"I gritted my teeth and reached with a shaking hand and touched him, and when he didn't respond, I felt like I was touched evil itself and my entire body restricted, my heartbeat pounding
"I gritted my teeth and reached with a shaking hand and touched him, and when he didn't respond, I felt like I was touched evil itself and my entire body restricted, my heartbeat pounding a crazy tempo… I'd done the thing that must never be done, the thing that Prairie and my mother had been warned about since childhood. I'd done the unforgivable. And I couldn't help wondering how many ways I would suffer for it." — "Banished"
In Gypsum, Hailey never fit in. Especially since her drug dealer of a Grandmother kept her in the dark about her gift, her family's past, and the tragic story of her mother. Because of the troubles at home and having to take care of herself and her younger foster brother, Chub, Hailey finds that you sometimes, you can't trust even your own family. Through an accident in Hailey's gym class concerning a classmate, Hailey finds that she can heal the hurt, just by touching their wounds and chanting chants that seem to come naturally to her. Soon, Hailey's mysterious past unravels with an unexpected visit from her aunt, Prairie who Hailey never even knew existed. Hailey, Prairie, Chub, and Rascal (Hailey's dog) soon find themselves running away from evil that wants to use Hailey and Prairie's healing gifts for immoral doing.
Through the elaborate twists and turns of this thrilling read, I was captivated at every word Sophie Littlefield wrote. I will admit, the cover of the book scared me a bit, but as the old saying goes, you can't judge a book by its cover; this motto was obviously applicable to this story. "Banished" was exciting, harsh, and scary all at the same time. Like most good books, the story stared out slow, but intrigued me with mysterious chapters of a different unknown character that soon found its way into Hailey's life. I love stories that give you little pieces of the mystery for you to contemplate before the book takes an exciting turn in the plot. Banished left me wanting to read more and more with the last cliffhanger line of the book, "We do what you ask. Now you bring my sisters, yes? Now you bring my sisters back to me?" This was one of those books I just couldn't put down.
I would suggest this book to middle school age kids and older. It definitely had some mature themes, but they weren't very bad. This book is pretty new and was published in 2010 by DeLacorte Press. With 293 pages, I wished the sequel to "Banished," "Unforsaken," coming in 2011, would arrive sooner.
I encourage many people to read "Banished," the exciting tale of a lost,16 year old girl Banished with her gift. For more information go to www.sophielittlefield.com.