School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—This companion to Banished (Delacorte, 2010) is fast paced and disturbingly vivid. Hailey Tarbell, 16, is descended from the Banished, a group of Irish healers, and has inherited the power to heal, but it only works if a wounded person is still alive; otherwise, it turns the deceased into the living dead. Hailey is all too familiar with this chilling reality after escaping her hometown and those who wanted to exploit her power to create an army of zombies. Now she has a second chance at a normal life with her Aunt Prairie and adopted four-year-old brother, Chub. However, a new identity and a modicum of safety cannot make her forget who she left behind. When Hailey secretly talks to her boyfriend, Kaz, she inadvertently alerts the enemy to her location and ruins all illusions of safety. After Prairie and Chub go missing, Hailey and Kaz must find and rescue them from the men who will stop at nothing in their quest to build a zombie army. In this sequel, Hailey is still figuring out her powers but is more confident, aggressive, and willing to risk everything to save those she loves. While at times the inclusion of backstory seems to overwhelm the current narrative, it is helpful for remembering elements that could easily be forgotten. Littlefield wraps things up a little too neatly, but readers will still experience nail-biting moments of zombie attacks and heart-fluttering moments of romance that will keep them reading to the very end.—Elizabeth C. Johnson, Fort Vancouver Regional Library, WA
Children's Literature - Lisette Baez
Hailey Tarbell possesses the gift of healing people, but this extraordinary trait has a catch. If she doesn't heal the person in time, he or she becomes a zombie. Hailey is a descendent of the Banished, who came to America from Ireland. It is the powers of the Banished that are so coveted by many and Hailey seems to continually find herself in the middle of some disaster. As the story begins the reader sees a different side of Hailey. She finally gets a sneak peek into a normal teenage girl's life. She has found true friends, has trendy clothes and lives with a family that loves her. Aunt Prairie, her brother Chub and Hailey have settled into a small suburb of Milwaukee where life is so called normal. That is until Hailey innocently attempts to contact Kaz, her secret boyfriend. This one fated decision quickly destroys her new life and now Hailey and Kaz must risk their own lives again to save Aunt Prairie, Chub and the powers of the Banished. Reviewer: Lisette Baez
VOYA - Jamie Hansen
At the conclusion of Banished (Delacorte 2010/VOYA December 2010), spellbound readers were left craving more gripping adventures with Hailey Tarbell, her little brother, Chub, and her enigmatic Aunt Prairie. Author Sophie Littlefield has unquestionably delivered a superlative sequel. A descendant of the empowered Banished, refugees from Ireland, Hailey can heal the sick and wounded, but with an appalling cost. If she heals someone already dead, she creates a zombie. These incompatible abilities have attracted sinister villains who would use her gifts for results too terrible to contemplate. Fleeing a new enemy, as well a threat from her past (the callous Rattler), Hailey and her family have settled comfortably in a Milwaukee suburb. Even an agreeable life with ordinary friendships, however, cannot prevent Hailey from missing her secret boyfriend, Kaz. A furtive call to Kaz alerts her enemies and abruptly, her cozy existence is ripped apart as Chub and Prairie are kidnapped, and she is once more on the run, helped by Kaz. Their quest leads them back to Hailey's old home town and a nightmarish research facility where zombies are being programmed as pitiless fighters and suicide bombers. Mesmerized readers will be unable to turn the pages of this thrilling tale fast enough. Dazzlingly blending a high-speed narrative, believable and perceptively drawn characters, and enough plot twists for any five novels, Littlefield has produced another sure-fire winner for readers thirteen and older and a required purchase for all libraries serving teens. Reviewer: Jamie Hansen
Billed as a "companion," this is not so much a sequel to Banished (2010) as it is a retread.
Hailey and her little family—Aunt Prairie and adopted brother Chub—are hardly settled into their new lives in Milwaukee before they are discovered and set upon by forces wishing to use their supernatural gifts, as descendants of the Banished, for evil purposes. As the villain from the previous book, mad-scientist Bryce Safian, was left out of commission, this time the role is played by his former employer, a man with vague military connections and an identical plan to create an undead army for sale on the global market. When Hailey slips up in contacting her boyfriend, the seer Kaz, the General captures both Prairie and preschooler Chub, whose seeing gifts are beginning to manifest and hold potential for military operations. While Hailey flees with Kaz, the only real romance in the book is one-sided: Villainous Rattler Sikes's obsession with Prairie is still going strong. He wants to start breeding pure Banished with her, as part of his bid to restore their people's heritage, which puts him at odds with the protagonists as well as their other enemies. The lab that must be sabotaged this time around is superficially more impressive, yet no more than a paper tiger in practice, and the zombies are criminally underused.
An unnecessary sequel that adds little. (Paranormal suspense. 12-18)
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