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Banished    by Sophie Littlefield order for
by Sophie Littlefield
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Hailey Tarbell didn't begin school until she was eight years old. Until then Gram claimed she was homeschooling Hailey. But she didn't comply with state regulations, so the Child Protection Agency stepped in and insisted Hailey attend school. At first Hailey is relieved to be going to school. But once there, she is an outcast, not fitting in with the regular town kids or the Morries from Trashtown.

As the story begins, sixteen-year-old Hailey lives with her drug dealing grandmother and foster brother Chub in Gypsum, Missouri. Gram treats her like a slave and neglects both children. Hailey takes care of Chub, whose body is growing but not his mind. She is counting the days until she turns eighteen, when she plans to take Chub and leave to make a better life for them both.

By accident, Hailey discovers she has the gift of healing when a Morrie girl falls off the vault springboard during gym class. Hailey feels compelled to touch her. Later Hailey's dog is hit by a car and although he is dead, Hailey reaches out and brings him back.

Shortly after these happenings, Aunt Prairie returns home to Gypsum. Hailey never knew her mother and didn't realize she had an aunt. Prairie arrives one step ahead of a dangerous group of men who know about Hailey's gift and intend to kidnap her so they can make use of her powers. Hailey won't leave without Chub or her dog, Rascal. While the four are on the run, little by little, details emerge about Hailey's gift and why it should be kept secret.

This is Littlefield's first YA book. Although Banished is a complete story, the ending leaves just enough unexplained to suggest the possibility of a sequel.

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