Banished (Hailey Tarbell Series #1)

Banished (Hailey Tarbell Series #1)

by Sophie Littlefield

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Overview

There isn't much worth living for in Gypsum, Missouri, or "Trashtown," as the rich kids call the run down neighborhood where sixteen-year-old Hailey Tarbell lives. As far as Hailey knows, she's never going to belong. Not with the kids at school or with her cruel, sickly grandmother, who keeps their household afloat by dealing drugs out of the basement.
But Hailey can't help the feeling that she has some kind of gift, or curse, that makes the other kids shy away from her. Hailey is drawn to those in pain, those who need to be healed. And when her dog Rascal is hit by a car, Hailey's gift is revealed. Not only can she heal, she can bring the suffering back to life. And Hailey will soon find out, this power to heal is just the beginning . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385738538
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 09/13/2011
Series: Hailey Tarbell Series , #1
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

SOPHIE LITTLEFIELD is the author of several thrillers for adults, including A Bad Day for Sorry.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Now

When I was eight, the social workers finally made Gram send me to school. Until then, she told the authorities she was homeschooling me, but after years of her never turning in her paperwork or showing up for the mandatory meetings, they finally got fed up and told her I had to go to regular school. Gram gave in; she knew when she was beat.

The first thing I noticed about the other kids was that they all looked like they could be on TV. I called them Cleans. Their clothes were new and ironed smooth. Their hair was shiny and combed. Their nails were trimmed and free of the black grime that I’d had under mine as long as I could remember. No one had to tell me that, compared with these other kids, I was dirty.

That didn’t stop the kids on the bus from reminding me. By the end of my first humiliating ride to school, I’d been called a bunch of names and accused of having cooties and lice and a witch for a grandmother. It was the same thing on the ride home, even though Mr. Francheski pulled the bus over, stood up and hollered, “Was all you kids raised in barns? Where’s your manners? Be nice to this new girl.”

When I got home that first day I was crying. This was long before Chub came to live with us, and even though I knew better than to hope for anything from Gram, I dropped my book bag on the floor and ran to her favorite chair, in front of the television, where she was smoking and watching Montel. I blubbered out what had happened, how the kids had said I was dirty and called me trash. Gram barely shrugged, craning her neck to see over me to the television.

“I guess you know where the soap is at,” she snapped. “And you can drag a brush through that hair, you want. Now git.”

Now, eight years later, I had washed my hair the night before and blown it out with a hair dryer I’d saved up for. I was wearing mascara and lip gloss that I’d bought with the money I’d made working for Gram.

But everything else I had was secondhand, a fact I was always conscious of as I walked the halls at Gypsum High. My clothes were never right. My backpack was never right. My shoes, my notebooks, my haircut, wrong, wrong, wrong—and everyone knew it. Gypsum might be a two-stoplight town in the middle of nowhere, Missouri, but there was a structure like anywhere else: popular kids and in-between kids and losers. And people like me, so far down there wasn’t any point in bothering to classify us.

I had gym second period. My locker was next to Claire Hewitt’s. Claire always smelled faintly of baby powder and motor oil, and her hair frizzed in a cloud around her shoulders. But as I spun my lock, even she flinched away from me.

When you’re near the bottom of the school social ladder, like Claire, the only thing that can really hurt you is to be associated with someone even lower. And there was no one lower than me. Not Claire. Not Emily Engstrom, with her limp and her lazy eye. Not even the Morries. No one at all.

I started changing into my gym clothes, not bothering to say anything to her. What would be the point?

“Hey, Hailey,” Shawna Rosen said, appearing at my side without warning. “Are those nurses’ shoes you’re wearing?”

The girls trailing her pressed in closer to me and stared down at my feet as Claire slammed her locker door shut and slipped hastily away. I could practically feel their excitement. They were never happier than when they could remind some poor girl of the enormous distance between her pathetic existence and life at the top of the heap.

Sometimes, when Shawna and her crew came after me, I stood my ground. I stared into their overly made-up eyes and telegraphed disdain. But this wasn’t one of those days. I shuffled backward, away from Shawna and into the wide aisle between locker rows, bumping into someone behind me, tripping and nearly falling. My hand shot out to steady myself against the wall of lockers, and I was dismayed to see I’d run into a group of Morries.

“Sorry,” I mumbled, but they were gone before I finished speaking, melting down another aisle without a word.

You almost never saw one of the Morries alone. They stuck together at the edge of the halls and the back of the classrooms and the cafeteria tables farthest from the food line in silent clumps of three or four. Like me, they didn’t participate in any sports or clubs or extracurricular activities. The girls wore their hair long, hanging in their faces. The boys were so skinny their dirty, frayed jeans hung off their hips.

