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Compulsion (Heirs of Watson Island) Paperback – August 4, 2015

4.4 out of 5 stars 136 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—After the death of her mother, and her loving caretaker Mark's losing battle with cancer sends him to hospice, Barrie Watson makes her way from San Francisco to live with her Aunt Pru on her family's estate on Watson Island in South Carolina. Curious about her father, who died in a fire that led to her mother's facial scars and reclusiveness, Barrie is eager to meet relatives on both sides of her family for the first time. What she discovers is far more complicated than the open-armed reunion she'd desired. Watson Island is bound by an old curse that has kept its three founding families, the Watsons, the Beauforts, and the Colesworths, at odds with one another for years. The mysterious Fire Carrier that appears over the river outside of her window each night holds the key to some part of the curse, and the yunwi (spirits that keep watch around Watson Landing) are clearly trying to communicate something to the protagonist. She uses her gift for finding things that have been lost, with some help from dreamy Eight Beaufort, to figure out the secrets that have held her family captive. A little bit Gone with the Wind, a little bit Romeo and Juliet, along with a hearty dose of the paranormal, Boone's debut mixes a Southern gothic setting with fantasy and romance for an engrossing, albeit over-the-top mystery. Although the plot at times becomes overly complicated and the drama is of the hand-to-the-forehead fainting variety, this book will appeal to fans of paranormal and traditional romances.—Joanna Sondheim, Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, New York City --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"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

"A wonderful addition to the YA paranormal genre. Its mythology and setting are unique, and all of the characters really come to life across the pages. Eight Beaufort is so swoon-worthy that it’s ridiculous. Move over Four, Eight is here to stay!"  —  RT Magazine Book Reviews, RT Editors Best Books of 2014

"The best part of this book, besides the atmosphere, had to be the characters, both primary and secondary. Even the villains and not-likable characters were just so engrossing. I have to say I've already put the sequel on my TBR shelf.” — USA Today

"This Southern gothic mixes dark spirits, romance, feuding families and ancient curses into the perfect potion." — Justine Magazine

“A little bit Gone with the Wind, a little bit Romeo and Juliet...Boone’s debut mixes a Southern gothic setting with fantasy and romance for an engrossing…mystery.” — School Library Journal

“A paranormal Southern gothic with decadent settings, mysterious magic and family histories rife with debauchery” — Kirkus

"Boone’s southern gothic certainly delivers a compelling mystery about feuding families and buried secrets, not to mention a steamy romance.” — Booklist

“Skillfully blends rich magic and folklore with adventure, sweeping romance, and hidden treasure . . . An impressive start to the Heirs of Watson Island series.” — Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • Series: Heirs of Watson Island
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse; Reprint edition (August 4, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1481411233
  • ISBN-13: 978-1481411233
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #913,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Good
The setting.
The setting is what originally sold me on Compulsion. I have a long standing love affair with the Carolina coastline, especially anywhere around Charleston. Martina Boone nailed it with her portrayal of the area. Her descriptions were so beautiful that I was swept up in the story in a heartbeat. I felt like I was back in the midst of Charleston (just without the awful humidity). From the small town drama to the southern twangs, Compulsion was everything great about the lower states!

The characters.
Yes, yes, and yes. I'll talk about Barrie and Eight in a moment. Right now I want to rave about the secondary characters in Compulsion. Mark was everything perfection. The way that Martina Boone showcased his relationship with Barrie made my heartache. He was her mother, father, and confidant. I loved him. Aunt Pru was also great! The author did an excellent job at showing the adjustment she's going through with all of the changes. Martina Boone did not ignore any detail in this book and for that, I'm so thankful!

Barrie and Eight. Eight and Barrie. Beight. Errie.
Whatever we're calling them, I love them. Eight was a bucket full of swoon. Seriously. I very rarely swoon over a character in a book. I've never got behind the whole book boyfriend craze. But Eight Beaufort? Sign me right up, y'all! The way that the relationship between Barrie and Eight develops is perfect. It's a slow burn with not even a little hint of insta-love. REJOICE, y'all.

Jeez. I loved this girl. She was put into an impossible situation, and I admired her so much. Her curiosity and resolve really sold me on her. She isn't fainting onto a couch. But she isn't charging into battle all willy nilly either. She was so authentic.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I love this cover. It is so gorgeous. I really do try to not base wanting to read a book based on the cover, but after seeing the cover for COMPULSION, it just made me even more excited to read the book!

The Story:

A fascinating story about a girl whose life has been turned upside down due to the loss of her mother and being sent to live across the country with an aunt she has never met. Not only does Barrie have to get used to living somewhere new, she discovers and tries to get to the bottom of some old family secrets.
The author creates a southern setting that is realistic and beautiful. The type of world that readers will want to visit.
I found this to be a wonderfully written story that balances the paranormal, mystery, and romance.

This was so hard for me to put down. I was quickly drawn into this world. I love the interactions between the characters. I love the supernatural things that are happening on the island. And I really love the mystery that surrounds it all.

And even though I think the book ends with some closure. I was left wanting more. I wanted to know more about Watson Island. Especially the past history. I am really interested in finding out more about Barrie's parents and what else happened in their pasts on Watson Island. And I am really looking forward to finding out what else is going to happen to Barrie, Eight and Cassie.

The Characters:

I really love these characters.
I think that the characters were all well-written. I wanted to get to know them and was very interested in finding out more about their lives and what would happen.

Barrie: She is full of curiosity. Especially curiosity regarding her gift, which just added to my own.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Compulsion is an absolutely mesmerizing debut from Martina Boone. The mix of southern charm, secrets, and family feuding makes for an absolutely spell binding experience that you won’t want to miss. I was absolutely thrilled when I received this title for review through Edelweiss (thank you) and it has gone above and beyond all of my expectations.

Barrie Watson has just lost her mother and caretaker, Mark, and is sent begrudgingly to her Aunt Pru and the Watson estate, a plantation that has been in family for centuries. Barrie quickly realizes that she just may have to unravel her families past to break the the curse that has been plaguing her family and making her a prisoner to Watson Island. Even though at some points Barrie frustrated me, I have so much love for the girl. I can always relate to the pain of losing a parent early since I did as well. It was a nice change of pace to see a protagonist that was cute, had style, and wasn’t the typical awkward tom boy that has taken so many leads lately. Let’s face if she can rock a pair of Louboutin’s this sky high, she is a-okay in my book!

Although she frustrated me at time, I really could empathize with her hesitation towards Eight. It wouldn’t be to pleasant to constantly wonder if he’s just not that into you or only giving you what you want since he has the gift of knowing. She is a tad extra at times but, hey I get it. She was going through a lot.
All the characters in this story are so compelling that I couldn’t get enough of them. They were all so fascinating and a bit mysterious in their own special way. The little touch of magic that was added really set it off. The gifts, or compulsions, were interesting.
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