Banished and Unforsaken, by Sophie Littlefield

I'm sure most bookstores have filed Sophie Littlefield's novels Banished and Unforsaken with the teen paranormal romances, but that's far from accurate. These books are about a girl who discovers that she has magical healing powers, and is immediately targeted by a series of evil scientists, murderous rednecks, and zombies. She does eventually acquire a boyfriend, but their relationship is never more than a minor plot thread—the poor girl has bigger things to worry about.

Banished is set in a miserable little town in Missouri, where sixteen-year-old Hailey Tarbell lives with her bitter, sickly, drug-dealing grandmother and developmentally delayed foster brother, Chub. Apart from her affection for Chub, Hailey figures her life couldn't get much worse—until one of her classmates is injured, and Hailey discovers she has the inexplicable ability to heal with a touch. Her “gift” seems to inspire even more hatred from her grandmother, and it promptly attracts the notice of some extremely dangerous people....

By the beginning of Unforsaken, Hailey's fortunes have improved. She and Chub have moved in with her newly-discovered Aunt Prairie, they're finally out of Missouri, and she even has a boyfriend. Unfortunately, the evil scientists who discovered her healing ability in the first book haven't given up: they have a plan to transform dying soldiers into mindless, fearless zombies (which they will then sell to the highest bidder), but they need Hailey's healing magic for it to work.

Frankly, these books are ridiculous. (There are plot holes big enough to drive a bus through, and did I mention the rent-by-the-hour zombies?) But it's a fun type of ridiculousness, charging along at a hell-for-leather pace and blessed with a smart, appealing heroine. If you're looking for a thoughtful (or even remotely plausible) story with at least a nodding acquaintance with cause and effect, these aren't the books for you. But if you're looking for an entertaining, action-packed, zombie-heavy gore-fest to while away a few hours of your Spring Break, look no further.

Reviews based on publisher-provided copies.
Posted by: Julianka


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