Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Compulsion (The Heirs of Watson Island, #1)” as Want to Read:
Compulsion (The Heirs of Watson Island, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


(The Heirs of Watson Island #1)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  3,135 ratings  ·  660 reviews
Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

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 c
Hardcover, 433 pages
Published October 28th 2014 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Compulsion, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Martina Boone It will be three books, with the last published in 2016 :)
Julie There is very mild swearing--nothing a tween wouldn't hear every day. There's no sex. It really depends on the tween, but I think it would be good for…moreThere is very mild swearing--nothing a tween wouldn't hear every day. There's no sex. It really depends on the tween, but I think it would be good for most twelve and ups.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,135 ratings  ·  660 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Compulsion (The Heirs of Watson Island, #1)
Wendy Higgins
Utterly incredible. I am not kidding when I say I savored this one. It has a slow burn that is SO appropriate for the southern gothic setting. All of the magical elements and ghosts were beautifully done. The romance was positively swoony, and there are so many lovely, quotable moments. I was intrigued by the mystery and wanting to know more, more more - furiously flipping pages, but not wanting it to end.
I'm dying to see what happens in the next book!
Dying, Martina Boone! Do you hear me?!
SO lu
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
“You’re different.”

Different. And there it was.

All her life Barrie had been on the receiving end of different.

Even once she’d learned to disguise the Watson gift, she’d still been the daughter of a woman who stood at the window and glared at people on the street from behind a curtain. The goddaughter of the drag-queen who went to parent-teacher conferences dressed in vintage suits and designer shoes.

This book is 448 pages long, and this is what happens in it:

A girl moves to South Carolina af
Martina Boone
Nov 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Compulsion evolved from an image of a ball of flames weaving through the woods at midnight and then being unspooled like yarn onto a river by someone unseen until the entire river burned with magical flame. I couldn't help obsessing about what that meant and why the ceremony had been repeated so long no one could remember when it first began. Who was doing it? What did it accomplish? Answering those questions, I fell in love with the three plantations where the story was set, and with the famili ...more
Beth  (YA Books Central)
"Barrie shook her head. Now that she was here, she couldn't leave. Her aunt was undeniably strange,but Pru's features added up to familiarity, to family. And the house, while rundown was magnificent. It was Watson's landing. Lulu's history. Barrie's own history."

OK...Seriously...this book is I N C R E D I B L E. I saw reviews about this book on Goodreads and could not wait to get my hands on it. I literally read this book in three days and it took my breath away.

Compulsion is a compelling,
Alyssa | Swept Away By Books
Apr 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-releases
Martina Boone has set up what is sure to be an extremely intriguing trilogy with Compulsion. Within the first few pages, the reader is immersed in her gorgeous ability to create a setting as well as throwing us into a house full of dark family secrets.

One of my favourite parts of this book was the plantation, Watson's Landing. Set in South Carolina, the creeping spanish moss, meandering river, and acres of encroaching forest, the setting really comes alive for the reader. But the house itself be
Mar 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Review by: Amanda at Of Spectacles and Books

Why I chose this book:
I had my eye on this back in March when I began seeing a few bloggers talk about it. The story, the setting, the Southern Gothic genre, everything just spoke to me and told me that I must read this book. I entered into every giveaway I saw, but to no avail. Luckily, I ended up being approved on Edelweiss, and I did a little happy dance in my room when I saw the email. And to tell you the truth, I was so happy that I got this book
Courtney Whisenant
This book was incredible--the kind that sucks you in, consumes you until the very last page, and sticks with you long after you've finished reading. Set on an island near Charleston, the imagery was breathtaking. Spanish moss hanging from old oak trees, plantation homes, and the scent of jasmine in the air are just a few of the things I love about South Carolina. As a southerner myself, I related to the small town quirks, the southern drawl and family secrets hidden for generations. The magical ...more
Hafsah Faizal
Feb 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
We're not in Kansas anymore, readers. This book here's set smack dab in the south.

Living in Texas, and having lived in Florida and California, I know just how different the south is, compared to the rest of the country. So when I picked up COMPULSION, I expected to see real southern stuff.

And lemme tell ya, sugar, it delivers.

Martina Boone's debut into young-adult fiction is dazzling. Well-written, tense, and, simply put, fresh, COMPULSION is a great read.

Full review will be posted on IceyBo
Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

Oh, lordy . . .

I've lived in North Carolina or Tennessee my whole life, and with the exception of one uncle who relocated to California, all of my family lives in the same general vicinity as well.

I'm S O U T H E R N.

So when I hear about a book that is supposedly S O U T H E R N, I get all excited (b/c narcissist who loves Southern-themed books), and I have to read it. Sometimes that works out for me . . .

And sometimes it doesn't.

