By: Sophie Littlefield
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 2011
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: October 2011
When readers first met up with Hailey Tarbell, they fell across a young teenage girl who possessed a gift that’d been handed down from generation to generation - the gift of ‘healing.’ Hailey has the ability, when someone is dying, to be able to bring them back before they pass on to another world. There is, however, a difficulty that comes with having this gift - it is almost impossible for a Healer not to cure; it is a battle for them not to reach out and save someone in need. BUT, when you save someone too late, they become - for lack of a better phrase - the living dead.
In Banished, Hailey went up against some serious bad guys, but it the end she, her Aunt Prairie, and Chub (the little boy who looks at Hailey as his sister) were able to escape Gypsum, Missouri to start a brand new life in Milwaukee.
The one thing Hailey can’t forget is the boy she loves. Kaz has her heart, and even though she is supposed to break all ties with the past so that the bad guys chasing her and her new family don’t find out or track where they’ve gone…she can’t.
Her life is now filled with two friends who are more than a bit hoity-toity and not Hailey’s ‘kind of people’ at all. And, in her very near future, Hailey is beginning her first school year at Grosbeck Academy - a private school that supposedly will introduce her to a better class of people, and give her the ability to hide in even deeper cover. Aunt Prairie is desperate for Hailey to be able to have a good life from here on out, and not ever be found by the evil that she knows is lurking out there, trying desperately to capture and cage them all once again.
On the evil end of the spectrum lies Rattler Sikes - a full-blooded member of the Banished clan who is completely sick and tired of having half-breeds made and the bloodline thinned out by Banished ones marrying people outside of their ‘order.’ He is Hailey’s father, and he now wants to find Prairie and begin a little clan of even more purebred Banished ones. But he’s not the only monster who wants these Healers found.
One day, as Hailey sneaks another phone call to her beloved Kaz, the ‘code words’ are spoken and Hailey doesn’t hang up quickly enough. Terror is once again upon the Tarbell family. Chub and Aunt Prairie are captured by the “General” who needs Prairie’s services to help him build a truly unbeatable army that he wishes to sell to the highest bidder. Hailey escapes with Kaz, as they try to find a way to stop the zombies from rising, while at the same time saving Prairie and Chub from a fate worse than death.
Unforsaken offers a great deal more action than its predecessor, and the storyline moves along extremely quickly, offering more than a few surprises along the way (especially at the end) that will have readers very thankful that a second book was written.
Quill Says: Although the whole ‘creatures that go bump in the night’ premise has been a little overdone, this is still a fun read for the YA crowd.