Compulsion by Heidi Ayarbe
May 3, 2011; Balzer + Bray
Today has to be perfect.
I look at the clock.
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 getting 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, Kasey, 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 it doesn’t work?
What if the numbers never go away?
Acclaimed author Heidi Ayarbe has created an honest and riveting portrait of a teen struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder in this courageous and breathtaking novel.
(courtesy of Goodreads)
Guest Post: Tens List
*Just a heads-up that there are some swear words in this post, but it fits with the character's point of view
Please welcome Heidi Ayarbe to Alison Can Read. She's kindly provided us with a Tens List for Tanya, one of the main characters of Compulsion.
Tanya is, in her own way, a tragic character. I could write a whole novel with Tanya as my mc. So much goes beyond the Tinkerbell Tatoo surface. The more I thought about her top ten list, the more I thought about who she really is as a person – as opposed to the person other people see. (And maybe, as opposed to the person she shows other people.)
So I wanted to do a list of Tanya’s top ten wishes.
(List found in the margins of her math book)
10. I wish this calculus class didn’t totally suck.
9. I wish I felt more like an antiderivitive – the indefinite integral of the school – instead of like I’m a fucking fundamental theorem.
8. I wish I could move forward instead of feel like I’m always sliding backwards down a sloped tangent line.
7. There’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s. Hate it, hate it, hate it. I wish Reese’s never came up with that stupid ad. It ends “perfect”. I’m not that Reese’s – never perfect.
6. I wish Jake liked me – for real – and we could do that Hannah Montana boyfriend/girlfriend stuff, hold hands. Maybe I could even wear his Varsity jacket.
5. I wish I didn’t want to want those things. It’s easier not wanting.
4. Calculus is all about change, right? Why can’t I? I wish I was that formula – the one that calculates infinity, possibility. Can anybody plug me into a formula and make me into somebody else – the person I was supposed to be?
3. Wishes suck. Wishes don’t change anything except make me feel like total shit. There’s nothing wrong with me.
2. I wish I didn’t care what people thought. Like Mera. I hate, hate, hate wishing I was like a person who has the personality of a Brillo pad soaked in lye. She looks like a Brillo pad soaked in lye.