Maya has been shifted from place to place as her father has "hustled" to make a living for them. He was caught in his last con-game, and now he's in prison and Maya has become part of the system. As the newest resident in the orphanage, Maya's latest "hypothesis" is focused on escape.

She puts her plan into action when she learns she may be headed to live with an odd, overly-religious family. Her brief visit with them made her extremely uncomfortable, and she knows she doesn't have much time before she could be living with them permanently. She packs her few possessions and, following her father's vague instructions, heads back to the last place she called home to find a box of her mother's things that supposedly holds valuable information about an aunt who might be her last chance for a real home.

Maya is joined by Nicole, another resident from the orphanage. Not long into their journey, they meet Klondike, a homeless street kid with a disfiguring burn and Tourette's syndrome. Together they begin the search for Maya's aunt.

Life on the streets is tough. The three leave Reno behind by hitchhiking and bumming rides however they can. The little money they have doesn't last long, and as hunger sets in, they resort to raiding dumpsters and shoplifting. They sleep on the streets and try to warm up by stopping in libraries as Maya tries to gather information about her only surviving relative.

Author Heidi Ayarbe does not glamorize life on the streets. Her story of Maya and friends is bleak and without much hope.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DAC VINE VOICE on May 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is Ayarbe's second YA novel. and the author has been honing are craft. It's always been just 15yr old Maya's and her dad a con -man. Maya has a mind for science, using hypothesis, to outline ways to keep her dad from getting caught. This time there is no getting away. Maya's dad is sent to prison and she's placed in orphanage.After Maya meets her potential foster parents she decides to runaway. Maya's searching for an aunt she's never known and is not 100% sure exist.

Maya's plan to go it alone is changed when Nicole, a girl who has always been in the system follows. The two walk and hitchhike to the state Maya's aunt may or may not be in. Maya formulates hypothesis that read like journal entries.

Nicole is still with me. I never really thought seh'd actually go through with it - running away for real. It's unlike her previous patterns of sticking around and waiting to be found. That's the thing about humans - highly unpredictable variables. I have to construct a new hypothesis, change the materials and variables. And that irritates me, because even my purpose has to change.

Maya's is book smart. Nicole can keep them safe and feed on the street. The two had the worst luck finding places to spend the night.

"I sigh. It's like we're doomed to share our sleeping arrangements with druggies. From the smell of things, we might as we have been lying on a bed of smoldering pot."

After Maya and Nicole feel each other talking becomes easier. I'd call what Maya and Nicole had conversations not dialogue. Ayarbe's has written a wonderfully realistic well layered novel. I loved Compromised, especially the ending, which Ayarbe crushed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Niki Payne on September 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book hit really close to home for me. It was a great read that kept me in suspense the whole way through. I totally identified with Maya's character who seemed to always have a well-calculated plan in the works. I really admired her courage and was really inspired by the story to take action in my own life for the sake of my own survival. I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone struggling for survival.
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Format: Hardcover
Compromised is a very well written story detailing one teen's journey to find her home. Maya has lived the life of a con man, following her father from one town to the next as he works one con after another. When he finally gets arrested, she becomes a ward of the state and enters the social service system. Determined to find her long lost aunt and getting absolutely no help from her social worker, she runs away on a journey to find her aunt and maybe even a home - something she's never known. On the way she hooks up with Nicole, a street wise veteran of the system, and Klondike, a ten year old runaway with Tourette's Syndrome. They are all three truly memorable characters who will just grab you by the neck and drag you into a story that is often times filled with disturbing realities of homeless life. Maya's reliance on scientific method to solve any problem paired with Nicole's street smarts and constant mob analogies make for the best road trip pairing since Thelma and Louise.

This is a gripping read. These are good kids who have ended up on the wrong side of things. Their story is most often heartbreaking and sometimes frustrating as you find yourself disgusted with a social service system that would allow this to happen to children and also frustrated with these teens who seem destined to keep making poor decisions and the failure of any responsible adult to truly look at them and see what needs to be done. This book will likely generate lots of questions and discussion among young readers as there are lots of gray areas, and the answers don't always come in neat little packages.
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