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Banished by Sophie Littlefield
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Hailey is an outcast at school and home. She’d never known her parents and was raised by her uncaring, sickly, drug dealing, drunken, 4-pack-a-day smoker grandmother. Her only source of love comes from their 4 year old autistic foster child her grandmother took in and abandoned. At school, she is shunned and ranks as low as one could possibly get on the high school social ladder. She is puzzled by the ostracism at school, but accepts it as her due for living in Trashtown, the bad part of town.

Her life changes on the day a student gets injured in gym class. Unable to stop herself, Hailey finds herself healing the young girl by just touching her injury. Fearful of her power, and ignorant of its causes, Hailey is enlightened when her long lost Aunt Prairie comes to town. Prairie is also a Healer, and explains their inherited gift. For years, she’d worked in a lab to learn more about her gift and has just learned she and Hailey are in danger from the Head Scientist, Bryce, who intends to imprison them to raise up an army of zombies he plans to sell to the highest bidder.

As killers invade Hailey’s home to fulfill Bryce’s wishes, the girls almost lose out on their bid for freedom but manage to escape. While on the run, readers are kept on the edge of their seats as Hailey and Prairie claw their way out of tight spot after tight spot in their bids to save themselves from ruthless murderers. The cliffhanger ending made me very glad that the sequel was sitting just a few feet away from me. ( )
  ShouldIReadIt | Sep 26, 2014 |
This book had such an odd flavor coming from Sophie Littlefield, if only because it seems so mainstream and dependable. BANISHED follows the common, enjoyable theme of Hailey Tarbell discovering her unexplained powers and facing adversity, but with none of the damage or darkness I had come to expect from the author of AFTERTIME or A BAD DAY FOR SORRY. I'll keep reading, however, if only to see if Hailey's growing pains take her closer to the gritty reality and clever plot twists I'd been looking for.

Re-read #1 - After all of the positive reviews of UNFORGIVEN, I wanted to re-read BANISHED and get up to speed. An enjoyable read, very interesting world, but not enough to get me to pay $10 for an eBook (UNFORGIVEN is still at hardback prices). I'll keep coming back to this series, though, I'm interested in Hailey's future. ( )
  Capnrandm | Apr 15, 2013 |
Banished is a depressing and sad tale about a girl named Hailey. Hailey never knew her parents and like Harry Potter she isn't allowed to ask questions about them. She is raised by a cruel grandmother who deals drugs for a living. Her grandmother is similar to the vile mother from the film Precious. She refuses to let Hailey go to school until the social workers take that desicion out of her hands.
Hailey is such an outcast the other losers don't want anything to do with her. The other losers are a group called the Morries who also reside in the bad side of town. The bad side of Gypsum, MO is named Trashtown. Hailey is denied any friends from people who she could have a lot in common with. She does not understand why they fear and loathe her. The question is explained somewhat when a boy who is friendly with her comes to school the next day with a big shiner. He was ordered away from Hailey by the town creep. The town creep is Rattler who I imagined to be like the blokes from the film Winter's Bone.I casted uncle Teardrop in my mind while I read this book. Her grandmother would not have been out of place in that film. She did get her drug supply from the Ozarks.
Times are tough in Trashtown and everywhere else in Gpysum. This is not a dystopian book but from the ending it's apparent the sequel will be.

The rumours about Rattler are that he attacks the Morrie women. No one is willing to press charges against him. There was more to the story that could have been explored. Hailey's grandmother did not recieve the gift of healing which turned her bitter, but what happened to the rest of the Banished to turn them this way? I don't buy the explanation that they bred with non Banished folk. She meets a boy, Kaz, whose father is not Banished. He still has the sight gift.

Hailey discovers in gym class when a morrie girl is injured that a power is calling her.
The girl Milla doesn't appreciate Hailey's healing ability but is repelled. Frustrated, Hailey finally asks her what is going on. It turns out the folk of Trashtown heiled from Ireland. They were once the Banished. Hailey's family were healers and the Banished men had the gift of seeing into the future. Milla says Hailey is cursed and that the gift is why her grandmother is decaying. Hailey's grandmother is the squib of this world. Hailey, and other healers, never get sick and heal fast. While they excel at sports her grandmother is always sick and weak. This perverted her mind and twisted her. She's desperate to be a healer and has plans for Hailey.

Hailey's only companion is a mentally slow toddler, Chump, her grandmother adopted as a project, and her dog Rascal. Rascal gets hit by a car and unable to lose him Hailey unwittingly turns him into a zombie.
Hailey did not know what she was doing but could she have bared to part with him had she known? I could see myself turning my beloved, Seamus into a zombie rather than lose him. Stephen King's novel Pet Cemetary is a cautionary tale with good reason. Seamus is bad enough about licking my face. I would bring back all my dead pets if I had that power. I must confess whenever a character is attached to a pet I panic that the pet will die. I inwardly plead for the dog, cat, frog, bird, rat, etc. not to die. A death sentence for the pet is to utter the phrase "I don't know what I'd ever do if I lost _blank_".
I get attached to all fictitious pets as well as real ones. A book can be made or broken by killing a beloved animal character.