They never volunteered in class. If they were called on, the girls would mumble so quietly that teachers soon gave up on them. The boys were bolder, surly and argumentative and sullen. They didn’t care at all about their grades.

They were called Morries after Morrin Street, the main road that ran through Trashtown, which is what everyone called the run-down neighborhood outside of Gypsum half a mile past our house. I don’t know who started calling them that, but if there had ever been a time when the Trashtown kids mixed with the Cleans at school, that time was long gone.

Shawna and her friends got bored with me and wandered off, but I still had to hustle to finish getting dressed, and I was late to gym class. Ms. Turnbull and Mr. Coughlin didn’t notice, since they were busy dragging the vaulting horses and balance beam and parallel bars out of the closet. We counted off and lined up behind the equipment. No one looked very happy about it, but my reasons were probably different from everyone else’s. It wasn’t that I was bad at this stuff. The problem was that I was good—too good.

I used to wonder if God had compensated for making me such a freak, for my lack of friends and horrible home life, with natural athletic ability. If so, I’d love to give it back. I was fast and I was strong, I could balance and throw and catch with amazing accuracy, but instead of helping me fit in with the other kids, it brought me—what else?—more trouble.

In sixth grade my PE teacher noticed I had the third-highest mile time in the school. He had me run sprints and then another mile, eight times around the track, clocking me with his stopwatch. Each time I passed him I could see his expression growing tighter and more excited. When I finished he jogged over to where I was stretching out—they were constantly harping on us about stretching after exercise—and told me he wanted me to start training with the middle-school track team.

I was so surprised I couldn’t come up with a response quick enough. It had never occurred to me that anyone would ask me to join a club or a sport. But of course I couldn’t do it. Gram would never have allowed it. She didn’t even want me attending school. If the social workers hadn’t forced her to send me, she never would have let me out of the house except to do errands.

Once, in grade school, I received an invitation to a birthday party. I ran home, my heart pounding with excitement. I knew that the girl didn’t really want me there, that her mother had made her invite every girl in the class, but I didn’t care. I had never been to a birthday party—Gram didn’t believe in celebrating birthdays, so mine passed every year with no cake, no presents, no singing—and I desperately wanted to go.

Gram read the invitation, her cracked lips moving as she sounded out the words, and then she frowned and tore it into pieces. “No need for you to mix with them kids,” she said.

Years later, when my gym teacher insisted on sending home a permission slip for track, Gram wrote in big block letters across the section of the form where she was supposed to fill in my medical information: HAILEY DOES NOT HAVE MY PERMISHION TO DO ANY SPORT.

Ever since then I’d been careful not to let anyone see me excel at anything.

But today would be tough. I was in the vault line. I stared at the old leather-covered thing, wondering how I could feign clumsiness. It would be hard; if I just hit it head-on, it would hurt plenty. But I wasn’t sure I could stop myself from hurtling over it neatly. How was it possible to act clumsy when you were sailing through the air, your instincts taking over?

I managed, but it took all my concentration. I also forced myself to stumble off the balance beam and pretended to be too weak to support myself on the parallel bars. When Mr. C. glared at me and shook his head with disgust, I felt a flash of pride.

If he only knew.