I want to say up front page that the reaso
Lindsay Cummings
Oct 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In a word, COMPULSION is delicious.

A beautifully written Southern Gothic, which, to me, is one of the toughest types of books to write. I wasn't sure what to think the first few pages of COMPULSION. I didn't know if it was just a contemporary about death and new places..until there was one single phrase mentioned. "The finding gift".

Barrie, our main character, has the ability to find lost things. A few pages in to COMPULSION, this gift is shown. And as soon as it is, the rest of the book falls i
Erin Cashman
I started reading this book and was immediately caught up in the story. Compulsion has it all -- memorable and flawed characters, exquisite and evocative writing, a heady romance, a page turning mystery, and a protagonist that I cheered for from the very first page. I highly recommend this dazzling debut and can't wait to read the next book in the trilogy.
K.L. Hallam
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya

After her shut-in mother’s death, teen-aged, Barrie Watson is free to seek out the family kept secret from her all her life. She arrives at Watson Landing, greeted by a live albino peacock, and discovers a family heritage of privateers, rice plantations, and an ancient curse.

The sense of place is the first thing that takes hold of you. The visual descriptions set you into the dreamy, hot and steamy southern charm of Charleston, South Carolina. Drawing you into a compelling world of oak and cypr
Reading Teen
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Where are more stars? I need them!!

At a Glance:

From beginning to end, Compulsion pulls you in, keeps you guessing, plays with your emotions and leaves you breathless with anticipation. I loved this book wholly and completely, and I can't wait to push it on everyone I know.

I was really nervous.

I actually met Martina before I knew she was an author, and since we are both YADCers (Young Adult DC), we've become friends. I get SUPER nervous about reading books of people I know personally. I mean, how
Lisa Green
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
This is a MUST READ. If I could give it a million stars, I would!

It's hard to express how much I loved this book. How Barrie came alive in the pages. How Martina brought the world itself to life. How she thread emotion, imagery, voice, and non-stop adrenaline into a complex story that will undoubtedly live forever with so many other YA classics. I can't wait to read more. I hope the story never ends.

I know Martina, and I would support her no matter what, but please believe I am telling you all
Kristen Cansler
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, r2r, edelweiss

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
Savannah (Books With Bite)
Jun 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
So when I first got this book I thought it was more magic. It is, initially, but it has a lot of history which I loved. For me, a good back round to the story came make it or break it. And ya’ll, being a southern gal myself, I adored it.

Plot: One thing I really enjoyed is the whole southern atmosphere. I could literally see myself on the plantation, sipping on ice cold sweet tea and cornbread. I love the way the plot moved. It moved well, giving the reading bit by bit of the past. It made me fee
Lelia Nebeker
This book was everything I didn't know I wanted! 'Compulsion' is a delicious Southern Gothic that's dripping with swoon and spook. The only thing more memorable than the sweeping Southern setting is Barrie herself, and the whole Watson Island cast. I fell in love with these characters so fast, it was like stumbling into quicksand. Throw in a haunted mansion, a family curse, a beautiful boy-next-door, and enough Southern food to make your mouth water, and you've got a powerhouse of a debut novel. ...more
Chris Ledbetter
I had the wonderful pleasure of beta reading BEHOLDEN (as it was called before the name was changed to COMPULSION). It's totally immersive from a setting and culture standpoint. It's dripping in Southern Charm. The prose is engaging and evocative. The characters leap off the page like few other books I've read. When I finished reading, I immediately wanted to read it again. AND, I wanted so badly to go somewhere and just hang out with the characters. And finally, it crescendos to an edge-of-your ...more
Lisa Mandina
Apr 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
(Originally posted at: http://misclisa.blogspot.com/2014/10/...) This is one of the awesome ARCs I got at BEA this past summer, and I also got to meet the author, I'll share that picture at the end! I have to say this was another story I really enjoyed. And honestly, it was a different story than most of them these days. While some might say there was a bit of "insta-love," I think it was definitely explained in a way that totally made it NOT "insta-love." I"m very ready for the story to go on, ...more
Becca Fowler (PivotBookTotes)
Dearest Compulsion, 

Oh, how I loved you. You were everything I hoped you would be and more!!! Plus, dat cover. So beautiful! (PSST PLEASE DONT CHANGE IT SIMON TEEN!!!) Seriously your cover is one of the most gorgeous covers I've seen this year, and that's saying something because there has been quite a few this year, Compulsion! I was a little nervous when I opened you, because I was scared I wouldn't like you, and I wanted to love you oh so much. Thank the lord I didn't have to worry too long.
Halston Seabolt
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, i-own
I won this ARC from a giveaway on twitter! When I won this I immediately went and read the overview and couldn't wait to get it so I could start reading it! This book took off for me and didn't let me go until I finished. I really loved how simple and unique the gifts that Barrie and Eight have. They weren't tired out and I found myself thinking about how it would be to have their gifts. I also love Eight and Barrie's relationship. It reminds me of a relationship I have with a friend of mine. Th ...more
Kimberley Little
Gorgeous Southern Gothic YA novel - the atmosphere! The plot! The character! The setting! Y'all are gonna LOVE this new trilogy!!! (Coming Fall 2014). Cannot WAIT to see cover art! Martina is an incredible new talent on the YA scene. ...more
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, edelweiss

