Banished by Sophie Littlefield
publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
released: October 12, 2010
hardcover, 304 pages
intended audience: Young adult
source: from publisher for review
Sixteen-year-old Hailey Tarbell can't wait for the day she'll leave Gypsum, Missouri, far behind, taking only four-year-old Chub, the developmentally-delayed little boy her cruel drug-dealing grandmother fosters for the state money. But when a freak accident in gym class leaves a girl in critical condition, Hailey feels drawn to lay her hands on the injured girl and an astonishing healing takes place. Before Hailey can understand her new powers, a beautiful stranger shows up...just in time to save her and Chub from hired killers. A desperate race begins, with Hailey as the ultimate prize: there are those who will stop at nothing to harness her gifts to create an undefeatable army of the undead. Now it is up to Hailey and a small but determined family of healers to stand up to the unbelievable and face the unthinkable.
Review: This was so thrilling! The story branches off into some really interesting directions that I never expected, but in hindsight, made perfect sense! I really enjoyed the story, the action, the suspense, the characters...the whole thing. Hailey Tarbell was a great protagonist, a girl who has pretty much excepted her lot in life and tried to make the best of it until she is old enough to get away. I really felt for her and her living situation with her awful drug-dealing grandmother, Alice. It tends to tear my heart out when a character's only family is someone worthless and uncaring. My stomach would turn when Alice would allow her drug customers to make passes at Hailey. By absolute necessity, Hailey has to become very self reliant, not only for her sake, but for the four-year-old foster child that Alice took in to collect the support check for and then lost interest in. I loved Hailey and Chub's relationship. She is the only mommy he knows and she lives up to that the best she can, and in turn he gives her something to live for.
When Hailey discovers her ability to heal, she really has no one to turn to. Then she starts to notice strange men lurking around her house and her local hang-outs, asking questions. Thank goodness for the sudden appearance of a stranger who can help her with her abilities and with the creepy men. And the chase begins, as Prairie and Hailey, with Chub and their dog Rascal in tow, are running for their lives from both the ghosts of their past and evil men who want to use Hailey's healing ability to shape the future!!
This one had me laughing and worrying and cheering for this little group on the run! I really loved Prairie's friends, Anna and Kaz---definitely hope to see more of them in the future books! The cliffhanger ending was surprising and abrupt, but will definitely have me clambering for the next installment in this thrilling story!
Visit Sophie Littlefield's website here.
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