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Banished 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
tbatchelor More than 1 year ago
Actually I had purchased the book for my daughter and read it for myself. I could not put the book down. It is packed with suspense, supernatural, family issues and lots of secrets! Great book and can't wait to read the next book that follows!
Unwasted_Words More than 1 year ago
Amongst the slums of Gypsum, Missouri, sixteen-year-old Hailey Tarbell is counting the days to her 18th birthday. Hailey's life is hard. Between her abusive drug dealing guardian grandmother, and her complete loser status her only light is her foster bother Chub. Oddly even in her tight knit Trashtown community she's considered an outcast by the the outcasts, the absolute lowest rank of her small town cast system. Hailey has always been freakishly super healthy and athletic and works extra hard to hide it. But something else is happening to Hailey. She can heal others. The storyline starts to develop when Hailey has an overwhelming compulsion to heal a fellow classmate, plus the ability to accomplish it. The strangest thing is everyone else seems to know whats going on but her, and no ones sharing. Things starts to pick up when Hailey's long lost aunt Prairie comes to the rescue. As Hailey digs deeper into her families' past to understand what's happening to her she starts to unravel secrets and lies that will lead to danger and death. Banished is a unique twist of folklore and fairytale. Unfortunately I found the story a bit slow in the beginning and the love interest entering too late within this installment causing the building tension of a budding relationship to fall short This book was really all about the setup and backstory. It's a good start. I am however looking forward to a sequel that will spend more time exploring the Hailey's hinted love affair to be.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It was easy to ready & couldn't put it down. I just wish there were more than 2.
Cathy Galloway More than 1 year ago
This book is an exciting page turner full of mystery and suspense. It is a book to be enjoyed by any mystery lover regardless of age. I hope there are more like this in the future. Sophie Littlefield is an excellent author.
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
What can I say about this book other than I love it. The plot was very intriguing and held me from page to page. Hailey is not your average kid. She is always being picked on and teased by the other kids. She has been told lies about her past and know nothing. One day after saying a student from death does she start to question things. She begins to get closer to the answer when her long lost aunt comes looking for her. There are other people, dangerous people looking for her too. Let me tell you that this is one unique book. The plot and paranormal parts is great. It is nothing that I have seen before. What I like the most about it was how Ms. Littlefield wrote the book with her characters coming to life literally from the page. You can feel the emotions just dripping off the page. I felt for Hailey and loved her strong, endless devotion to her brother. Even with everything that she has been through, she stays strong and overcomes. Her family is mess up. They talked down to her and don't let her know anything. Her aunt is just a crazy old mean bat who is bitter and she deserve what she got. (Sorry, had to say it) Hailey's fought for what she believed in and let no one stand in her way. I love this girl! The paranormal part is good. I am intrigued by the Banished and I am hoping to learn more about them in the second book.
dgoo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A girl discovers she has mystical powers to heal, along with an aunt and dead mother, in a long line of female relatives who hail from an Irish village a few centuries past. They are part of the Banished, which also consists of men who can see glimpses of the future to varying degrees, and their families. I think a lot could have done with this material, but for me it was more of a chased by one dimensional bad guys tale. The protagonist could have been more fleshed out too. Bad guys, as stated, were pretty flat.
BookAddictDiary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
Bookswithbite on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What can I say about this book other than I love it. The plot was very intriguing and held me from page to page. Hailey is not your average kid. She is always being picked on and teased by the other kids. She has been told lies about her past and know nothing. One day after saying a student from death does she start to question things. She begins to get closer to the answer when her long lost aunt comes looking for her. There are other people, dangerous people looking for her too.Let me tell you that this is one unique book. The plot and paranormal parts is great. It is nothing that I have seen before. What I like the most about it was how Ms. Littlefield wrote the book with her characters coming to life literally from the page. You can feel the emotions just dripping off the page. I felt for Hailey and loved her strong, endless devotion to her brother. Even with everything that she has been through, she stays strong and overcomes.Her family is mess up. They talked down to her and don't let her know anything. Her aunt is just a crazy old mean bat who is bitter and she deserve what she got. (Sorry, had to say it) Hailey's fought for what she believed in and let no one stand in her way. I love this girl! The paranormal part is good. I am intrigued by the Banished and I am hoping to learn more about them in the second book.
resugo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hailey lives with her mean and ill grandmother and 4-year-old foster brother (uncle?) in a part of Gypsum, Missouri affectionately (just kidding) called Trashtown. Except she doesn't really belong there. Trashtown kids like her about as much as Gypsum kids do--which is not at all. But then one day at school she is inexplicably compelled to help a Trashtown girl and ends up healing her. Then an aunt she never knew she had shows up on her doorstep. And that's just the beginning of the exciting adventure as Hailey finds out who she is and the power that she has inside of her. I enjoyed the book a lot. I enjoyed the supernatural elements Ms. Littlefield created into this world of contemporary Missouri. As well as the history of Hailey's family, harking back to Ireland. I liked Hailey as a character. Her life sucks, but she doesn't let that turn her bitter or angry. She just makes plans for a better future and when those plans have to change, she changes with them. My favorite was the ending. I was surprised at the twisted tastiness of it all. Ooooh...I will not say more because it was such a cool surprise that I don't want to ruin it for you. This is definitely the first in a series, setting up the later books. I mean, she doesn't even meet a romantic lead till practically the end of the book...just a hint of what is to come later on in the series.I did wonder at Chub (the foster brother (uncle?)). He didn't add much to the story and I'm thinking that in later books his real purpose will be shown. But in this first installment, all he did was sleep. Seriously, he should be checked out at the hospital because I'm thinking he suffers from narcolepsy. Every once in a while, after sleeping for 20 hours, he would say a few words. Which was a little something, but not much to add to his existence in the novel.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With a unique storyline (at leat unique to me) Banished put a twist in the average folklore/modern day/decended family line story and had just the right taste of adventure and small town.
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