Compulsion by Martina Boone is absolutely one of my favorite books of 2014. It’s a dark southern gothic with an amazing historic account that delves back into the 1600’s. Charmingly romantic and eerily creepy, and Yep, I can come up with many more superlatives because it was just that fantastic!

Compulsion centers on Barrie Watson, a very non-normal girl with a ‘compulsion’ to find things. Barrie cannot ignore this compulsion without significant physical discomfort. . “Finding things was the Wats
Nov 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you love lush writing paired with superb storytelling, then Compulsion by Martina Boone is for you. You will live and breathe this story with Barrie and Eight. Martina creates atmosphere both spooky and vivid as she weaves Native folklore with African myths, as is true of the Lowcountry setting, that you'll start searching for your own Yunwi and staying up late to watch the Fire Carrier set the river on fire.

As a Southerner, this story reminded me a lot of the spooky tales my grandfather used
Jaime (Two Chicks on Books)
Mar 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was really good! I loved Eight (new book boyfriend!) and Barrie. I loved the mystery and the family curses and it was all set in a beautiful Southern Gothic environment. I can't wait to see what happens in book 2! Oh and if you've read the book you'll know what I'm talking about but I want to try one of those hot dogs with the blue cheese and that yummy sounding relish lol ...more
Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
*I received this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*
Compulsion blew me away, as I was reading it I kept thinking that it was way to good to be true. It wasn’t. Martina Boone created an amazing world, and had a great fully developed backstory with the Watson family, and even Barrie’s childhood was described wonderfully.

Barrie was a great character, there were times when she got a little to self-pitying for me, but she did have a rather unique childhood and mother figure. I felt
l read this twice. The world-building and family histories are really powerful. The more I read, the more I found to love in this book. Especially Barrie. She's not the normal perfect heroine I've seen in a lot of YAs lately, and she's a doer not a whiner. The various mysteries that are set up are paced really well, with clues on almost every page. The anticipation of thinking I'd figured out some of them out before Barrie was great, and then half the time I turned out to be only partly right. i ...more
The characters are each real and unique. I want to live at Watson's Landing, and I swear, I can picture the whole place. I love how Barrie struggles to find out who she is and who she wants to be. She's strong in a way that feels believable and honest, struggling to learn about life for the first time after growing up not having a chance to experience much of anything. Eight is yummy. I also loved Mark and the little people. The scenes with the Fire Carrier were amazing. I started out thinking t ...more
May 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, read-in-2014
4 and 1/2 stars! I love Southern Gothic and magical realism, so this was a lovely blend. Review will be up sometime next week on my blog.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Wishing Bridge (The O'Brien Tales, #5)
  • Burning Embers (The O'Brien Tales, #7)
  • The Art of Deception
  • Raven of the Sea (The O'Brien Tales, #1)
  • The Christmas House (Hickory Grove, #2)
  • Silver
  • The Astronaut and the Star
  • Fate of Flames (Effigies, #1)
  • Dreams Lie Beneath
  • At the Corner of King Street (Alexandria Series Book 1)
  • River Angels (The O'Brien Tales, #4)
  • Wisteria Island
  • Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World
  • Feedback (Variant, #2)
  • Unbreakable (Unraveling, #2)
  • Buying Time (Legacy #1)
  • Variant (Variant, #1)
  • Dream Man
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Martina Boone was born in Prague and spoke several languages before learning English. She's the award-winning author of feel-good romances set in magical places, including COMPULSION and the Heirs of Watson Island trilogy from Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse and the Celtic Legends series starting with LAKE OF DESTINY. ...more

Other books in the series

The Heirs of Watson Island (3 books)
  • Persuasion (The Heirs of Watson Island, #2)
  • Illusion (The Heirs of Watson Island, #3)

Related Articles

Now that we’re halfway through the year, it’s time to check in on the 2022 Goodreads Reading Challenge, our rigorous annual initiative for book...
134 likes · 35 comments
“It doesn't matter how great your shoes are if you don't accomplish anything in them.” 120 likes
“We've lost a lot of years, but you can't lose love. Not real love. It stays locked inside you, ready for whenever you are strong enough to find it again.” 119 likes
More quotes…