When Hailey's aunt comes into the story the book plot is weakened. I felt the story's anchor belonged in Trashtown. Her aunt Prairie foolishly dated a bad guy who wants to use their abilities for a nefarious scheme to turn people into zombies for terrorism.
Hailey, in her stupidest moment of the book, exclaims that the government would never do something like that. Apparently, the big bad small governments across the globe would. I prefer my dystopians with a more compelling villian than a rich businessman or Gabriel from the film Swordfish which he basically amounted to. Rattler was far more disturbing than Prairie's lame boyfriend. Prairie made many appalling life choices. Why the two villians both want to date her wasn't well done. They are both driven by their desire for her but why. I didn't think the "I worked with the evil businessman because he was hot" was interesting. He wasn't described as hot when he appeared in the book. I prefer to be shown not told they are hot. Please have their dialogue be sexy or write them in as creepy. Rattler was given several scenes to display just how and why he was icky. The businessman, Bryce, had an immature chapter written entirely in italiac font. She raided his room for a wedding ring and sat next to "my boyfriend". Hailey, a teenager, came off as far more mature than her aunt whose thirty.
Prairie was quite frankly a bit dippy for someone so hard edged.
The big reveal was easy to figure out but that did not bother me. I hate it when the twist is not written in the pages. If Rattler being her father had been dragged out for more books then the twist being obvious would have sucked. ( )
  peptastic | Jun 28, 2012 |
Do you like a good chase? What about a wild, somewhat tormented character with loads of issue to work on? How about a paranormal element? Those are big right now.

Put all this together and you've got Banished by Sophie Littlefield. In Banished, readers are introduced to Hailey, who has grown up in the home of her neglectful grandmother. Hailey has always known that she was a little different, but worked hard to not stand out. The only thing that seems to be working in her life is her relationship with young Chub, a mentally slow young boy her grandmother took in. But after Hailey accidentally uses her healing abilities to heal a friend in gym class, her world isn't the same. Then, long-lost Aunt Prairie shows up in town and Hailey's world is turned upside down.

Banished was a unique read, not just for the plot and characters, but for the way the entire novel was set up. The plot was fairly simple, and the first section was somewhat slow, which is a little frustrating, while the final two-thirds of the book are an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride. I was surprised that the novel took more of the thriller-style road and dealt with very real issues ranging from abuse and suicide, to highly dysfunctional families, some teen angst and the bonds between people -family and non. I guess I was expecting more on the paranormal side, and though there is a driving paranormal element here, I felt like it was primarily driven by the emotional and personal issues of the characters. Oh, and no romance. You heard me -just crazy thriller stuff.

While Banished may not have had the approach I was expecting, it is an incredibly well-written and did an excellent job of creating a sense of distress and the chase. I really enjoyed it and look forward to the sequel, which is due out later this year. ( )
  BookAddictDiary | Apr 12, 2011 |
You can also read my review here: http://www.mybookishways.com/2011/03/review-banished-by-sophie-littlefield.html

4.5 stars
16 yr. old Hailey Tarbell lives with her Grandmother in the small town of Gypsum, Missouri. She lives in a section dubbed Trashtown, and is considered even lower than the town’s poorest kids. Her grandmother deals drugs, and the people that come in and out of Hailey’s house are, well, unsavory, to say the least. Hailey looks forward to getting out of Gypsum, taking Chub, her 4 yr old charge, with her, and starting a life somewhere far away, when something happens that will change her life forever.

Hailey is one of the Banished, a group of people with very special powers, and she will soon learn the secret of her power, and her family, in Sophie Littlefield’s wonderful YA debut. I read Banished in one sitting, it was that good! Hailey’s world is gritty, violent and terrifying, but always there is a speck of hope, just waiting to be discovered, off in the distance. When Hailey’s Aunt Prairie comes to claim her, more secrets are revealed, and an even bigger threat is looming. Someone wants to use her power to a horrible end, and it’s a race against time to stop a plan that’s beyond evil. Hailey is a strong heroine, and I rooted for her from start to finish. Plenty of action will keep you glued to the pages, and hints of possible romance along with an intriguing mystery add depth to the story. Don’t miss the next book in the series, Unforsaken, due in October! ( )
  MyBookishWays | Mar 15, 2011 |
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For Sal. Growing up is hard, but you are doing a beautiful job.
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Part One: Gypsum (Prologue) June 1995----Waking up hurt. (Chapter 1) Now---When I was eight, the social workers finally made Gram send me to school.
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Sixteen-year-old Hailey Tarbell, raised by a mean, secretive grandmother, does not know that she comes from a long line of healers until her Aunt Prairie arrives with answers about her past that could quickly threaten her future.

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